Job Hunting Etiquette: Do's and Don’ts

Job Hunting EtiquetteEtiquette is necessary for all occasions. It provides a code of conduct that delimits the social behavior of the individual in accordance with the conventional norms within a society, a group, or a social class. It is a prescribed and accepted code used in matters of professional practice.


In the workplace, job etiquette is necessary in order to last in the job. Moreover, job etiquette is also required when you’re still looking for a job. As you search for job opportunities, submit resumes, carry on with interviews, and talk to potential employers, you should be aware of job hunting etiquette. If you don’t, you might not even get a phone call or your resume might just become one of the company’s scratch papers.

Now, how do you act properly when hunting for a job? Here are some tips that can help you with that:

1. Clean and unclutter your accounts.

There are times when an applicant might be the perfect fit for the job but he or she still can’t get an offer. He did everything right, from writing the perfect cover lever to acing an interview, but still didn’t get the job. Why? The reason could be what his or her account reveals about him or her.

One important thing you need to remember is to clean up your profile accounts and Internet appearance. Delete photos or wall posts that are inappropriate; get rid of conversations that might show your other side as a person; and remove unnecessary information. Keep a clean profile to increase the possibility of getting a job.

2. Build your network properly.

When you start building networks through the Internet, the best way to connect is to search for people who are related to your field of interest. Be transparent when talking to them and mention something you both have in common (e.g., a mutual friend, school, or geographical location).

On the other hand, when you’re networking at a convention or other public place, there is also job etiquette that you should follow. When you talk to people, smile and make eye contact. Do not be dominating. Instead, make sure that you’re asking the right questions and are engaged in the conversation. Remember the names of people you meet, and use their names when you talk to them.

Making a connection requires a follow-up message that begins and ends with “Thank you” and asking for suggestions that could help you in searching for a job and making additional contacts. Building social media relationships and connections through conventions are positive ways to find someone who works for a potential employer, so learn to engage and interact. However, the relationship should be beneficial for both of you.

3. Be polite in sending initial inquiries.

If your means of communication with the manager and/or the company is through e-mail, here are some dos and don’ts and things you need to remember: 

  • Use a professional e-mail address or create a separate one for the purpose of job seeking.
  • Regular and easy-to-read fonts are preferred (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri).
  • Proofread or ask someone to review your message to check for any misspelled word, grammatically incorrect sentence, or bad formatting.
  • Use positive and promotional words such as “promising,” “growing,” “developing,” “creative,” and “experienced” when describing yourself and/or the company.
  • Use the hiring manager’s name in the opening e-mail. Include a polite greeting.
  • Keep your letter short yet meaningful.
  • Indicate how you know their company (mention who referred you to the position).
  • Don’t forget to write important information, especially your phone number, e-mail address, or website and social media profiles.
  • Immediately respond to any message that is from the recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer.
  • Don’t use abbreviations or emoticons.
  • Don’t use capital letters or boldface texts to show how excited you are.
  • Don’t include attachments unless instructed to do so.
  • Don’t expect an instant reply from the employer.

4. Apply with full respect.

Address your cover letter directly to the recruiter or hiring manager. Do not use generic names such as “Sir or Madam.” If you do not know the name of the recruiter and you can’t find it on Google, address the letter to the job itself.

If you are going to provide references, call the person you want to include on your resume and ask him or her if he or she is willing to speak with the potential employer. Plus, if you wrote a cell phone number, answer it professionally at all times.

5. Be gracious when following up on an application.

There’s a big difference between being persistent and being annoying. Follow up on your job application once a week for up to three weeks if you want to show how persistent you are. Calling more often than normal and sending them frequent messages will annoy the hiring manager.

6. Be respectful during phone interviews.

One important thing to remember during phone interviews is to be confident. Take the chance of initially discussing your skills and background as they talk about their opening. They want to hear if you can speak with confidence. Don’t use brief answers, because that won’t impress them. Explain well and avoid filler words such as “um” or “ah.”

7. Be mindful of your image and gestures during in-person interviews.

Practice your handshake, for it is a sign that you are confident in what you are doing. You should also look professional, so dress appropriately. Don’t put on too much perfume; wear clean and pressed clothes and polished shoes. Plus, don’t use too many accessories as it might distract your interviewer.

8. Show your gratitude after the interview.

After the interview, write a thank-you note and e-mail it to the company. Express your deepest gratitude for the interviewer’s time.

The idea is to maintain professionalism and respect; be mindful of every detail throughout the process. Remember these principles of etiquette whenever you’re searching for a job and you’ll surely be able to find one.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.