It's embarrassing to be writing this, given we hire at senior level within the HR profession. Executives who more than in any other profession, should know these basics when job searching. But right around the world, we have HR professionals who are making us sigh about they way they're presenting themselves, even before we've had the chance to meet and/or chat.
I feel like a broken record, in stating once again that your email address must be appropriate. Even for HR execs, and even in this day and age, we're still getting applications from "foxylady@" and "motorhead@" and "happysmithfamily@" and "iliveforholidays@" In case children ever read this, I won't include any of the racier email tags. It doesn't impress us. It is unlikely to impress a prospective employer.
Make sure your Linkedin profile features a professional photo. Frolicking on a beach holiday, glamour shots fit only for your boy/girl friend, receiving (what appears to be) a lap dance in the company of your mates, or getting sozzled at a wedding might all make for fun pics, but not for your professional profile and especially not whilst you're hunting for work.
Protect your social media sites from prying eyes - agencies and employers are checking online profiles as part of the hiring process, and you will never know that it was really your leather party exploits or ranting about the in-laws that prevented any chance of a hiring discussion.
Overhaul your appearance. Your comb-over or punk pink hair or mini skirt & plunging neckline or nicotine stained teeth might have been an non issue in your last job where you were very successful, and had a well established reputation. But you’re starting afresh when you change employers. I'm not urging everyone to become boring city slick droids. Whether you like it or not, your looks count towards the result of any interview.
Check the currency of your Résumé -the terminology and format and length has likely changed from when you were last in the market. Anyone who claims that all employers like only 2 page bullet point CV’s is a muppet. Some employers actually like long and detailed CV’s. Some don’t. Get advice on a case by case basis and use your common sense to make sure your Résumé/CV really contains all the essential and useful information that will spark enough interest and make an interviewer hopeful to meet you.
If you're going to have a personal statement on your CV, make sure its generic, or tailored to the role you're actually applying for. We just groan each time we see the claim of someone wanting extensive international work experience, only to find that they won't relocate or travel for work.
Review your interests if you've chosen to include these on your Résumé. Reading books is boring. Competing for the best marrow grower prize whilst excelling at macramé is puzzling. Being a hostess at lingerie parties is too much information. Seriously HR Director - you put this on your CV???!!!
Lose the jargon and abbreviations. References to the O.B.1. or the Ackybyte or the Trocky may have been standard in your last employer. Get them out of your Résumé and out of your everyday language to avoid confusing prospective employers.
There is so much more to ensure your success when wanting to change roles, but without getting these basics right, you'll be slashing your options. Take a long hard critical look at the way others would perceive you, even before they've met you, and use your skills and expertise to make a WOW impact right from the start. The kind of WOW that makes people want to meet and interview you rather than just be laughing about you.