You have a missed call, and it wasn’t your mother

Your mom called. How do you know?  You see the missed call on your cell phone, so youmom missed call call her back. You know it’s her, so you don’t have to bother listening to the message, if she even bothered to leave one.

Now, imagine that a number you can’t identify called and left you a voicemail message.  You skip the voice mail and call back, explaining that someone from that number called you.  Turns out that it’s a company where you applied for an internship, co-op or full-time job.  Great!

Only, there’s a problem. Turns out all the company numbers go through a main switchboard, and you’ve just called the receptionist. He or she has no idea who called you, or any reasonable way to find out because so many different people work there.

Now what?

I hope you saved that voice mail message.

Calling back friends and family without listening to their messages is common, and for many people, the norm (though personally, if you don’t leave me a voice mail, then it can’t be that important and I’ll call you back at my leisure).  Doing so with a potential employer, however, can backfire. Here’s what employers may think (assuming you ever make it to the correct person):

  • You’re lazy. I left you a message and you couldn’t be bothered to listen to it.
  • You don’t follow instructions. I told you what to do in the message.
  • You expect other people to do your work for you. You had the info at your fingertips but you asked somebody else to go find it for you.
  • All of the above.
picture source: Lifehacker.com

picture source: Lifehacker.com

Do any of those qualities sound like what an employer wants in a potential employee? (If you said yes, I’m going to be the one calling your mother.)

Listen to the message. Follow the instructions. Make the best possible impression you can.

Tina Mello is Associate Director of NU Career Development, and has worked at Northeastern for over 10 years. Nicknamed the “information guru” by other members of the staff, she loves to research and read about various job/career/education topics. For more career advice, follow her on twitter @CareerCoachTina.

 

On quitting.

Emily Brown is a Career Services intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm.  Contact her at e.brown@neu.edu.

Quitting. We’ve all done it. Whether it was that youth soccer team or student government, we’ve all made that decision not to continue with a certain activity or group. It was easy enough right? Just don’t sign up the next go around. But what about quitting your first job? You can’t just opt out on January first. Thanks, but no thanks, I won’t be returning this year. There has to be careful planning – where will I work instead? Can I schedule interviews during my lunch break? When do I tell my boss? HOW do I tell my boss? What do I do and say on my last day? Just like the first day on a new job, leaving a job can be anxiety-ridden. If an interview is like a first date, leaving a job is the break-up – “it’s not you, it’s me… we just want different things… it’s a great place to work, just not great for me anymore.” Like break-ups in one’s personal life, quitting a job is unavoidable in one’s professional life. So how do you ensure that you keep it professional and “stay friends” (aka leave on good terms)?

image from scottmccown.files.wordpress.com

  1. Timing – Two weeks’ notice. It’s the right thing to do. If the company policy requests more than two weeks notice, then adhere to that.
  2. Transition – Someone else is going to have to do your job when you’re gone right? Whether it’s a new employee or a coworker, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take on your tasks. This might mean training the new employee, scheduling meetings to discuss projects with coworkers, making LISTS. Everyone loves a list.
  3. Last day – Don’t just beeline out the door at 5:00. Say goodbye to your boss and coworkers and thank them for the experience. You could send a group email to coworkers with your personal contact information if you want to stay in touch.
  4. Trash talk – Just don’t do it. The world is small and negative comments could easily get back to former boss or coworkers. If your new employer hears your negativity, he or she might think you’re immature or ungrateful.

So, no, quitting a job is not as simple as quitting girl scouts, but if done in a professional manner, it is not a negative experience. Keep in mind that everyone likely has to do it at some point in their career, so your boss will understand what you are experiencing and hopefully be supportive of your decision.

Emily Brown is a Career Services intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm.  Contact her at e.brown@neu.edu.