Shocked businessman reading a documentI saw a disturbing headline when Googling “job seeker” recently. The story, courtesy of The Huffington Post, was called, “Job Seeker Sends Out Resume, Attaches Photo Of P-nis.”

Yeah, I too was pretty shocked when I first saw the headline.

The story goes:

Texas Workforce Solutions in Dallas received a job application by email Friday morning from a man who also attached a picture of a penis, Dallas Police spokeswoman Demarquis Black told the Dallas Observer.

The agency purportedly offers “resources, tips and tools to build a stronger Texas workforce,” and connects job seekers with potential employers. In this case though, the 25-year-old employee who received the phallic photo just connected the applicant with the police.

According to the story, the sender was charged with a misdemeanor for obscene display or distribution.

With it being 2014, you’d think we’d be past the basic do’s and don’ts of the job search, especially when it comes to contacting hiring managers and/or HR personnel….but maybe not.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this job seeker made an “honest mistake,” because I can’t imagine any sane person would think it beneficial to leave the person who holds the power of giving you an interview (or not) with this type of “first impression.”

But just in case this (and other outrageous job seeker tactics) was an intentional act to help this man stand out from the crowd, below are a few do’s and don’ts for the job search:

Do…always check (and re-check) your email’s recipient BEFORE sending. I can’t tell you how important this is. Like the story above, you don’t want a personal email going to a professional contact, which could drastically hinder (or end) your job seeking efforts. Be sure to always check who you’re sending the email to, and don’t forget to look at the CC and BCC fields.

An easy way to avoid email slip ups is by skipping the “reply” button. When emailing a professional contact, especially for a job or when sending a resume, create a new email. Better safe than sorry after hitting reply or reply all and your email falling into the wrong inbox.

Don’t…attach photos with your resume. Unless a company specifically asks for a photo, just don’t do it; this doesn’t give you the upper hand, but worse, can make you look incapable of following directions. Hiring managers know how to use LinkedIn and Facebook. I assure you, if they’re interested and want to see what you look like, they’ll find you.

Do…create an email account specifically for the job hunt. This was a piece of advice a mentor gave to me. Not only does it help you keep all of your job search related emails in one place, having an email account solely for the job hunt can help avoid any embarrassing mistakes. This account won’t have personal contacts or past emails with personal messages or attachments that can accidentally be forwarded to the wrong person.

Don’t…send an email without checking the attachments. Not only do you not want to send anything inappropriate that could negatively affect your job search, you also don’t want to leave out any requested materials. Applying for a job takes time, especially when you take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter for each new position. A resume is usually a given, but what if the job ad asks for writing samples, references or a portfolio? Double check your email attachments before sending to ensure you’re sending a complete job application. And this doesn’t mean simply looking at the names of the attachments; physically open each one to be certain.

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