Dear Abby: I am a small-business owner who does the hiring for my company. I hope you will share some suggestions for young people who are now applying for postgraduate jobs.
1. Every contact with a prospective employer is a mini-interview. Present yourself appropriately. I have received many inappropriate e-mails. Example: "Hey, when would this gig start?" Please remember to use a salutation and communicate politely and clearly.
2. Many companies post a great deal of information about job openings on their Web sites. Read the site carefully before calling so I won't waste time answering questions you could have answered on your own.
3. Shortcuts may be cute when text-messaging your friends, but in business they are annoying and unprofessional. Avoid messages such as "Thnx 4 ur help. Talk 2 u later!"
4. Because I must read your resume and application, please proofread it for spelling, grammar and typos.
5. Many Internet sites now offer free e-mail. Set up an account using your name or initial so I don't have to e-mail "hotchick99" with an offer to teach young children.
6. If you have a phone interview, please find a quiet place from which to place the call. It is difficult to understand you above your roommate who is cursing over a video game.
7. Never, ever tell a prospective employer you are waiting to hear about a job you want more, that pays more or gives you more "fun" time. Simply say you are "exploring all your options," and I will understand.
By the way, Abby, I am not an old fuddy-duddy. I am a 26-year-old professional who expects more from my peers than I have seen. Exasperated Recruiter in New Jersey
Dear Exasperated Recruiter: Your suggestions are excellent. I am sure they will be appreciated not only by first-time job applicants, but also their prospective employers.
Dear Abby: I am a 14-year-old girl. I don't get angry often, but when I do my parents disregard it by calling me a "hormonal teenager." They say things like, "She's such a charming 14-year-old" and "There are hormones raging." I find their comments hurtful and degrading.
Please don't misunderstand. My parents are usually nice, but when something bothers me they automatically resort to the above comments. I personally believe I am pretty good at handling and expressing my emotions calmly. It just seems that my parents don't consider the credibility of my emotions and blame them on my being a teen. Is it wrong for them to say these things? What should I do when they say them? Disregarded in OregonDear Disregarded: No one of any age wants to feel patronized, and that goes for people from 13 to 93. (And, interestingly, it happens to people from both ends of the spectrum.) If your parents want to exchange comments like the ones you mentioned, it would be better if they did so in private. However, if they are saying things like, "She's such a charming 14-year-old," it may be a clue to the fact that you're acting like anything BUT and perhaps you should find a more mature and controlled way of expressing your emotions.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate