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August 7, 2009
Thx 4 UR Email

The decision to take a job is, I’d say, second only in importance to that of choosing a spouse. If you don’t take this seriously enough to avoid overly casual text and typos in your correspondence, we’ll assume you aren’t as interested in the role as the candidate we’re interviewing tomorrow.

Our mobile society has allowed us to become somewhat informal in our communication, but it doesn’t permit us to be careless. There are many risks in replying to a message from a handheld device—mainly typos, the habit of being overly casual, and seeming blasé.

If you can resist the urge to correspond with recruiters and hiring managers with potentially clumsy thumbs for as long as it takes until you are back in front of a computer, you’ll be better off. You can use a few more words to convey your sincere interest and appreciation and check thoroughly for mistakes. You will also be able to scroll through their message making sure to address all points in your reply. (It pains us recruiters to have asked three questions and get a response to only one, and we question attention to detail as a result.)

Even if you don’t resort to, “c u tmrw @ 12” remember that a one-handed, quick-draw gunslinger text reply of, “Sure. That works.” is really not much better. Unless you’re bringing brownies, your arrival at our office won’t make our day or leave the place smelling wonderful, so be careful not to come off sounding like you’re doing us a favor by being so offhand. Either sit down somewhere quiet with your handheld to use two hands and more words (“Wednesday at noon is perfect. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.”) or wait the 20 or even 120 minutes until you are in front of a full-size keyboard.

No recruiter is going to judge your interest in a job by the number of hours it takes you to reply to a message, much less minutes. (Days, yes, but not minutes.) If you are outside getting a cup of afternoon coffee with a few work buddies and your iPhone beeps with a new message about a job, now is not the time to reply. Wait until you are back at your desk. You can re-read the message, respond at greater length, and be more thoughtful in your reply.

Remember, earnestness goes a long way and can earn you extra points. If you are forced to reply by way of a handheld device or won’t have privacy from your office computer, then your message should mention that. So, it could be a fast and simple email reply of, “I’m very interested, but I’m not in a private location. If you don’t mind, I’ll reply in more detail this evening when I’m at home.” Or it could be a handheld device text message that uses proper grammar and asks for forgiveness up front. “Apologies for any typos, but I’m traveling and for the next 48 hours, this is the only access I’ll have to email.”

Just take a deep breath, don’t multi-task while job-hunting, and be thorough. We aren’t counting the minutes until you reply. Following these rules of blackberry thumbs will only work to your advantage!

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Joselle Spinoza is both a contract sourcer and a contingency recruiter (co-owner of ProCreative which specializes in the placement of advertising professionals from coast to coast, mostly in the digital space.) View her LinkedIn profile and follow her on Twitter. View more job-seeking tips and resources on her blog.

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