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What’s Your Meta Message?

Your job search could be in deep trouble … and you may not even know it. All because you’re sending a negative meta message.
A what message, you ask?
The term “meta message” is a marketing concept referring to the overall impression you give when communicating with others. It’s the “vibe” that extends beyond (meta) what you say (your message).

Here’s an example.

You’re sitting across from a prospective employer during a job interview. You say: “I’m really eager to be a part of your company, Mr. Jones. My five years of experience and training give me the tools to succeed as a Sales Rep for you.”
On the face of it, that sounds like a convincing message.
But if you’re saying this with spinach in your teeth, a razor cut on your chin and wearing socks that don’t match, here’s your META MESSAGE: “I’m not really that eager to join your company because I couldn’t find time to groom myself properly. If you let me anywhere near your clients, you’ll be making a big mistake.”
That’s just one example of how a botched meta message can ruin an otherwise favorable impression. To avoid this and keep your career on track, it’s crucial that you carefully analyze every part of your job search campaign.
Here’s a list of areas to focus on, based on my experience helping more than 2,000 clients since 1996.


Make sure yours is concise, clear and convincing. Use high-quality stationery to present the best possible meta message here. I recommend laser printing your resume on ivory-colored paper, too.

E-mail address.

The address you use on your resume must look professional. If your current handle is “,” consider changing it to “,” or something similar.

Answering machine.

Make sure your outgoing message is brief and to the point. That means no laughing, loud music or dogs barking in the background. (Unfortunately, I’ve heard each of these on clients’ messages.)

Personal grooming.

Comb your hair neatly every day, to prepare for that one day when it has to be perfect. Clean and press your clothes, too. And never eat spinach salad before a job interview ….
Your meta message speaks volumes about you. Make sure yours says: “Hire me. You won’t be sorry.”
Best of luck to you!


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