With 84% of employed professionals active seeking a different career opportunity and nearly 14 Million Americans unemployed, there is an abundance of job seekers in today’s market.  In a market more competitive than The Great Depression, savvy job seekers need to have their manners as polished as their shoes.

Polish your impression

To help polish your job search etiquette, here are 5 Job Search Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid:

Mistake #1: Arriving late. In the days of Garmin, Google Maps and apps for everything from an iPhone to Droid and Blackberry, there’s simply no good reason for showing up late anywhere these days. Strolling in 10 minutes late to an interview because of traffic, weather or even an accident is avoidable. Job seekers that arrive late give an impression that this behavior may be their modus operandi if hired.

Mistake #2: Too comfy, too fast. If the interviewer offers personal information, wonderful; find a way to direct the conversation back to a professional nature. Divulging that you spent the weekend at a bachelor party hitting the local “juice” bars until 3a.m. will leave a memorable impression, but is unlikely to be the impression that ends up landing you the job.

Mistake #3: Open Bar, Open Behavior. With networking accounting for 80% of the jobs landing in today’s market, events that include alcohol are commonplace for job seekers. Make 1 drink your limit to maintain your professional composure at all times.

Mistake #4: Act like you’re dining with your best friends during an interview over a meal. Many higher-level positions will include an interview over a meal precisely to review your manners and public behavior. Avoid ordering pastas with lots of sauce and meals that require you to use your fingers (e.g. ribs). It’s best to avoid ordering alcoholic drinks, even if the host orders one. Always be polite to the wait staff as well.

Mistake #5: Forget the thank you note. Each person you interview with, and the administrative assistant that schedules your interviews, should receive a thank you note. Spend a few minutes to personalize the note to each person and make sure to drop it in the mail within 24 hours. Yes, the mail. Sending a handwritten thank you note, along with an email thank you note, will show that you know the value of a quality business communication and put you above the crowd.

Spend a few minutes polishing up your job search etiquette and you’ll quickly notice yourself at the front of the crowd.