An update on the subject of emoji.

Funny boy with smile pillow instead a head; Shutterstock ID 682241353

Image: Shutterstock / Elena Valebnaya

It had to happen: Emojis have gone so mainstream that Hollywood cant resist. When Shakespearean-trained actor Patrick Stewart is willing to voice an emoji in the shape of swirled poop in multimillion-dollar box office flick, things have gotten out of hand.

As Stewart adds his talent to The Emoji Movie, its clear that emoji use is on the rise across the boardtheres even an emoji Bible translation, for goodness sake. Corporations are also getting into the act, increasing their usage during marketing campaigns by more than 600 percent to 800 million emoji-based messages between 2015 and 2016.

Sure, emojis can be fun when tossed into personal messages and emails, but theyre causing serious problems in the workplace. Were slowly losing the ability to effectively communicate while gaining efficiency, but replacing actual conversations with cutesy symbols isnt the answer.

Winks belong outside the workplace

Think its impossible for an image to kill workplace communication, destroy colleague relationships, or create major hiccups? Not only is it possible, but its happening across industry sectors daily. A whopping 3 out of 4 people admit to using emojis professionallyits unsurprising but still dismaying, especially for bosses. An OfficeTeam survey noted 40 percent of executive-level supervisors gave emojis a distinct frowny face.

Whats the problem? Its simple: Emojis just arent professional. Of course, theres a time and place for mood-lightening iconography. But work requires balance and professional maturity. A corporate atmosphere demands structure and a culture representative of competence and expertise and a smiley face with popping heart eyes doesnt measure up.

Consider a situation in which you worked diligently for weeks on a project. You lost sleep, gave it your all, and totally owned the process. Imagine that all you received in response was a single thumbs-up emoji from your leadership team. Thats it. Thumbs-up or is it a complete thumbs-down?

Talk about deflating a balloon. Why wouldnt your colleagues or managers take the time to send a quick message of appreciation for your efforts? Instead, you got an emoji that took a millisecond to send. How likely are you to put forth the hours, dedication, and sweat equity the next time?

4 emoji woes and how to avoid them

Every one of us is bound to run face-to-face into a job-related emoji scenario in the not-too-distant future. How we navigate the icon-filled waters will say a lot about our professional abilities.

Scenario 1: The dreaded winking emoji

The chat starts off with an employee asking her boss if she can take a few days off to attend an out-of-town surprise birthday event. The boss answers with, Shouldnt be a problem, followed by a winking smiley emoji.

Then, the floodgates to emoji Hades erupt. The employee responds, Thank you I cant wait, and closes with two beer steins performing a floating cheers and a dancing emoji female in a provocative red dress.

How is the supervisor supposed to interpret this? Does it mean the employee plans to get intoxicated and dance on tables? Or is she inviting the boss out to knock back a few brews? Simply put, a supervisor is not a bro or BFF. He or she needs to be treated with respect. Two beer symbols and a gyrating lass are unacceptable responses.

Instead of a series of emojis, try this more appropriate response: Thank you. Ill make sure my work is up-to-date before leaving tomorrow. No emojis necessary.

Scenario 2: The infamous poop emoji

Is there an appropriate time to use a poop emoji at work? No, no, and no. No one wants to know if you feel like poop. No one wants to hear their work is poop. In fact, no one wants to think about poop at work at all.

If you wouldnt say you feel like sh*t, someones project is sh*t, or your pay is sh*t, dont hide behind a smiling pile of it in your communication.

The next time it seems appropriate to use the poop emoji, consider using words your grandma wouldnt be embarrassed hearing. Try, Im not feeling well, This draft is a bit disappointing, or I feel my pay doesnt reflect my value to the company.

Scenario 3: Unicorns, laughing devils, flags from Communist countries, etc.

Unless you are trying to communicate to an IT supervisor it would take a unicorn carrying a Soviet flag running through the gates of hell to debug a program, save the more off-the-wall emojis for personal communications. Even then, you wont find yourself using them very often.

The only exception might be in a high-stress environment where levity is needed, but even thats a long shot. Youre better off sticking to a work-appropriate joke.

Scenario 4: That telltale heart emoji

Relying on juvenile symbols like the heart emoji isnt working smarter or harder. Plus, it could end in a human resources nightmare.

Imagine what could happen if someone took the heart emoji the wrong way: An employee might send one to his or her boss intending to express appreciation for a raise, but the married boss might interpret that big, red heart a bit differently.

Resist the urge to hit the heart. Opt instead for a few sincere lines: Thanks so much for the positive review and the pay raise. I really enjoy working for the company.

Its time for everyone to step back and use words, not symbols. Theres no substitute for looking someone in the eyes and speaking from the heart. Short messages with symbols might feel efficient, but symbols can convey a host of alternate meanings, regardless of intent. No one, though, has ever misinterpreted a heartfelt Thank you.


Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur with a degree in nuclear medicine. His work has been featured in Forbes, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Fox Small Business, Entrepreneur, and TIME Magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at, inspiring his team one word at a time. You can find him on LinkedIn.

Read more:


How is your job interview behaviour?

Do you ace your job interviews? Do you know what to do and what not to do during job interviews? A survey conducted by Harris Interactive in November/December 2013 among more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals reveals common mistakes applicants make during job interviews and hilarious mistakes as well. So, keeping in mind that nearly 50% of employers will make their final decisions about you within 5 minutes after the interview started, here are a few lists and stats for you:

According to employers, the most common mistakes candidates make in interviews are:

  • Appearing disinterested (55%)
  • Dressing inappropriately (53%)
  • Appearing arrogant (53%)
  • Talking negatively about current or previous employers (50%)
  • Answering a cellphone or texting during the interview (49%)
  • Appearing uninformed about the company or role (39%)
  • Not providing specific examples (33&)
  • Not asking good questions (32%)
  • Providing too much personal information (20%)
  • Asking the hiring manager personal questions (17%)

Do not underestimate the importance of body language during job interviews. Communication is more than words, here is what annoys employers:

  • Failure to make eye contact (70%)
  • Failure to smile (44%)
  • Bad posture (35%)
  • Fidgeting too much in one’s seat (35%)
  • Playing with something on the table (29%)
  • Handshake that is too weak (27%)
  • Crossing one’s arms over one’s chest (24%)
  • Playing with one’s hair or touching one’s face (24%)
  • Using too many hand gestures (10%)
  • Handshake that is too strong (5%)

Now, to put a smile on your face, here are some sure ways to goof up your job interview. Remember, these are real life examples that were provided by employers during the Harris survey:

  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant showed up in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug
  • Applicant informed interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think the interview was indicative of her personality
  • Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
  • Applicant popped out his teeths when discussing dental benefits
  • Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Applicant said that he questioned his daugther’s paternity
  • Applicant asked for name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her


Do you think your resume or CV will be read by humans…….

…or by robots? Huh? Did you say robots? Yes, I did. Let me explain: Recruitment agencies and companies use software often called ATS or Applicant Tracking Software. Programs like Taleo, Kenexa, PeopleSoft and others. To support recruiters and staffing people, this software performs a lot of tasks for them. One of them is that a modern ATS has a built-in functionality to parse (or read) your CV or resume. I would say that about half of all organizations (and a majority of large organizations) use ATS’s to pre-qualify or screen applicants making the lives of recruiters easier. So, it is important for you to be prepared and optimize your resume or CV to get past the ATS. Here are some do’s and dont’s to think about when you prepare your resume for an ATS:


  • use creative formatting to make your resume look nice, an ATS can choke on it
  • use pictures, logos or other graphics, an ATS has no eyes
  • send your resume as a PDF, not all ATS’s can handle that
  • use non-standard fonts
  • insert information in tables in your resume


  • use standard fonts like Tahoma, Verdana, Arial
  • make sure that your resume is rich in keywords to match the job description
  • use bulleted lists of your qualifications and skills
  • spell check your resume and use appropriate punctuation
  • include your contact information near the top of the page

Make sure your resume or CV is organized in neat sections with proper headings. It is best not to use header and/or footer in an ATS version of your resume or CV. Also, check for abbreviations, to be safe it is best not to use them but to spell out words, ATS’s can be a little limited in vocabulary and may not understand abbreviations that you use. When you need to do cutting & pasting, have an ASCII version of your resume ready to prevent nasty things happening to your formatting. If you can, upload your resume or CV. Bear in mind that an ATS analyzed keywords, titles etc. to assess your experience. These systems are capable of rejecting the majority of candidates that do not meet the requirements. 


Is this good or is it bad? Well, both. It is good because it helps the staffing folks speed up the processing of applications. It is good because you as an applicant, can include more information in preparing an ATS-friendly resume to help you stand out from the competition because an ATS doesn’t care about the lenght of your resume. It is bad because ATS’s can’t think the way humans can, it’s a bit like performing surgery on patients using garden tools. It is bad because hiring managers and recruiters will miss out on well qualified candidates because the robots have decided they didn’t make the cut.

Good luck battling the robots in landing your next job!

Is your resume packed with hollow phrases?

Many job postings (still) list personal qualifications to such extent that it is hard to believe that there are actually people out there that are a 100% match. To qualify for even the simplest entry-level jobs, we need to be detail-oriented, goal-oriented, ambitious, competent, determined, well-organized and creative. Right? So, it is understandable that many resumes and CV’s advertise many of these wonderful attributes. Nowadays, that is pretty much old school because many employers no longer pay attention to these subjective criteria and hollow phrases. So, if you are an “Engaging and goal-oriented personality with high drive” and you possess a “can-do mentality” and you are a “strong, people-oriented relationship builder”…you run the risk of having your resume rejected. There is nothing wrong with including your strongest skills in your resume but rather than “bluntly” stating them, provide examples from your professional experience that illustrate and prove them. That way you can convince hiring managers because you are showing your skills.

About the length of your CV or resume

Although there doesn’t seem to be a general opinion about the length of your resume or CV, my advice is to keep it as short as possible. (exception to this rule is, for instance in the USA, when a full length CV is called for Two, three pages tops should do it. There is no need to provide detailed information about jobs you held a long time ago. Be brief about them. And scrutinize your resume or CV for information that can perhaps be removed. It will improve the readability.