A Job Search ‘Don’t’

January 24, 2013

I have many (M A N Y) pet peeves – blame it on the red hair if you must …

One of them is the lackadaisical manner in which some people ‘apply’ for jobs. Yes, I put half-quote marks around apply … it’s as close as I could get to air quotes.

I’m talking about people who cannot be bothered to properly format an email with a salutation, body, and closing (think: cover letter), much less attach a resume. These individuals go speeding down the Interwebs, slamming their targets with poorly written/thought out dribble. As someone who wants to see my peers succeed, I take the time to evaluate and respond to each ‘application’ .

Allow me to clarify, my company is not hiring. There is nothing in my marketing materials, social media, or on my website to indicate otherwise. That does not stop people from blindly requesting that they be considered for a non-existent position.

If you are going to blindly approach someone about a job – whether or not one is being advertised – BE PROFESSIONAL!! First impressions count in everything you do. Fine, sit at your computer, in your jammies, and write your emails, but for the love of Pete (btw, does anyone know who this Pete is??) make your written word stand out from the crown for the right reasons.

Here is a recent example of a ‘request’ sent via the contact link on my company website:

I am a current law student going for Paralegal, attending [redacted] University Online. I graduate in July 2013 and am wanting to start my position as a Paralegal in the Atlanta upon after graduation. So I am looking around for firms that could tell me about the position or what I can expect or have a position once getting to Atlanta.

No salutation or closing; no contact information (other than the required email address), and the content, well …

On it’s face, the email appears to be cobbled together from several sources (an insult to my paralegal sensibilities). Paralegals, attorneys, and all legal professionals should be able to proofread for content and continuity. But I digress,

  1. “a current law student going for Paralegal”

I don’t know what that means. Has she taken a break from law school to become a paralegal? Is she attending both programs concurrently?

  1. “wanting to start my position”

‘Her’ position?? Srsly?

  1. “in the Atlanta upon after graduation”

My eyes! My eyes!

  1. “looking around for firms that could tell me about the position or what I can expect or have a position once getting to Atlanta”

“…or…or…” uh, No! It is not a prospective employer’s job to fill in the gaps for you.  Tell you about what position? Tell you what you can expect about what? Have a position where?

Okay, perhaps she is not an native English speaker – all the more reason to take the time to get it right. It only takes a few more seconds to add a greeting and closing to a stock email. As far as first impressions go, this one went.

I spent well over a week considering whether to respond and in what manner – I deleted and undeleted the email; Googled her email addy in an attempt to vet her; drafted (and deleted) an email gently suggesting that she reconsider her approach … ultimately, I apologized for the delay in responding, advised that we aren’t hiring, asked for a clarification of her intent, and invited her to call me to discuss her goals. We’ll see what happens…

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