Don’t Waste Your First Impression

January 6, 2014

I know it takes courage to reach out to a complete stranger to ask about job opportunities, but, c’mon there are still basic rules to be followed.

Take for instance a PM inquiry sent to my Facebook business page. I posted the redacted query as a status update and caught some flak from my peers because they felt I was dissing the value of social media marketing.

Not so, I say! Social media has its place in marketing, but it needs to be used correctly. This was not correct … on so many levels –

Here’s the message:

From: [Name] Stillstanding

Hi my name is [Name]. I presently go to Everest University Online, for Paralegal Training. I have been attending for about two years now and I was wondering if your company needs any help? I am very good at research,writing,broadcasting,and speaking to people. If u have any positions that are available , let me know. If you cant hire anyone right now….I can offer some help for your company for free…. I just love and enjoy working hard…..Call me anytime [phone #]. And Happy New Year!

Where, oh where do I begin?
To use social media parlance, this is a #FAIL!

As one of my colleagues pointed out: “This is what is wrong with the Millennium generation … they do not spell anything out or know how to use a space bar… forget grammar … that was lost with the Gen X-ers!!”

To clarify, I am not running any job ads and my Facebook business page has all my contact information right there as part of the cover image. Let’s count the ways in which this person lost credibility:

1.      The Facebook profile was created using an alias.

Use your real name, not a silly catch phrase or political statement if you plan to use Facebook to reach potential employers.

2.     The message is too informal and unprofessional.

Address the recipient as you would in a proper email or cover letter.

3.     The content is rambling and poorly written.

Proofread before you hit sent or post.

Here’s the thing, a paralegal must write well. This individual does not.

 “I have been attending for about two years now and I was wondering if your company needs any help?”

Why the question mark? It’s NOT a question. It does however make me wonder about the program and the student.

 “I am very good at research,writing,broadcasting,and speaking to people.”

What is “research,writing,broadcasting,and”? Proper use of punctuation is a requirement, not an option. The very lack of its correct use is an indicator that the author is not, in fact, ‘good at writing’ and makes me question any remaining skills. For that matter, since when is “speaking to people” a marketable skill? And how does broadcasting fit in?

 “If u have any positions that are available , let me know.”

MY EYES!!! “u” is NOT a word and the comma is misplaced! This is lazy and unprofessional. I most assuredly will not take time out of my schedule should I become aware of a position. Not.my.job.

“If you cant hire anyone right now….I can offer some help for your company for free…. I just love and enjoy working hard…..Call me anytime [phone #].”

“cant” is a contraction and requires an apostrophe; ellipses should be used sparingly, and probably not in a ‘cover letter’. #justsayin’ As for free help, this note proves the adage that ‘you get what you pay for.’ I would never be comfortable asking this individual to represent me or my business.

 It’s sad really; it could be that M. Stillstanding has much to offer, but one rarely has a second chance to make a first impression.

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