EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I don’t know how many of you go for humorous movies. There aren’t too many good ones, but when there is a good one, the part I enjoy the most is “the running gag.” In the movie Airplane, for example, Lloyd Bridges playing the part of McCroskey starts by saying: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!” He then continues variations on this theme throughout the movie.

Here at world headquarters the running gag is “This calls for Matt’s secret decoder ring!”

You see a lot of folks are apparently unaware of the importance of providing their name anywhere in the messages they send. In addition, there just is no substitute for providing your phone number, if you want someone to call you, or your email address if you want someone to write. Mysterious email writers are only a small part of the problem. If you have sent what might be considered “a call to action” make it easy for me to get to you.

I know you believe that your name is at the top of your message, but it isn’t always. Have you actually seen messages you send? You ought to have someone fax one back to you. Frequently members haven’t set up their own mailboxes and their spouse’s name is at the top. This really doesn’t look professional if you are sending your resume in for an important job.

What’s worse is that in addition, a very high percentage of the notes I get aren’t even signed, or if they are signed, they are signed John or Joe. This may surprise you, but I know a lot of John’s and Joe’s. It is possible your friends do too?

I am not going to paste in my “outgoing signature” tonight. I have done it in the past. Just know that setting up an outgoing signature in any email system is very easy, and you CAN do it. It will make your correspondence look more professional. Just as business casual at work can make it hard to tell who is the boss, so too, unprofessional correspondence can diminish a very impressive attached resume.

Facilitating communication has implications for name badges as well. I know many of our members feel that it isn’t “cool” to have a typed badge. I guess if you do have one that means you are serious about looking for a job. Well, if you are, you might want to have one that looks like you are serious. The same goes for “tents,” those place cards we use at meetings.

Neatly presented “labels” facilitate communication because they make it easier for me to remember and say your name. If you prefer to be called Bill, don’t use William on your name badge or tent. If you want to facilitate communication with other human beings, make it easy for them to call you by your right name. It is a little off putting to be “corrected” at the beginning of a conversation. Oh call me Bill may seem warm, but getting others to call you Bill from the start is a lot better.

If you have an ambiguous first name, make sure it is clear somewhere in your message that it is Mr. or Ms. Don’t force others to guess. Like the Saturday night skit about “Pat,” it can cause embarrassment on the part of others to be put in the position of being surprised or caught being wrong.

The key to facilitating communication is making it easy to reach you. I am always surprised when folks don’t put their home number on their resume. I guess if an important job came up and a recruiter called them at home, they wouldn’t take the call.

Well, don’t let these things happen to you. Who knows, Santa Claus may be trying to reach you right now, if only he could figure out how. Santa Claus is someone who might offer you the “perfect job.” (Tell him I’ll call him back! I’m too busy right now. And, I have an unlisted phone number!)

Regards, Matt

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