I don’t know if your incoming snail mail is anything like ours, but we sure get a ton of unsolicited mail. The procedure we follow in our house is to pile the mail up and pull over a large garbage pail. The rule is, “when in doubt, throw it out.”
Hard to believe how much junk mail we get over the course of a week. Returning from a vacation is a mind blowing experience as you excitedly bring the bushel basket of mail into the house to discover that there are only 10-20 pieces of “real” mail in there.
The same thing is of course true about email. I have 4 addresses that I query several times a day, and that means that I get 4 times the junk mail as most people. If I have been away from my computer any length of time, I have to move through it pretty quickly to delete the “bad” stuff so I can get to the “real” messages from all of you, or perhaps from one of my clients.
However, all of the junk mail I have to deal with doesn’t come from spammers. Some of it comes from individuals applying for membership, members in need of information or help, or from existing members applying for one of our consulting assignments.
In these cases, the messages aren’t really junk mail or spam. It is hard for me to ignore these messages, and I don’t.
Unfortunately for all of us, most of the world doesn’t operate this way. My junk mail procedure of “when in doubt, throw it out” or in this case, delete it, is probably closer to the truth of what you are facing “out in the cold cruel world.”
Since we were talking about resumes recently, I will use the case of new member applicants as my jumping off point and discuss the incredible the lengths to which individuals go to hide their true identity. Go ahead and create a mystery, or the ever popular “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” and I will have to mark your application declined.
I can only spend 3-4 minutes on these odd ball applications as I do this in my spare time on the weekends. Are you a financial person? Believe it or not, one often can’t tell. For fear of being IDENTIFIED as who they are (perhaps an Information Technology expert), it doesn’t say anywhere what they do for a living. If any applicant is expecting me to CALL them, or for anyone else with whom they are communicating to call them, they can’t really be serious.
If you hide your titles, companies you have worked for (or what those companies do), your age, where you live, and a few other most important issues, you are going to cause me to move on to the next document. You aren’t going to cause me to call you or write to you or invite you in for an interview so I can find out.
As Clint Eastwood would say: Go ahead, make my day. I have more than enough email and snail mail to deal with each and every day. Give me a reason to hit the delete key or to tear up your message.
On the other hand, if you want me to consider your communication as important to my life, help me out by writing clearly. Provide a subject for your email that tells me why you have written. Write some meaningful sentences that allow me to absorb your message in short order. Please don’t rattle on at length. Anything over 3 paragraphs I put aside for reading when I have time, and unfortunately, I never do.
And last but not least, please, please, PLEASE add a COMPLETE outgoing signature to EACH and EVERY message you send. I have over 60,000 individuals in my personal address book. Some of them have the same first name as you do. Some of them also have the same last name as you do. And, some of them even have the same middle initial as you do. I need all the data points I can get so I don’t change the wrong directory listing.
You will find that the rest of the world that you are trying to reach operates in much the same manner and has to deal with many of the same problems.
So, spend a minute and take an honest look at your resume and cover letters. If there is any place on these documents where you can erase a doubt or answer a question, DO IT.
Otherwise, you just may find yourself hit “upside the head” by that ghost you never see who follows the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule. And, we wouldn’t want that to happen.
My outgoing signature used on replies AND forwards is:
Matthew R. Bud
The Financial Executives Networking Group
32 Gray’s Farm Road
Weston, CT 06883
(203) 227-8965 Office Phone
(203) 820-4667 Cell