Dear Laurel: Please Tell Your Friends.

Normally, I don’t talk about things like my professional interactions on MySpace [NOTE: This post was originally published on MySpace] because a) I prefer to remain un-stalked and, b) I respect the privacy of those who have the misfortune of dealing with me on a daily basis and I understand that if they wanted people to read about their lives, they would write about it themselves.

But sometimes things cross the line into being blog-worthy despite those facts, so I’ll break my own rules for the moment.

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine sent me the link to an article about the mistakes job-seekers make in cover letters. From the article, it appears some people took offense with the letter or found it to be condescending. I didn’t. Perhaps that’s because I’m very familiar with the CEO who wrote the letter and with her business,, a crucial resource for media professionals across the country. You can read the article and the original e-mail from Laurel Touby here.

First off: Anyone who applied for a job as an executive assistant should have been well-versed in the “what not to do”s of cover-letter writing. If they didn’t already have that knowledge coming into the process, it could have been gleaned by a quick read of The staff there have covered the issue time and time again. It behooves applicants to familiarize themselves with the site’s content before applying to be said site’s assistant to the chief executive.

Secondly: If the applicants didn’t have the knowledge, then they shouldn’t complain about getting schooled after the fact. Maybe they should be happy they got an e-mail at all. Some companies don’t even get in touch to let you know you didn’t get the job.

However, I’d like to let Laurel Touby know that the managers interviewing the candidates who did make the cut could perhaps benefit from a little tutorial as well. Laurel, if you happen to come across this, this letter isn’t really addressed to you. It’s addressed to the woman who interviewed me on Friday (not affiliated or related to in any way, but the position was media-related).

DOs and DON’Ts for Hiring Managers:
1. When you e-mail me to invite me in for an interview, please spell my name correctly. My first name is only five letters long. If you need help recalling the correct spelling, please be sure to refer to either my e-mail address (it’s in that nifty little “TO:” field at the top of the screen) or to my resume, which is sitting right there in front of you.

2. If I have applied for a Manhattan-based position, do not interview me for a Queens-based position without first asking me whether I would consider working in Queens. Had you had the courtesy to tell me the Manhattan position had already been filled and asked if I’d like to interview for Queens, I would have told you that I do not have a car, which that position requires. This would have saved us both the time of setting up an interview.

3. Please show me the respect and attentiveness you would have your co-workers show you. Your colleague is being kind enough to give me a detailed overview of what the position entails. He is making eye contact with me and evaluating the available options (since I cannot work in Queens, but would be perfect for the position). This is not the time to play with your Blackberry, twirl your hair or wander around the room. You asked me to come here. At the very least, make the interaction worthwhile and recognize that you are representing your company.

I know that for every manager, there are at least four or five applicants who could do the job they’re hiring for. I know this because I’ve been the hiring manager. But if this is how you act when you’re recruiting for the position, why would we want to work with you? Perhaps metropolitan managers have gotten lazy because the talent pool is so large. However, some of us job-seekers aren’t desperate. We’re not looking for the first job we can latch onto. We’re looking for an organization that will see us as an asset and for colleagues who we can see ourselves working with on a daily basis in a satisfying, productive fashion.

We are bright, capable and charismatic and there are plenty of organizations who would love to have us on board. And when our bright, capable and charismatic friends are looking for a job, we are just as likely to tell them about the impressive managers we spoke with as we are to tell them about the ones who couldn’t have cared less about professionalism and common courtesy. Please take heed.

My regards,

Readers: What have I left out? What are some of your horror stories from the job-hunt front? Or – tell me about the worst boss you ever had.

[NOTE: Laurel Touby found this blog on MySpace and actually commented on the original post. I thought that was very cool of her.]


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