I have seen lots of really bad outreach messages over the years, but the ones that really stick with me are when a candidates are attempting to build a relationship with our firm and decide to take, well… letâ€™s just say ‘a different approach’. Using any of the following strategies will guarantee your chance of making that all-so-important good first impression is usually dead on arrival. In no particular order, these are some of my favorites:
Dear ‘Undisclosed Recipients’- A huge shout-out to those job-seekers who think they will get anyone’s attention with this (very) bad tactic. It actually takes the least amount of effort to accomplish and just screams that your efforts were â€œquick and dirtyâ€ . Clearly you prefer to use a shotgun approach instead of one more precision-focused to help you find your next gig. DELETE button, pleaseâ€¦
iPhone Teaser Messageâ€“ A tactic truly blows me away, this (really) bad plan does not include much thought at all. Itâ€™s a simple message that goes something like this – â€œI am a very knowledgeable healthcare CIO with multiple advanced degrees who may be interested in a new opportunity. I prefer the eastern shore but would consider the SE.” Really?! This took no effort, had no resume attached and was probably sent while this future candidate was killing time at a red light. The best part is usually the arrogant signature:
Sam Smart, PhD, MBA, MHA
Sent from my iPhone
Excuse all typos
(Câ€™monâ€¦ Do you really think I am going to call you?)
Spelling and Grammarâ€“ Basic, right? Some really smart people elect not to press the little Spelling and Grammar icon (you know the one Iâ€™m talking about), which I just can’t understand. They say first impressions are everything â€“ maybe for some but not for all. Of course, when I read an e-mail or a letter riddled with spelling errors I immediately disengage. I will click the delete button in a nanosecond! Every time!
No Industry Expertiseâ€“ And I mean NONE. Dear Sir: (ok, it even starts out bad) I have extensive expertise in the automotive retail marketplaceâ€¦. OK -Why, may I ask, are you sending me this note? No planning went into this strategy. Candidates should create a list of people who specialize in their market niche, and not waste their time or the time of the recipient of their poorly thought-out plan to just arbitrarily send correspondence to a search consultant with no knowledge of the industry they specialize in. Just bad. Really bad.
No Resume â€“ It is embarrassing to read (usually poorly written) e-mails from candidates who attempt to convey their career success in a one or two paragraph e-mail. If you want to get someoneâ€™s attention this is (again) a very bad plan. Not sending a resume (generally speaking) will not even count as a base hit. And forget about rounding 2nd. Unless you are really famous this one never works.
First impressions really do matter and in any initial outreach to engage in finding a new home you must put forth a little more effort. Just a little.