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S John

Careerchat III

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Last thread was closed so here we are.

How about this - if you are sending in an application and you know the hiring managers name (but don’t know them personally and have had no previous correspondence) how do you deal with the salutation of the cover letter?  

In this case I know it’s a woman, but that’s all I know.  Do I go with Dear Firstname, Dear Ms. Last-name?  Something else?  Don’t wanna get little details like this wrong.

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On 8/11/2018 at 6:32 PM, Derfel Cadarn said:

Dear Ms lastname

Agreed, for an actual letter.  

If your cover letter is actually an email with resume attached, then I’d use first name (and no “Dear”).

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I'd third that answer.

I went ahead and submitted an application to a job opening that seems like the kind of next step job that I'm hopeful is a logical destination for me.  But who knows how many applicants they'll get etc...I am very curious to see if what's on my  resume makes me look like a candidate to the folks on the other side that way that I'm hopeful that it might, so this should be educational one way or another to see if I even get an interview.  We shall see.

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2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Agreed, for an actual letter.  

If your cover letter is actually an email with resume attached, then I’d use first name (and no “Dear”).

It is an email but I think i’m going to go with @Derfel Cadarn and do Ms. whatever instead of the first name.  They gave an email address but no full name, I only figured out who the person was by googling the email address and their LinkedIn came up.  So even though this is an email I don’t know if I wanna use the first name informally when I had to dig around to find it and seem like a creep or something.  I dunno it’s just that weird shit with job searching where it’s hard to figure out what the social norms are, much like dating when you wanna seem interested but not tooooo interested.

It’s kind of annoying because the job posting says to email this email address and explain why you are the right person for the job, but then says ‘no cover letter’! 

So, clearly they don’t want me to attach a cover letter.  No prob there.  Actually that’s great because that is the most tedious part of the whole process.  But what they do want is for me to send them an email explaining why I’m a good fit for the job kinda like ... a cover letter.  Lol.  Ok.

Anyway, I do want to talk to them about this particular job, so I will go ahead and do the not-a-cover-letter cover letter email.  

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11 hours ago, S John said:

It is an email but I think i’m going to go with @Derfel Cadarn and do Ms. whatever instead of the first name.  They gave an email address but no full name, I only figured out who the person was by googling the email address and their LinkedIn came up.  So even though this is an email I don’t know if I wanna use the first name informally when I had to dig around to find it and seem like a creep or something.  I dunno it’s just that weird shit with job searching where it’s hard to figure out what the social norms are, much like dating when you wanna seem interested but not tooooo interested.

It’s kind of annoying because the job posting says to email this email address and explain why you are the right person for the job, but then says ‘no cover letter’! 

So, clearly they don’t want me to attach a cover letter.  No prob there.  Actually that’s great because that is the most tedious part of the whole process.  But what they do want is for me to send them an email explaining why I’m a good fit for the job kinda like ... a cover letter.  Lol.  Ok.

Anyway, I do want to talk to them about this particular job, so I will go ahead and do the not-a-cover-letter cover letter email.  

OK.  It’s not a bad outcome.  Don’t overthink it.  Presumed informality in addressing an email is very unlikely to get noticed or seem off-putting.  It’s the default style of the medium.  I get unsolicited email inquiries from strangers all the time and I’m not bothered that they presume to use my first name, which is in the email address after all.  

For a job applicant, I would not be surprised to be addressed formally in an email but it makes the candidate seem slightly powerless/aspirational rather than confident; so appropriate for an entry-level applicant but less so for an experienced applicant confident of their presence in the industry. 

But go with however you feel comfortable.  I’m a data sample of one and may not correspond to your audience. 

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I’ve always been told to use “To Whom it May Concern” when offering a cover letter to a person you have yet to meet.  

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5 hours ago, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

I’ve always been told to use “To Whom it May Concern” when offering a cover letter to a person you have yet to meet.  

I tend to use this too, especially if I don't know the name of the person I'm addressing. If I'm responding to an email (e.g. a query about availability for interviews after reading my application) I tend to take my cue from the sender and how they sign off their own email (e.g. sincerely, Mr. Bloggs, sincerely Linda).

If the job advert specifies a name though I usually use that. Haven't really seen that too often, its mostly through my university careers portal - "if interested please send a CV and Covering Letter to X at [email protected]" In that case I would use the name provided

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12 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I tend to use this too, especially if I don't know the name of the person I'm addressing. If I'm responding to an email (e.g. a query about availability for interviews after reading my application) I tend to take my cue from the sender and how they sign off their own email (e.g. sincerely, Mr. Bloggs, sincerely Linda).

If the job advert specifies a name though I usually use that. Haven't really seen that too often, its mostly through my university careers portal - "if interested please send a CV and Covering Letter to X at [email protected]" In that case I would use the name provided

Ditto. The only one that throws me through a loop is when you get a woman's full name without specifying Ms. from Mrs., though I don't think anyone cares about that these days like they did years ago.

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I have a question that's some what related to this thread. Is there any preferred technique to revamping your writing skills? I was an A student in college and could write most of my papers with little effort, but it's been seven years since I graduated and I haven't had to write much since then. Some memos here, a long email there, but that's it. Honestly most of my writing since then has been here and on Facebook, and while I don't mean to downplay that, it's not that helpful when considering law or grad school.  

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2 hours ago, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

Ditto. The only one that throws me through a loop is when you get a woman's full name without specifying Ms. from Mrs., though I don't think anyone cares about that these days like they did years ago.

I thought Ms. was the catch-all - professional address, as opposed to Miss (unmarried) or Mrs. (married?)

2 hours ago, SpaceForce Tywin et al. said:

I have a question that's some what related to this thread. Is there any preferred technique to revamping your writing skills? I was an A student in college and could write most of my papers with little effort, but it's been seven years since I graduated and I haven't had to write much since then. Some memos here, a long email there, but that's it. Honestly most of my writing since then has been here and on Facebook, and while I don't mean to downplay that, it's not that helpful when considering law or grad school.  

This might be weird, but personal experience: I felt like my writing got way, way better - and I generally get very good feedback on my writing as such, at the grad-school and academic paper writing level - after I subjected myself to having my fiction prose critiqued and, especially, critiquing others.

I was on something called 'Critique Circle' for a while, which has a points system where you get feedback on chapters you write and have to review others to earn them, and that was fantastic. Beats me if it made in any way a better novelist, but it made me a better writer. Find yourself having to critique - seriously, with real thought - a handful of not-appalling-but-really-not-there-yet amateur writers' drafts of space operas, epic fantasies, kinky romances, etc, and you know, it becomes easy to spot what makes a sentence fail to flow, what words and phrases jump out as amateurish or stilted, what structure of paragraph is convoluted and annoying to read. Suddenly I could see them in my own writing (and cringe). It really helped break bad habits, and I think contributed to being considered a strong writer - at least for academic purposes.

So, uh, write you a half-assed fantasy novel, and let some strangers on the internet beat the crap out of it, say I. It was also way more fun than going through the GRE example essay book was.

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Here's something for the career hive mind - any thoughts on pitching yourself as a remote employee?

Last week I got a somewhat out-of-the-blue call from a company that I've been in contact with a couple of times over the last year or so.  They called me because they are looking to create a new office and they want me to be a PM type person for said office.  I'm in a very specific niche of a very specific industry and I have exactly the skill-set that they are looking for.  There are literally only a handful of other people in the country that will have comparable experience to me for this specific role and I know that they really like my resume, plus there's a couple of mutual people that we all know which always helps smooth things over.  The problem is that the job is located in a rural part of Mississippi, with some travel.  The limited travel is fine but the rural MS part is not going to work for me.  Nothing against Mississippi or anything but the S.O. and I have already decided that for the foreseeable future we are either going to live in Texas, where her people are, or we are going back to central Virginia (not DC area) where my people are.  If I were to consider an option outside of those parameters, rural MS doesn't move the needle.  So I told them to stay in touch and I'd think about it.  

Having thought about it for a couple of days, what I'd like to do is call 'em back next week and see if they'll give me a remote option.  Since this is an entirely new office, maybe they'd be willing to entertain some unconventional employees, particularly when I have the exact resume and experience they are looking for within a really small field.  I mentioned it briefly on the initial call and they kinda went off naming other places where they have offices, but I'm wondering if I should just flat out say,'here are my terms' and what the most diplomatic way is to do that.  The job can be done remotely.  It's much the same as my job now where I could easily remote in about 85% of the time (except for when we do field work, which you have to travel for regardless).  If they say 'no' its no big deal, I'll just stay where I'm at, just wondering if people had ideas I could throw in to sweeten the deal for them or something to at least get them thinking about it.

Working remotely is something I'm really interested in, generally, because I just don't really want to live in a large city anymore so I'm kinda looking at this as an opportunity to push for it.  

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@S John You can definitely propose it.  It’s ok to say that you like the firm, you’re excited about the role but your relocation options are limited to x, y, and z.  It might work out, it might not.  It would help if you offer to visit one of their key offices for a number of days each month.  If the PM role includes day-to-day people management then a remote role just may not work, but lots of companies have an increasing number of experienced employers working from their home office. 

There’s a firm right now who wants to talk to me about a possibly interesting role but they think it would have to be based in NYC, Boston, San Francisco or Austin.  Those are all fine cities but I’m very reluctant to move my family until my son finishes HS (he’s just starting 6th grade).  I’ll have to see what’s possible.

@SpaceForce Tywin et al. There are tons of books available on professional writing style.  Read one and then find a way to practice.  You just need any forum where people will read your writing and give you some feedback.  Easiest way could be to ask a colleague to review all draft memos or long emails.  Once you have the grammar, spelling, sentence structure, paragraph discipline, etc of basic writing, the only real challenge in business writing is clarity: are you articulating your central premise (a proposal/request/whatever) and organizing the supporting rationale?  Are you doing it in a way that reflects the knowledge and familiarity of the audience?  That’s pretty much it.  No character development, no suspense, no worldbuilding or magic systems, no lyrical prose.  OTOH, if you’re aiming for law school, then I assume that drafting briefs/motions/contracts require more specific conventions than simple business writing and you’ll need some specialized learning for that level. 

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A friend of mine knows I've been thinking about a career change, and more or less offered me a job where he works yesterday. He said I'd need to go in and have a chat with the boss, and probably do a couple of test days, but as long I as I didn't literally turn up high the boss said he'd high hire me on my friend's recommendation. The job itself is at a pathology lab, which fits in well with what I've been thinking about being interested in re-training for something science related. It sounds like very interesting work, the money is quite a lot better than what I make currently, and I'd be working with a friend.

The only downside, and it's a big one, is the commute. It's an hour-and-fifteen minute drive each way, assuming no traffic, but it's along a frequently congested road so in reality the drive would be longer. I really, really don't want to spend over two-and-a-half hours sitting in a car every day. And I don't want to move out of the town I currently live in. Pretty much my entire social life and hobbies are here.

Not sure what to do right now, but I'm leaning more towards declining. Even if the work and the money turned out to be amazing, I think that much driving would have a major negative affect on my overall quality of life, and I don't want to move.

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1 hour ago, Liffguard said:

A friend of mine knows I've been thinking about a career change, and more or less offered me a job where he works yesterday. He said I'd need to go in and have a chat with the boss, and probably do a couple of test days, but as long I as I didn't literally turn up high the boss said he'd high hire me on my friend's recommendation. The job itself is at a pathology lab, which fits in well with what I've been thinking about being interested in re-training for something science related. It sounds like very interesting work, the money is quite a lot better than what I make currently, and I'd be working with a friend.

The only downside, and it's a big one, is the commute. It's an hour-and-fifteen minute drive each way, assuming no traffic, but it's along a frequently congested road so in reality the drive would be longer. I really, really don't want to spend over two-and-a-half hours sitting in a car every day. And I don't want to move out of the town I currently live in. Pretty much my entire social life and hobbies are here.

Not sure what to do right now, but I'm leaning more towards declining. Even if the work and the money turned out to be amazing, I think that much driving would have a major negative affect on my overall quality of life, and I don't want to move.

That’s a tough one.  How’s the public transportation between the two places?  If you could sit on a train and read a book or something instead of driving that would (for me anyway) turn a major inconvenience into something I’d probably look forward to at times.  I completely agree that driving that much in traffic would be terrible.  My commute is only about 20 minutes in traffic and it still pisses me off sometimes.  Still, it sounds like an upgrade career wise so worth considering, IMO.

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As sjohn said. Is public transport available? I hate driving so that commute would be a no from me.

 

I opened a gym with my other half in early March. So far I have been carrying on with my 9-5 job (office work) so as to not put all our eggs in one basket so to speak. But as of today I handed in my notice so starting in October I will be at the gym full time and be fully self employed/my own boss.

Scary/exciting times ahead.

 

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40 minutes ago, lessthanluke said:

As sjohn said. Is public transport available? I hate driving so that commute would be a no from me.

 

I opened a gym with my other half in early March. So far I have been carrying on with my 9-5 job (office work) so as to not put all our eggs in one basket so to speak. But as of today I handed in my notice so starting in October I will be at the gym full time and be fully self employed/my own boss.

Scary/exciting times ahead.

 

Dude, that's fucking awesome!  Being your own boss doing something you like, that's the dream man.  Congrats and good luck!

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1 hour ago, lessthanluke said:

I opened a gym with my other half in early March. So far I have been carrying on with my 9-5 job (office work) so as to not put all our eggs in one basket so to speak. But as of today I handed in my notice so starting in October I will be at the gym full time and be fully self employed/my own boss.

Scary/exciting times ahead.

 

 

Mate that's awesome. Best of luck to you.

 

Quote

As sjohn said. Is public transport available? I hate driving so that commute would be a no from me.

There are trains and buses, but neither are practical. The train journey would be two-and-a-half hours, with multiple changes and at least one connecting bus service. Taking the bus the whole way is nearly three-and-a-half hours. Unfortunately, the only two viable options are to drive or to live closer.

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Just now, S John said:

Dude, that's fucking awesome!  Being your own boss doing something you like, that's the dream man.  Congrats and good luck!

It literally is the dream. The first 6 months have been pretty brutal with regards to working both tthe day job and gym but I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

 

46 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

 

Mate that's awesome. Best of luck to you.

 

There are trains and buses, but neither are practical. The train journey would be two-and-a-half hours, with multiple changes and at least one connecting bus service. Taking the bus the whole way is nearly three-and-a-half hours. Unfortunately, the only two viable options are to drive or to live closer.

Thanks man.

Is moving closer an option. Say to turn the commute into 45 minutes each way then only be 30 minutes away from your social stuff and hobbies.

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I commuted over one hour for a couple of years and, well, I did get used to it but it still sucked. You just lose so much time each day. In addition the fuel costs were horrible and the environmental impact weighed on my conscience. 

I’ve decided not to do that again. Very few jobs are worth sacrificing my time like that.

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