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Monday, August 03, 2009

A Tale of Two Footers

I have two e-mail footers; one is a staid woodcut with address and a link to my business site, the other is a doodle, like the ones on this blog, with a link to this page. For business correspondence and job hunting I always use the business footer. Right before I click send, I select my business account which magically switches the footer and return e-mail address.

I always do this.

Except when I don’t.

Last night I got an email from an employer, stating that they received over 200 applications for their contract copy writing position, and after going through them all, they selected a few people who they wanted to speak with. I was one of them.

What surprised me most of all is the fact that this was one of those rare (though not as rare as I’d like) instances where I clicked “Send” and simultaneously sucked in a breath, realizing I hadn’t changed the footer!

I thought, oh well, I won’t be hearing from that one. Afterall, what an unprofessional presentation! And a link to my blog rather than my business web site?

So when I received the email last night, it got me thinking.

Recruiters are people. And like all people they are curious. And when bombarded with one business-savvy resume after another, well, they all begin to look the same. Sure, backgrounds are important, but when many of the applicants have the minimal requirements, how do you really select among them?

Maybe, I’m thinking, that’s what happened here. Maybe, as the recruiter shuffled through the stack of virtual applicants, mine had a face. Okay, not exactly my face, but a face nonetheless. I use the term face both figuratively and broadly; to mean that the recruiter knew a little bit more about who I am, based on my footer/blog, than he did about most of the other applicants.

Maybe he just liked my doodle.

It’s hard to say, but in this amazingly difficult time at job hunting, maybe it’s time to add a hint of personality to our staid business presentations. Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of “who” we are beyond the experience and the degrees. After all, in every interview I’ve ever been in, I’ve felt that “who” I was played as much of a part in the decision-making process as “what I’ve done”. Maybe, at that stage of the game, more. So maybe it would be wise to drop a hint or two, in ever business solicitation, about who the person is doing the solicitation.

I don’t know for sure, but over the last few years, more than once I’ve felt that it’s the non-professional stuff that has made all the difference. I’m not advocating you lay out your life story, but a little glimpse at the person behind the words.

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About Me

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.