The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

How To Win Friends And Influence People

Posted by jamesseetoo on September 1, 2009


This has got to be one of the best book titles in history, right up there with “A Canticle For Leibowitz” a book I’ve never read but whose title I can’t forget.  Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece is still in print after all these years and so you’d think that at the very least people would have some familiarity with it – especially when you’re in a job search.

So how is it that anyone can send an email like this?

“I am an immunologist and biopharma manager looking for a position.
Please contact me via email or phone;

Thanks,

XXXX XXXXXXXX, PhD”

No “Hi, how are you?” No “I’d appreciate it if you could help me.” Nothing.

So maybe it’s me as a jaded old recruiter but my first reaction to this is “So what?”  I mean, I don’t even handle immunology positions.

But it struck me that this person has never, ever read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” which while no longer the standard for this kind of things is better than sending an email saying “I’m looking for a position, call me.”  Well, at least he said please.

While this may be particularly egregious example it’s really part of larger problem.  People are too used to texting and instant messaging that they don’t know how to write a simple letter.

It’s an extension of a problem I first noticed about six years ago when I was trying to hire an intern.  We couldn’t find anyone who had decent phone skills.

But I like to think that we actually have these skills, we’re just out of practice.  In some cases they probably have atrophied to the point of needing re-education but they’re really not hard to learn.

Even though our more casual society encourages people to a familiarity that would never have been accepted in prior years, when making an initial contact it always pays to be more formal than less.  So I think it’s time to move back to more formality when trying to make a first impression both electronically and in person.  Try taking a look at “Mad Men” set in the early ’60’s.  There’s a certain style in the manners that will make you stand out.  Of course, you can’t smoke and drink at work (if you can, I might be applying) but I think you’ll get what I mean.

And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?  Separating yourself from the pack and standing out.  When all the rest of the people are out there speaking in text messaging code, your ability to express yourself coherently will make a huge difference in how people respond to you.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,
James Seetoo

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4 Responses to “How To Win Friends And Influence People”

  1. […] But it struck me that this person has never, ever read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” which while no longer the standard for this kind of things is better than sending an email saying “I’m looking for a position, call me. …Continue Reading […]

  2. This site rocks!

  3. I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..

    -Bill-Bartmann

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..

    -Bill-Bartmann

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