Oh Hai, Gives Me Teh Job Plz, Kthxbai.
December 27, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Calling all Mefites who are good at composing emails! I am struggling with verbiage in an email I am sending to someone regarding a potential employment opportunity. Please help this nervous going-on-3 months-unemployed job seeker not screw this up. Tasty plate of beans inside.

"Jane", a person I met at a networking event, has heard of a potential job opportunity with a firm I would be interested in working with - alas it's only part time work but it's in my industry and there is potential for growth. Not to mention part-time work is better than no work.

"Jane" has worked with this company before and has told me to use her name when I reach out to the contact person. Yay for name-dropping! The problem is that I have never written such an email before and everything I am coming up with sounds awkward. So far I have the following (with identifying details redacted):

Dear [person at company],

My name is thereemix and I am a [city-based person with skills you want]. Jane Smith from [company that does business with your company] mentioned that [your company] has a need for some part time work and suggested that I contact you.

I have a broad range of [relevant skills] as well as 3 years experience in [doing exactly the kind of work your company does].

Here's where I get stuck. How do I close this communication/open the door to a further conversation? I thought of "I would love to discuss any potential opportunities you might have - please let me know the best way to reach you, or you can contact me via [phone] or [email]. Best, thereemix." but that seems to be a simultaneously wishy-washy and presumptuous way to end the communication, not to mention a bit abrupt.

Also, do I attach my resume to this email, or wait to see if she responds asking for it? Again, worrying about coming off as presumptuous.

I'm also not sure about whether what I already have drafted is good enough.

I know I'm probably overthinking this, but the uncertainty of being unemployed is completely undermining my confidence. I am plagued with self-doubt. I don't want to reek of desperation and/or inadvertently be off-putting. I am very much at a loss and the longer I put off sending the email...the longer the email doesn't get sent. And that's not so good.

I'm kind of embarrassed by how hard this is proving to be for me. I guess being unemployed is causing my brain to atrophy. Can anyone help me out please?
posted by thereemix to Work & Money (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"I would love to discuss any potential opportunities you might have - please let me know the best way to reach you, or you can contact me via [phone] or [email]. Best, thereemix.

This is exactly how I ended all my cover letters, except with the word "appreciate" instead of "love" for reasons that I can't recall at the moment. I think a supervisor once told me never to use the word "love" in business correspondences. Also, I'd replace the "you might have" with "with your company," as it opens things up a little more for you. Oh, and throw an "I am looking forward to hearing from you" in there. It will make you sound confident.

Yes, attach your resume. Presumptuous is a lot better than being someone who has to have relevant information squeezed out of them via ten different emails. Make this as easy as possible on them.

You might want to expand the cover letter a bit and get more detailed than your skill list and their requirements, as all that information should be on the resume. The cover letter is where you make yourself seem awesome in ways that you can't quantify with bullet points under a job title.
posted by griphus at 8:47 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

What you have already is pretty much almost perfect. Short and to the point. Yes, attach your resume and mention it. I'd finish with:
I would love to discuss potential opportunities at [company]. Please do not hesitate to contact me at [phone] or [email] if you would like to talk more.
Don't sweat it—this stuff is stressful!
posted by grouse at 8:48 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Keep it really short and simple:

"Dear Joe,

My name is thereemix and I am a Boston-based cattle-wrangler. Jane Smith from Cows Unlimited mentioned that Flying Steers, Inc. is looking to fill a wrangler vacancy, and suggested that I contact you.

I would love to chat about this -- would you have time for an informal chat via phone sometime on Monday between 2pm and 4pm EST?

posted by ellF at 8:49 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

You've got it. Attach your resume and wait for the phone to ring.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:52 AM on December 27, 2012

Agree with all the advice so far with the exception of suggesting a specific time to talk. I find that obnoxious when I'm on the receiving end - sales people do it a lot. I'd suggest something more general like, "I'm available to meet by phone or in person [insert wide swaths of time here - e.g., any afternoon the week of the 7th, Tuesday or Friday mornings, etc.]."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:57 AM on December 27, 2012

Oh, and a general piece of advice:

I don't want to reek of desperation and/or inadvertently be off-putting.

"I REALLY FUCKING WANT THIS JOB" is, almost always, a lot better of an approach to these things than "i guess i can do this sure whatever." If you're not good at talking yourself up naturally, read over your cover letters in the future, and just turn up the volume on a phrase here or a phrase there. Don't be good at something, be proficient, and so on.
posted by griphus at 9:06 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would close a little more directly. Something like "Are you available to meet next Thursday or Friday? If not, please suggest a day and time that is convenient for you."

Suggest a couple of specific days, even if you are unemployed and available anytime they want. Look busy and important - even if you aren't ;)

Also, it might not be a bad idea to mention the contact's name in the subject line, something like "Referral from Jane Smith." That will make sure he reads your email and doesn't skip it because he is busy and doesn't recognize your name.

If you don't hear back in a week call him.
posted by COD at 9:13 AM on December 27, 2012

Nthing that you should drop "love" in favor of "greatly appreciate" or "look forward very much to" or similar professional phrasing, that eagerness and enthusiasm are a good thing in a job hunter, that you should attach your resume and anything else helpful to an employer in your area (writing sample? list of references?) and that you should provide all your contact information and wide proposed ranges of time to respond.

And one more thing -- copy Jane on this email. That gives her the chance to reinforce her interest in you to the contact.
posted by bearwife at 9:17 AM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Agree with all the advice so far with the exception of suggesting a specific time to talk. I find that obnoxious when I'm on the receiving end - sales people do it a lot.

Sales people do this because it creates a deadline, or a reason to suggest a real alternative time. In this circumstance, the thing being sold is thereemix, so sales techniques like this seem reasonable.

I personally find it annoying when someone wants to talk/meet, but leaves the scheduling entirely vague; it's easier to simply ignore the request, rather than opening my calendar and scheduling something. I think there is value in offering a handful of timeslots, but really do offer something concrete.
posted by ellF at 9:19 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Personally I would also find it obnoxious for someone cold emailing me to tell me that I should talk to them at some particular time before I've even decided whether I'm interested or not. Unless it is a sales position, if you use classic and obvious salesman techniques on me it is not going to be in your favor.

Suggesting general times you are available is good, implying that you are owed a meeting and the recipient should agree to your time or select a different one is not.
posted by grouse at 9:27 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Remember, your objective here is to get the person to call you or to meet with you. It's not to hire you, not yet.

He/she will call if they believe that you could help them. So be sure to do as much research on the company as you can, so that, when they do call, you can pitch your skills right at what they need.
posted by jasper411 at 9:54 AM on December 27, 2012

//Unless it is a sales position, if you use classic and obvious salesman techniques on me it is not going to be in your favor.//

The OP is selling, he is selling himself (or herself). Suggesting times that you are available is a hell of a lot more professional than offering nothing, forcing the recipient to guess at when you might be available for further conversation, leading to 7 back and forth emails before a suitable day and time is agreed upon. Businesses want assertive, confident people, and it doesn't matter whether the job is sales, secretarial, or human genome research. One way to demonstrate that in a short one paragraph email is to be confident that you are indeed a good fit for the job and because of that of course they will want to talk to you further.

I agree that if the email writer is clearly and unequivocally not qualified for the job in question then the confidence came come off as false and off putting. However, that doesn't seem to be the case here.
posted by COD at 9:56 AM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

You guys are so awesome - thanks so much for the helpful suggestions and the encouragement!

Email sent, resume attached, fingers crossed.

Thanks again folks! :)
posted by thereemix at 10:45 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ohhh man, and I even have an update right away. The person emailed me backing thanking me for contacting them and saying they actually aren't hiring right now but will be looking to fill a position middle of next year, and will keep my info on hand for then.

So...not a complete bust by any stretch of the imagination. But I guess the timing just ain't right. Sigh. Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Back to the grind...
posted by thereemix at 11:15 AM on December 27, 2012

Informational interview! Informational interview! Ask them if it would be possible to sit down with them for a few minutes to discuss their company and the industry in general. The best job I've ever had (my current one) came almost directly from an informational interview.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:24 AM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

And put a note on your calendar 4-6 months from now to send another email to see if anything has opened up. Maybe. This was my first thought when I read your update, but as I am typing this, I am thinking in my head "I could NEVER do this! Too presumptuous!!" So I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I'm throwing it out there.
posted by CathyG at 8:30 AM on December 28, 2012

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