Happy Thanksgiving to all! Since we have an abbreviated week going on I’m going to keep things short – I’ve got five days of work to cram into three. This week I’m going to get up on my soapbox a little bit and talk about an important issue that too many people mess up. Forward or Chain Emails.
You’ve all been there. Some close friend of yours passes along an email that pulls at your heart strings or really gets you fired up. The subject lines look something like this:
Obama is Trying to Pass a Law to Outlaw Dog Food – (For once can we just think about the puppies?)
Cancer Stricken Orphan Wants Christmas Cards
Pedophiles are Trying to Access Your Facebook through McDonald’s Wifi
While all of these are obviously made up subject lines (God I hope so – those poor puppies) they are fairly representative of the things total strangers send me. And if these total strangers in job searches are willing to send me these forwards then I must assume that they also send it to hiring managers as well that they have had contact with in the past.
Here’s the deal. When you are in a job search these types of emails will not help you in any way shape or form. I can tell you with full certainty that I have never had someone hired because of a witty poem someone forwarded on about how some republocrat (nice word – it’s a portmanteau of republican and democrat – I’m very PC) is scheming to ruin Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa. However, I do know of people that have lost interviews because of forwarding something on like this. Full disclosure here, I make money by helping people find jobs and as a capitalist I’m willing to overlook these indiscretions if it puts food on my table. However, potential employers will not if the emails offend or annoy them.
Now – before you feel that I’m condemning you for sending these out please know that I understand how it happens. Whenever you send an email to someone on any of the free email services it gives you the option to add that person to your address book. Sounds like a great idea – after all that thank you note you sent after your interview was to your future boss right? The problem is that you do this and then you forget. Then when that forward comes in that just gets you going and you NEED everybody you have every known to call their congressman to make sure they don’t ban dog food it goes to the future employer along with all of your friends.
So what’s the harm? Actually there is a lot of harm that can be done. In fact this is something that can kill your job search if it goes to the wrong person. Here’s why:
- It Offends the Recipient
As I said before I get paid to read your emails and will always side with my bottom line which makes me willing to overlook being offended. The same doesn’t go for a potential employer. Just think of the case about those poor puppies that will have nothing to eat. What if the employer is a cat person? What if they got bitten by a dog on the way to work? What if their spouse is a mailman? All of these things could give them a reason not to hire you. All joking aside you need to remember that if the forward sent to you got you so upset that you NEEDED to send it out then there is a pretty good likelihood that there are people on the other side that are equally as passionate about it. This is what creates controversy. Again – no employer will hire you because they agree with something that you didn’t write but felt compelled to send to them. They will choose not to though if you offend them.
- It Annoys Them
Most people come to work to work – that is why it is called work. If they came to work to read dumb emails it would be called leisure time and they wouldn’t bet getting paid for it. So even if your email doesn’t offend them you could annoy them – this isn’t much better. Again these things have the ability to create a negative perception about you.
- It Makes You Look Unprofessional
So – you’ve gone through the interview with a nice suit on. You’ve (hopefully) sent a handwritten note that sets you apart and you’ve followed up with an email. You showered before the interview and even shined your shoes. The potential employer has one opinion of you – you are one professional bada$$. Why would you put a chink in that armor?
- It Makes You Look Stupid
The reason that most of these controversial emails get you going is because it suggests some outlandish claim and typically leaves out relevant and important pieces of information. Going with the dog food theme these types of emails typically leave out that the real legislation being passed is that it is trying to outlaw dog food made from radioactive horse hooves – that certainly changes things. I’m no sociologist but I imagine that the people the sit around and write these forwards are people that either have an agenda and aren’t afraid to twist the facts or are people that just like to stir up trouble. That said, if you buy it hook, line and sinker then you are the one that looks dumb.
A good way to combat this is to google the email after you read it and add the word Snopes after it. Snopes is a pretty objective website that compiles these emails and other internet rumors and affirms or debunks them. In most cases these emails are completely untrue or at least misleading. Do you want to be attached to something like that?
So… there is my diatribe against forward emails. Please heed my words. They can really hurt your job search. There is no way around it. I call it the silent killer because an employer won’t come out and tell you that they decided to go in a different direction because you sent it. Instead, they will tell you they found another person. Go out and eat lots of turkey this week and have a great holiday!!!!
As always you can reach me at email@example.com.
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