First Contacts: Small Change, Big Impact

January 15th, 2013 § 0 comments

Holla received an email this morning from a prospective candidate. A connection made through LinkedIn, the jobseeker took the time to construct a personalized email to the recipient, complete with salutation and a brief summary of their skills. While the effort was notable and even commendable in the click-and-apply job search environment we live in, the overall impression left the reader feeling as though their time had been wasted.

Let’s examine:

Subject: Hello

Hello Holla,

My name is Joe Jobseeker and I am currently looking into new job opportunities. I currently do fixed income product marketing for a large broker/dealer and have acquired my Series 7 and 66 financial licenses.

Thank you for your time,


The subject line of an email or LinkedIn message is the first, instant and impactful impression you project to the recipient. While a sentence is inappropriate, a mere “hello” is just plain lazy. Be succinct but eye catching. Job seeking is a matter of separating yourself from a crowd – imagine your inbox with 50 unread messages. 30 have a subject of “Hello” and the other 20 are specific to their content. Which would you read?

A personalized salutation and strong intro sentence are required and this note contains both and we’ll applaud him on taking away the appearance of a mass email.

Unfortunately, Joe’s summary of his skills and experience suffer from grammatical errors that make the reader question his overall ability to write effectively. While harsh, understand that these are the first two sentences that Joe chose to present to the reader and when judged against a high volume of qualified applicants, he’ll quickly be weeded out.

Most disappointing is that Joe’s email contains no thesis. He hasn’t told the hiring manager specifically what he’s looking for or what he’d be qualified to do. One additional sentence in a one paragraph note can be the difference between a response to an inquiry and another failed attempt.

Let’s rewrite this crucial “first touch” communication in a more effective manner:

Subject: Fixed Income Marketer with 7/63 Seeking Opportunities

Hello Holla,

My name is Joe Jobseeker and I’m contacting you in hopes you can assist with my search for a new opportunity. I’m currently responsible for producing all fixed income sales materials for the institutional client division of a large broker/dealer and hold my Series 7 and 63 licences. I’m seeking a move to a marketing role at a smaller firm where I would be exposed to a larger array of fixed income products.

You can view my resume here (link) and I would appreciate the chance to speak with you regarding any appropriate roles you might be engaged on.


A few more words, some small changes, a big impact. We applaud Joe for his efforts to hunt down and make an appropriate contact with someone who could potentially help him but without the right message, he may find the repeated delivery attempts fruitless.

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