I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should write this email. Being one of the ‘landed’ makes me a bit of an outsider here but I think that this needs to be said. My goal is to help Happenites looking for work communicate better with the ‘Landed’ so that everyone returns to the rat race sooner. I’ve heard a few stories of other ‘landed’ Happenites who have stopped trying to help and have blocked communications with Happen members still looking for work. Unfortunately, I can relate to this position. This is not a rant. Some of my points may sound like rants but please take it as constructive feedback to keep the lines of communication open for all Happen members. I suspect that my story is typical for other ‘Landed’ Happenites and here it is.

I landed a 12 month contract in August and started work in September. Since then I have received several emails for information or help from Happenville. Many of the communications have been professional and concise and I’ve had feedback that I have been helpful. Too many of them have been difficult and I have no idea what you what or why you have contacted me. I suspect that many of the other ‘Landed’ are receiving these communications as well and are having just as much of a challenge with them as I am. I’m known in Happen for being blunt, direct and forthright. That hasn’t changed. A few people have told me that they miss my commentaries. So here goes...

· Be professional and brief. We’ve probably never met. I don’t know you yet. I’m unlikely to recommend you to someone else in a professional capacity if your communications with me are not professional.

· Be specific. Why have you contacted me? What do you want? Ask specific questions. If you make me guess, I won’t be able to respond to your email effectively.

· Throw away your thesaurus and USP. One email had 35 adjectives in their USP and I still had no idea what they were looking for or what they wanted from me. My personal rule is to delete any business email with more than 5 adjectives. This is not a new rule. It is an email best practice that I was taught years ago. The rule was: “Treat unsolicited business email with lots of adjectives as SPAM. If the author does not have the time to communicate clearly, you don’t have time to read it.” If you are wondering why very few people are responding to your emails, delete the adjectives and figure out exactly what you want to say. The response rate will increase significantly.

· Do not send me your resume. I am not going to send it anywhere. Do not get angry when you follow up with me a few days later and I have not broadcast your resume for you. It is not in your best interest. If you want to know why, you should attend the Pivotal information session.

· Do not send me your resume INSTEAD OF applying for a job yourself. Big companies have rules, policies and procedures. Ignore these processes at your own risk. Asking me to walk your resume over to person X when you have not applied for the job through normal channels yet will not help you. Asking me, a stranger to person X, to walk your resume over to him/her is unlikely to help you either.

· Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. It will help me know you better and send you a more relevant response. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, create it before contacting me.

· From Lynn Marie Caissie in regards to invitations to LinkingIn. Don't flip me the standard LI invitation. Please remind me where we met (virtually or physically), and tell me why you think a connection would be fruitful. I still participate in a number of forums, I still attend professional association meetings, I'm still meeting a lot of people. Without a reminder, I may not place you. And when I take the time to ask you for these details instead of obliterating your invitation, don't be hurt, slighted or angry. I remember vividly what it's like to network. I'm willing to connect; Just remind me who you are.

· Respect my time and schedule. Sending me 3 emails, each one progressively angrier, when I haven’t responded to your first email immediately on a work day will result in me deleting all 3 emails when I finally get the chance to check my personal email. I don’t have the opportunity to check my personal email several times a day anymore. Your anger doesn’t encourage me to communicate with you or help you at the end of a long day.

· Sometimes the answer is “I’m sorry but I cannot help you.” Please accept this graciously. I will remember you positively when I can help you. Verbal attacks and a flood of emails will not help your cause. For example, if I let you know that there is a hiring freeze, it is the truth. I have nothing to gain in making this up. I can’t change this fact either. I realize that you are disappointed but don’t take it out on me. The best response I received to this was, “Thanks for the heads up. I’ll refocus my energies on companies who are hiring”. Now this is someone that I will remember favourably and I will let him know when the situation changes. I’m willing to bet that he lands somewhere else before the freeze is lifted too.

· Don’t expect me to do anything that will jeopardize my job or professional reputation. I’m willing to bet that you are surprised, and probably offended, that I included this one. Well, it shocked me when I was asked to do something unethical and my response was a very clear and concise “NO”. The other person was angry when I said “No”. I remember the stresses of unemployment, but don’t even think about throwing the person you are asking for help under the bus while you try and land your next job. Think about what you are asking of the other person from their perspective before you ask it.

Again, please take this as constructive feedback to help you communicate with the ‘Landed’ and everyone else in your network effectively. All of these points are based on real emails that I have received from Happen members in the past 2 months. The “Landed” haven’t forgotten what unemployment feels like. We want to help. We just need clear, professional, communication from you for it to become a win-win for everyone.

I wish everyone success in your job search,
Cathy Bridges