It’s so easy for them these days, but they still take the lazy way out.
When I was getting ready to graduate college with a BBA in the early 1980s, my school provided some advice about how to look for a job and prepare for an interview. There were basically two different paths:
- For a posted job opening, research the company to see whether it would be a good “fit.” The write a cover letter to send in with your resume that explained how you not only qualified for the position but could bring additional benefits to the company.
- For a company you wanted to work for that didn’t have any posted job openings, research the company to learn more about it. Then write a cover letter to send in with your resume explaining what job or department or division interested you and how you could benefit the company.
There’s an underlying theme here: research the company. Learn about it. Understand what it did and how you might fit in. Even if the job you were looking for wasn’t available, the person on the receiving end of your cover letter and resume might realize that you’d done your homework and that might make enough of an impression to forward your resume to someone who was hiring people like you.
In those days, researching a company meant going to the library, tracking down annual reports, and combing through the periodicals Index to find articles about the company. It meant microfilm and microfiche. It mean spending an hour or two or even more to gather enough information to become informed about the company and sound that way if a phone call came. If you got an interview, it was back to the library to learn even more.
These days, we’re lucky — oh, so very lucky — to have the Internet. Researching a company is as easy as visiting its Web site or Googling its company name. All the information you could possibly want — and more! — is there, at your fingertips, in the comfort of your dorm room, living room, or a coffee shop.
Yet people still continue to take the lazy way out, sending generic e-mail messages to anyone they find online that might possibly have a job for them. In many cases, they don’t even bother to research the company and possibly job openings while they’re on that company’s Web site. Instead, they zero in on the Contact Us page or link and paste in their job request.
Here’s the most recent gem to cross my e-mail inbox:
I am seeking an internship position in the helicopter industry and was wondering if your company has any positions available in Phoenix. I am approaching my senior year in my Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Administration and training for my Instrument and Commercial Rotorcraft Rating. I am very interested in doing an internship with your company so any information would be greatly appreciated.
I should note here that this e-mail message was sent using a form on Flying M Air’s Web site, which is reproduced here as an image (reduced to fit). At the very top of the form is the parenthetical statement, “Note to Pilots: We are not hiring.” I added this when I got tired of getting e-mail messages very similar to the one quoted above. I figured I’d just tell them up front that no jobs were available so they wouldn’t waste their time — or mine. Evidently, reading the page the form was on was too much for this soon-to-be-college graduate.
I composed a response:
You’re “very interested in doing an internship” with my company? Really? What do you know about my company?
I’m sure you sent this same message out to every helicopter operator in the Phoenix area who you could contact. Copy and paste makes it pretty easy these days. Are you just as interested in working for all of them?
And tell me: when you used the contact form on our Web site, didn’t you see where it said “Note to Pilots: We are not hiring?” Did you think that somehow did not apply to you? Or did you skip over all the information about my company and that note right above the form so you could quickly fire out yet another generic request for work?
Did you ever think that maybe you should put a little more effort into your job hunt? That some people in the industry aren’t interested in hiring lazy people who can’t be bothered to learn about a company or read available information about job openings — or lack thereof?
Still interested in doing an internship for my company?
We’re not hiring.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can be a real bitch. But I didn’t send this. Instead, my husband and I agreed on a better response:
Information about job availability can be found on our Web site.
This is actually a more evil response. It will require him to do some work:
- Figure out what our Web site is. I didn’t include a signature line with the URL and my e-mail domain name does not match that of my company.
- Search the site to find the one place — which is right above the form he used to contact me — where it says we’re not hiring.
And why shouldn’t he put a little effort into a job hunt? Won’t he be required to work if he gets a job?