July 10, 2009

Want to Advance Your Career? Clean Up Your E-mail Etiquette.

"These days, using e-mail effectively isn't just a nice thing to do -- it's a critical part of managing your career. Why? First, because e-mail is a dominant form of communication and we often use it to talk to people we don't know well, or even people we've never met in person. This means people may form opinions of you based mostly or entirely on your e-mail style. Second, e-mail forms a permanent record of communication, so if you've used it poorly, it could come back to haunt you. Finally, e-mail lacks those helpful interpersonal cues that come across in phone or in-person contact, making it easier for miscommunications to occur. This can compromise people's impressions of you or even jeopardize a job interview.

So, what are the biggest e-mail faux pas? To answer this question, I conducted an informal survey here at ISEEK, asking my coworkers to tell me about their e-mail pet peeves. Here's what they said.

* Avoid sending long, wordy e-mails. Do you skim your e-mails looking for the bottom line? So does everyone else! If what you have to say is complicated or can't be conveyed in a few lines of text, you're probably better off talking in person or over the phone."

For the entire post, click here.

April 8, 2008

Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded

Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd Edition, by Kimm Walton, 2008.

* The long-awaited second edition of this bestseller has finally arrived! This essential and very readable handbook is now significantly expanded to over 1,300 pages. Kimm Walton's informal and infectious style, wit, and humor remain, however. She covers every aspect of the job search, from exploring practice areas to conquering the large firm without stellar grades.

Note that we have copies of this comprehensive text in the CPDC.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Secret to Being Happily Employed for the Rest of your life
Chapter 2: Figuring Out What the Heck the Job of Your Dream Is
Chapter 3: Getting the Most Out of Your Career Services Office
Chapter 4: The Most Important Element of Your Image

Continue reading "Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded" »

November 13, 2006

Your website and blog are the equivalent of your locker at work

Don't be surprised when an employer asks you about the blog or website which you have helpfully listed on your resume.

Delete questionable or suggestive material. You may be applying to employers who routinely counsel their clients have their employees take down risque material from the locker room walls. Your blog or website are the equivalent of your locker room wall. You have invited scrutiny, and you will never know when it costs you an interview or an offer.

November 6, 2006

Online Applications Need a Personal Touch Be Choosy About Your Targets, And Tailor That Résumé

FROM A NALP email...

By Susan Kreimer
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 5, 2006; K01

No more licking and sticking envelopes, no more lingering in long post office lines. Applying for a job has become as simple as making a few quick clicks online.

But is this really a plus for job seekers? That depends on whether you send out a mass e-mail or tailor your tactics, career advisers say.

"In the D.C. area, recruiters tend to want to make an apples-to-apples match between the job announcements they have and the résumés they're screening," said Shira Harrington, senior recruiting consultant at Positions Inc. in the District, which places administrative support staff members and mid- to senior-level management.

"You can think, 'I'll throw spaghetti against the wall and hope that it sticks,' " she added. "Remember that everyone is trying to do the same thing, so your résumé can more easily get lost in the shuffle. If everybody does their part to target their résumé, then recruiters will have more time to get back to individual people."

Some job hunters dislike the impersonality of the process. "I am much less inclined to fully pursue a job that I have to apply online for than one where the majority of interaction is done in person," said Nemuri Melchizedek, 23, an engineer who lives and works in Alexandria.

But how do you make the best of online applications?

Continue reading "Online Applications Need a Personal Touch Be Choosy About Your Targets, And Tailor That Résumé" »

October 5, 2006

Think Before You Hit the Send Button

You know it's happened to you: you quickly fire off an e-mail response to someone and forget to spell check it. Or you include a sarcastic or flip remark in your message. Or you use shorthand terms and abbreviations expecting the recipient to know exactly what you mean. In each circumstance, you have no idea how the reader will interpret what you have written. The beauty of e-mail is that it's easy, quick and cheap. The downside is that the usual 20 seconds of reflection that would normally be taken in composing a letter or making a phone call doesn't happen. Unfortunately, once the message has left your outbox, you have completely lost control of it and its contents.

What's the answer? Think before you hit the send button. You should expect that every e-mail you send has the capacity to end up in places you would never expect to be read by people who were not the intended audience. Don't send in haste and repent in leisure. Take time to make sure that your e-mails, whether to friends, law school colleagues, professional contacts or prospective employers, are as professional as possible. Because you may never have a chance to explain yourself, you want to ensure that whatever you do is the best representation of you and your thoughts.

Moreover, some employers complain about poor e-mail etiquette from new lawyers. Older lawyers may not be used to e-mail as a standard method of communication. They may resent messages that seem too informal or poorly thought out. Furthermore, you want to be known as someone who can be trusted with important client matters and responsibility. If you wouldn't click chewing gum in a business meeting, why commit the same mistake by sending an e-mail that is the electronic equivalent?

October 3, 2006

E-mail etiquette #767...

When emailing to introduce yourself to a stranger whose career you covet, consider how busy he is and write your email accordingly:

1. Be brief. You are writing to a busy person. Attach a resume, don't recap it in the email.

2. Get to your point quickly -- and ask for what you want. If you want advice, ask for a 20-minute meeting or phone call near the top of the email. Although parents and best friends may read 14 paragraphs from you, strangers may stop at the second sentence.

3. Do not waste valuable email real estate with any of the following:

(a) something she already knows ("You are a distinguished graduate of the U of Minnesota.");

(b) something that a law student is unlikely to know with certainty ("You are one of the foremost practitioners of your generation."); or

(c) something so self-serving that it slithers off the page ("Undoubtedly, you are among the top in your profession in these areas and your input would be enormously helpful to me as I start down my own path as an attorney.")

4. Never send an email with an empty subject line. Many readers delete emails with no subject. Make every word count, making them informative and specific.

5. Create a useful signature block with your name, address and phone number. Listing your phone number invites a phone call. This is a good thing -- don't deprive yourself of this opportunity to make a connection.

An excellent chapter on this subject is in A new and expanded Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better Plain English, Patricia T. O'Conner, Riverhead Books, 2003, $14.00.

August 5, 2006

Where is your informative signature block?

Drop everything you are doing this very minute and make sure that you have an informative signature block in all of the email that you use for job search communication. What do you need?

1. Your full first and last name.
2. Your law school.
3. Your phone number.

What triggered this? A student emailed a very reasonable and helpful question that I forwarded to the employer with my request for the employer to check up on the application. The student didn't sign the email, and without a signature -- much less a complete signature block -- the employer's correct reply to me was "What is the student's name?"

Thank you!!