Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You lost me at “Hello”

I’m sorry if I am being a tad harsh on future would-be PR interns, but your cover letters to me can only be described this way: GAH!!

Let me run down the biggest mistake when sending me a cover memo with your resume attached: Get my last name right! I know, I know, I have too many vowels and Ls in my last name. Sorry, blame my ex. He gave it to me, along with a Tylenol 3 headache that lasted about 8 years until we divorced. But I digress. Please, if you are sending me a letter then at least get the “Ms. Rusciolelli” right. I’m easy to please, really.

When you spell my last name wrong, two things instantly happen – I don’t read the rest of your cover letter and I quickly trash your accompanying CV. No saving it, no lovely response telling you how much I loved your letter, that I have no openings right now but will keep your CV on file ... nada, niente, zilch. Why? Because when you can’t spell my name that tells me you are sloppy, hurried and careless. Three attributes that don’t go over well in our business. Do you have any idea how many emails and letters we send to media, clients, analysts, politicians, dignitaries, CEOs and VIPs every day? Well, I don’t really know the answer either, but it must be a ton for sure. One misspelled cover letter could cost us big.

So, a little advice my dear young students: when sending those well crafted cover letters to me that you agonized over writing, get my name right and you’ll get a response. Maybe not the response you want, but you will hear from me. Promise.

Oh, and by the way, if I read “To whom it may concern” (why I still get those is beyond me?) your email address instantly goes into my spam filter and I place a much needed call to your parents.


Martin Waxman said...

Hi Julie, You are so right. I'd go so far as to say that when I see any typo in a note or resume from an applicant, I have this hard-to-control delete reflex that automatically kicks in.

ZoeyBella said...

If I could high-five you, I would! There is nothing worse than when someone spells my name wrong. For some reason they think Zoey should be spelled "Zoe".

After 33 years on this planet, I think I know my own name.

Well said!

Christine Smith said...

Telling it like it is, as always, Julie. Thanks.

And, students get pissed at me when they earn a "D" on a writing assignment with the client's name spelled incorrectly!

Your comments prove that employers have no time for applicants who overlook the most respectful behaviour in a cover letter: spelling the employer's name correctly.

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Want to know something really funny? after i wrote this post, I received a inquiry letter just addressed to : Dear Julie ... gotta love that guy .. he didn't even take a chance with my last name!

Maricel Dicion said...

Dear Julie,

I agree.
As students trying to make a good first impression we should take the time to look up the correct spelling of a person's name.

We should also make an effort to look up the person's last name so that we may address the letter correctly.

humberandhumble said...

Thank you, Julie. We students appreciate the sanctimony.

You may want to look after the errors on your website before your next rant.

Julie Rusciolelli said...

Ah, thank you my dear student, our web is a labor of love. yes, the odd error you may find, but name is spelled right! I promise not to be so pious next time! thanks for your comment ...

Rick said...

Hi Julie,
To err is human, but to mess up somebody's name in a letter is rude.
We all run on time constraints, and sometimes we can't do multiple full proofreads. Some errors in certain contexts should be forgivable, and others not.