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By all means, reach out for a shot at dream job

Dear J.T. & Dale: I saw my dream job posted on a job board. It listed the hiring manager’s name. I found her on Facebook and saw that we’re both part of a private group for people who work out at a local gym. Do you think it’s weird if I reach out to her and introduce myself? Will she think I’m overstepping my bounds? – Justin

DALE: Whenever someone is worried about stepping out of line to make a connection to a prized job, I think, “Every great job is a long shot.” Because of that, you’re not risking much by trying something novel, and so, press ahead. My only hesitation here is the male/female aspect, and let’s turn to J.T. to tell us if there’s anything stalker-ish here.

J.T.: Not at all. It’s actually a brilliant idea. Just send her a message on FB that says: “Hi __, we haven’t officially met but I see your posts inside the private FB group we’re both a part of and love what you share. I knew your name seemed familiar when I was applying to the ___ job at ___ company. So, when the lightbulb went off in my head and I realized it was you, I decided to take a chance and reach out to introduce myself. I’ve sent in a cover letter and resume sharing my passion for the organization and why I think it’s my dream job. I’d be grateful for the chance to interview, but understand totally if you feel I’m not a fit. At the very least, maybe we can connect some time so I can learn what you look for in an employee.” Some version of this shows you are professional and will accept a “no” if she feels you aren’t a fit, while getting your application extra attention.

DALE: That improves your odds. Just don’t forget that you’re still a long shot. Keep making connections and make sure you’re the most prepared candidate they meet. Wanting the job will help, but knowing how to help will make them want you.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I work for a small company. The owner is nice but a cheapskate. We have clients coming to our office. It’s falling apart. He is in denial about how bad the place looks. We’ve all told him it’s impacting business. He says people work with him for his reputation of making them money and having a cheaper-looking place proves he’s not taking advantage of them. That said, a bunch of us are thinking about leaving. The office is so depressing we are losing excitement for work. What can we do, short of quitting, to convince him it’s time to upgrade? – Courtney

J.T.: I would encourage him to do a customer survey. In it, ask them what they think of your office on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of its appearance. If customers give it a low score, he’ll care, especially if you leave a comment section and someone mentions it. Also, I’d pull some data on how environment impacts employee productivity. There are plenty of studies out there that show office surroundings impact mood and motivation. So, if you could give him the business case that a nicer office could give him a better ROI on employee performance, he might listen. He sounds like the type who needs data.

DALE: As someone who came up through corporate market research and founded a market research firm, I love the idea of a customer survey. You’ll want to make it about much more than the condition of the offices, of course. In fact, I wouldn’t even mention to your boss that it’s one of your motivations; otherwise, he will kill the idea. It has to be all about the customer. And then be prepared to be surprised. Your boss might be right. However, once you’ve gotten his buy-in on the customer survey, it will be a small step to an employee survey, and that gives you another shot at the data you want.

Write to Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell and Dale Dauten at jtanddale.com or in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Fl, New York, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2019 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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