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Show interest in co-worker’s food irrelevancies

Dear J.T. & Dale: My daughter just graduated from college. She has applied to hundreds of jobs, and she’s not getting a single response. I recently found out that she hasn’t been writing cover letters. She told me that someone told her she doesn’t need them anymore. I disagree. What do you think? – Bianca

DALE: The sad fact is that if your daughter – or anyone else – is sitting back and shooting out hundreds of applications, it doesn’t matter if she sends a cover letter or not; that strategy is doomed.

J.T.: Yes, that’s what we call the “spray and pray method,” and it’s highly ineffective. Applying to hundreds of jobs is a waste of her time. Instead, she should focus on a core set of companies she’d like to work for and network into these organizations. We call this having an “interview bucket list,” and it’s a highly effective way to target a job search. In regard to your comment about cover letters: Yes, she should be using cover letters, but only when she is targeting the right employers. That’s because the cover letter should be telling the story of why she feels so connected to the company. If she’s using some cover letter template from the internet, she’s going to look like everyone else, and the cover letter won’t get read. On the other hand, if she uses an original cover letter where she tells the story about her personal connection to the company’s business model, that will help her stand out, especially if she can get it to the actual hiring manager through her networking techniques. Today, a job search is about working smarter not harder! It sounds like your daughter needs a better strategy overall AND a really good cover letter.

DALE: I agree that if you’re using a cover letter template from the internet, you are doing more harm than good. The harm is that you trigger a GOO effect – that’s Glaze Over & Out – where the screeners’ eyes glaze over and they move on to the next applicant. That said, let’s be clear – if your daughter’s application is in a large digital stack of applications, her odds are very long. She needs a personal introduction, someone to suggest her to a hiring manager, someone to be a human cover letter. Maybe you can help your daughter by setting up meetings with friends she can network through, or she can find fellow graduates who’ve gotten a career started or college alumni she can approach. She needs meetings, not applications.

 

Dear J.T. & Dale: My co-worker just became vegan. Every time we get on conference calls and everyone is making small talk, she switches it to educating us on aspects of being vegan. It’s getting really annoying and people are starting to have side talks about it. Should I tell her? I really think she needs to cut it out! – Armond

J.T.: The problem with you giving her this news is that she will always associate you with it, and she will likely resent you for it. You have two choices here: First, you could go to your boss, mention it and see if management might be willing to have a conversation with her about it. Second, you can shut it down in the moment by not responding to her comments and not engaging in the conversation, thus subtly letting her know that this really isn’t the place to discuss her personal issues. Over time, she will likely get the hint!

DALE: Yes, co-workers can be annoying, and you want to work on that problem. Here’s how: Work on not being annoyed. Here’s your chance to (a) rise above or (b) dig down. You can learn to let it pass beneath you while you, a corporate divinity, smile down indulgently at the small irrelevancies streaming past you. Or, go the other way and teach yourself to show an interest in your co-workers and ask yourself: What can I learn? Doing so, you build a reflex of curiosity that can make you a beloved colleague.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2020 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

 



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