Have you ever sent an email in anger or frustration? Who hasn’t, right? Well, here’s an example of an email communication gone bad and how it spread across the internet.
This is the saga of a young job seeker’s outreach to a senior exec. There’s a twist in the plot but both newbies and seasoned pros should pay attention.
When DM (name withheld to protect reputation), a young job seeker relocating to Cleveland, OH, sent an email and followed up with a note on LinkedIn explaining her qualifications to the head of a popular local job bank, she was shocked by the response she received. And by the way, this is also an example of email communication gone bad! Never reprimand or insult anyone through email.
This is the email the job seeker received from the leader of the local job bank:
What’s missing from this story is the exact wording in the job seeker’s initial message, but you can see her follow-up message to the head of the job bank here, to which she got no response. She decided to share the story across social media.
7 Lessons Learned From Email Communication Gone Bad
Job Seekers Deserve Better
Looking for a job is tough. It can be even tougher for people without a network, such as new college graduates. Be empathetic to their situation and perhaps the fact they may not know how to network (or would network as you would). Remember your roots! And treat job seekers as you would want to be treated.
Not Everyone Uses LinkedIn The Same Way
On one end of the spectrum of LinkedIn users are LIONS (LinkedIn Open Networkers) who will connect with almost anyone who invites them. On the other end of the spectrum are LinkedIn users who will only connect with people they have met face-to-face and know well. And in-between are many others with varying opinions on who and how to connect. Don’t assume everyone uses it the way you do.
Anything Can Go Viral
Whatever you communicate online can and will be shared elsewhere. Heck, anything you say or write can be recorded too. This can be good or it can be very, very bad, depending on what you say.
Your Reputation Is On the Line
Though the job bank head sent an apology, the damage had been done. Her reputation as a helpful volunteer job board founder and senior leader has been shattered. The job bank head’s reputation was destroyed and even more people came forward with similar complaints. So it doesn’t sound like this was her first offense.
Social Media Isn’t Evil
The highlight of this story is the support the new job seeker received from total strangers, proving that social media isn’t all bad!
How Will You Respond to the Next Plea For Help?
If someone you didn’t know asked you for help, would you blast them out of the water? If it were a face-to-face request, unlikely. There’s something about email and social media that distances us from our audience. Maybe we feel immune from the impact of the message we send or we just become complacent or lazy in managing our emotions.
Always Assume Positive Intent
Seasoned networkers could and should serve as mentors. There are always teachable moments. Tech-savvy Millenials have valuable skills to teach us too! Let’s be willing to learn from each other. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.