I’m unemployed and, as you can probably imagine, I spend a fair amount of time on my job search. Looking for a job isn’t always as thrilling as people usually make it out to be. In today’s digital age, the pitfalls are greater than ever before.
Back before the dawn of online communications, people would check the newspaper want ads or go to agencies in person or do whatever else was popular back then. I wouldn’t know. But these days, one must often apply by email and this can be tricky. For example, a job advertisement might look something like this:
We are looking for a new employee with the standard set of qualifications. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Terry J. Squawchawk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since I’m addressing a specific person, I now have to devise an appropriate greeting for my email. In the old days, I imagine that people could just say “Dear Sir or Madam” on those occasions when they were required to submit a letter. Because advertisers paid newspapers by the word or letter, a contact person’s name was presumably not published unless it was absolutely necessary. Consequently, applicants could also choose to address their letters to the HR department.
Life was simpler back then.
These days I have to know whether Terry J. Squawchawk is a man or woman because “Dear Sir or Madam” would be offensive. And since one can’t always learn someone’s gender online, one must sometimes devise creative solutions. Here are a few alternative salutations I’ve considered:
Dear Bodacious One,
O Captain My Captain,
To the boss of my dreams,
Hail Terry, full of grace,
To whom it may concern,
Hey hey Terry J!
Hail to the Chief!
Oompa loompa doompety doo – I’ve got an application for you,
If you have any better ideas, please let me know. Appropriate email greetings are critical and I don’t want to mess things up.