This article is the first from the new category “Shit Your Dad Should Have Already Taught You - SYDSHATY”
*Or email, cold text/IM, or however you kids correspond with each other.
Running DVM and somewhat being known on the interwebs I get a ton of messages every month. Most are asking me for a job in contracting (for the one billionth time people I am not an employment agency). To general questions and advice to mad hate mail furiously typed from some dudes moms basement in New Jersey.
The thing that strikes me the most is how horribly formatted and written 99.9999% of all these messages are. They basically scream “I am lazy, give me, give me, me, me, me” and “I will not even bother to take the time to write you a proper letter”.
These letters read like shit and have zero formally as if they were texting someone from their fantasy football league. This is astounding to me considering they are almost always asking for something from me. It's not like I sent an email or message to them first, they are basically sending me a “cold call” message or email.
I don't even have to read these to know they belong directly in the trash can. Just one skim at a solid block of text signed with only the first name of the author means it gets no more of my time. Quite frankly it's is a bit of a “fuck your face” that someone is completely unwilling to take the extra nine minutes to properly write a letter when contacting me.
To me this is just another example of how our society has decayed into a narcissistic, skinny jean wearing cesspool of people who “deserve” something without having to work for it.
Regardless, let me jump off my soapbox and throw some advice to you gents on writing a *cold letter.
*”cold” meaning you are contacting someone without previously speaking to them.
RECIPIENTS NAME AND INFO:
There is probably no other single thing that is more rude than to call someone by their first name if you have never in your life spoken to them before. Never start off a cold letter with “Hi John” or you come off sounding like an arrogant prick.
Also, only use their proper first name. The second I see someone start out a letter to me with “Jim” instead of “James” I block them forever. I don't know you, so who the Fug are you to talk to me like we have been buddies for twenty years?
First write the full name, title (if you know it) and company of the person you are writing to each on a separate line. Don't forget to put a “Mr.” Or “Ms” in front of the name.
Mr. John Fuckerberry HMIC Acme Dildo USA
Mr. James Price Chief Dragon Slayer Death Valley Magazine
It makes me cringe when I read a letter and the person sending it never introduces themselves. Unless you are Arnold Schwarzenegger then no one knows who the fuck you are.
“Hello my name is James Price, I am the HMIC of DVM, a magazine for bad mother fuckers and tang slayers.”
“Hello my name is Joe Doodoocan, I am a former Army Ranger with two deployments in Iraq and a graduate of the Mall Ninja Inc school of bodyguards”
WHY THE FUG ARE YOU SENDING THE LETTER:
This is usually the first thing people write, that is the equivalent of having your hand out the second someone opens their door. Hence the reason for all of the above.
“The reason I am contacting you is my company is interested in co-branding a Dildo with Acme Dildo USA featuring the logo from my company DVM.”
“The reason I am contacting you is I am interested in becoming a security contractor and would like your advice”
Remember you are asking for something, so be polite. Compare the below to the above:
“I want you to make a dildo with the DVM logo on it”
“Help me get a security contractor job”
Do not tell people to help you, ask them to. This is shit you dad should have already taught you.
HOW DO THEY HELP YOU?:
Why are you bothering to ask for something if you never suggest a solution? Again that is rude and lazy, why should they have to figure everything out when you are the one asking for another bowl of gruel?
“We would like to start out with 100 co-branded dildos with a 50% deposit and the outstanding 50% paid on delivery. We will send a high resolution image of the DVM logo for you use on the dildos”
“Could you please suggest 10 company's that hire security contractors with my professional background? Additionally any advice that you consider 'must know' for someone wishing to break in to the industry would greatly be appreciated”
BEST REGARDS AND THANK YOU:
If you are contacting someone for something then guess what? Their time is more valuable than your time, or they would be the one contacting you. So thank them for taking their valuable mo-fuckin’ time reading your shit son.
“Thank you for your time regarding this matter, I am looking forward to your response.”
Never end a letter with:
Who the fuck is “Joe”? I sure as squat don't know, let me ask my dog who Joe is...
ARF-ARF, WOOF-WOOF, Grrrrrrrrrr...???
Nope, rover has no damn idea who Joe is. And why does Joe only have one name, is he Indonesian or something?
You must also leave your address and phone number, this not only shows you are a real person, it gives the person you are contacting another way to contact you if they do not want to write out a 9000 word response.
James Price Chief Dragon Slayer Death Valley Magazine 666 Deaths Door Rd. Hell, Hawaii 66666 1-800-EATDICK
Joe Doodoocan 2nd Ranger Battalion (03-05) 111 Moms Basement Pl. Sucks, New Jersey 12345 123-555-1212
You were undoubtedly told about these easy to read blocks of text by Ms. Smith, your Subaru Forester driving, flannel shirt wearing English teacher back in the day. So use them.
Every two sentences hit the 'return' key. No one wants to look at a two hundred word block of text, it hurts the eyes.
Just like no one wants to look at a two hundred word block of text, no one wants to read a mile long sentence. So unless you are William Faulkner the period is your friend.
Read your letter three times before sending it. You won't catch every typo or mistake but the fewer you have the better it will read.
I am hardly a master wordsmith – I bet this article has typos and misspelled shit in it. But if a high school drop out like myself can half-way manage to do the above than anyone can. It is more about the show of effort and Old School formality than writing everything perfectly - “A for effort” as the saying goes.
So take that extra nine minutes to write your next cold letter or email properly and I guarantee you even an asshole braggart like myself will respond 100% of the time 5% of the time. Well, honestly I probably** still won't respond to your “get me a contractor job” emails. But everyone else you send a message to will appreciate the effort.
*Note: The above is assuming you are communicating electronically and not on 105 lb embossed correspondence stock with proper letterhead.
**Note: 100% I won't respond to any “get me a contractor job” emails. I get 50 a week so until I learn how to clone myself I don't gots’ the time to answer hundreds of emails a month.
~James "ARCHER" Price Founder – Editor in Chief DVM
James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and not answering ' How do I get a contractor job" emails.