Picking Your Spots For Job Research

‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I'm writing a cover letter for a position that said, "Send resume to Office Manager, P.O. Box..." How should I address the letter? I know you're not supposed to use "To Whom It May Concern," but what alternative is there? — Pat Dale: Given that the company offered no names, I doubt they're looking for a pen pal. Thus, responding with a generic "To Whom ..." or "Office Manager" isn't going to be a problem. J.T.: However, it could be an opportunity lost. With a bit of research, you might be able to get yourself out of the tall stack of mail addressed to Office Manager and into the mail addressed to someone doing the hiring. If the ad/posting included a company name, you can do a Google search on the company and include the words "office manager" to see if you can locate the person's name. If so, it's likely he or she has a LinkedIn or some other social media profile where you could confirm his or her position/title. Further, once you're doing your research, you may be able to find a contact who knows someone who can get you an introduction. Dale: Although with each posting, I think it's fair to ask yourself if it's worth a full-out investigative/networking effort. At the mediation company I help run, we recently ran an ad for an opening, listing very specific job requirements, and we still got a hundred inquiries. Most of them did not match what we needed. Some of these people had spent hours researching the company online, finding our phone number and making inquiries. That effort would have helped their chances ... IF they'd met the basic requirements. Instead of being impressed by the effort they put in, it was merely sad, knowing that they had wasted hours applying for a job for which they had no chance. I'm a great believer in all-out effort for the right openings, but you have to pick your spots. J.T.: And the spots to pick are those where you are looking to stand out from the dozens or hundreds of equally well-qualified applicants. Each time you do the research and craft a custom cover letter, you get better at it — and faster. Which takes us nicely to the next question... jt-dale-logo Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

SHOW MORE Show less

There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

SHOW MORE Show less

Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you caught our last video in our latest series, "Well This Happened..." you heard about the problem one of our viewers is having with their co-worker. To recap, they have a colleague that overshares a little too much, and they weren't sure how to go about addressing this. We had some great responses from our viewers on how they think our friend should handle this. Check out the answer below and let us know if you guessed right or not!

SHOW MORE Show less

Negotiating salary can be a scary, intimidating experience. However, if you go in prepared, it doesn't have to be that way - you can confidently negotiate for a salary you deserve. But how?

SHOW MORE Show less