Studying Salutations

Every day, we hear from hopeful applicants who want to join Team Viget (we’re hiring!). It’s a pleasure to read the emails and review resumes. I love my job! But, every once and a while, I have to shake my head at some of the ways people start their emails. I’ll do a little compare and contrast for you … Here’s a list of the actual salutations used by the ten people we hired most recently:
  • Hi Brian
  • Hi Brian
  • Hi Emily
  • Hey Brian
  • Hello
  • Hi
  • Dear Viget Labs
  • Hi Tom
  • Hello
  • Hi Emily

Here’s a sampling of salutations used by people we did not hire:

  • Dear Sir
  • Respected Sirs
  • Dear Sir/Madam
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Hiring Manager

The jury is still out on the guy who last week used:

  • Hello Viget South hiring personnel

… but, I’m optimistic for him!

Interesting details:

1. Two of the “hired” messages addressed directly to Brian came through LinkedIn. The third came from someone who Viget has admired for more than five years. The two emails addressed to me were from people I’d met through current co-workers. I would not suggest applicants email jobs.va@viget.com and lead with “Hi Brian,” nor would I suggest you necessarily ping Brian directly on LinkedIn; my point is that we have prior connections to a lot of our successful applicants. We go to events, speak at conferences, write on blogs, even invite people to introduce themselves before formally applying — it’s not hard to get to know us. Once you’ve done that, your salutation can be appropriately casual (which helps).

2. There are indeed some respectable “Sirs” behind Viget, and they do actually receive every email that job applicants submit. Somehow, though, I think they gloss over all the ones that start with such a saluation. Meanwhile, it’s my job to respond and, well, I am not a “Sir” (nor would I call myself a “Madam”).

3. There’s nothing wrong with To Whom It May Concern (though for small, transparent companies like Viget it’s not hard to figure out who “whom” is, especially now that I’ve outed myself in this post). Nor is there anything wrong with having hotmail as your primary email account. Nor do I really hold it against an applicant when their resume is written with Times New Roman. But, upon reflection, I’m not surprised that we haven’t hired a “TWIMC” applicant – at least not recently.

As busy as Viget is right now, I know the job market still stinks and there are lots of people looking for work. I wish all the job seekers luck whether they’re applying to Viget or elsewhere and, when in doubt, I suggest you go with a polite, “Hello,” when submitting your resume.

Emily is Viget's people director, hailing from our Durham, NC, office. She specializes in heart-to-hearts and asking questions that don’t have concrete answers.

More posts by Emily