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No Contact Information? No Job.

This week I almost recommended a consultant. One of my clients had asked me to recommend someone who taught a particular subject, and I was ready to recommend Rita (not her real name).

But when I tried to track down Rita's contact information to give to my client, I couldn't find anything but a gmail address. An email Rita had sent me recently did not include her phone number, website URL, or any other contact information.

Rather than give my client Rita's name and gmail address with no other way to contact her or check her out, I recommended another consultant.

Sorry, Rita! I would be glad to recommend you. But I need some help to do it: your phone number, your website URL, and an email address that makes you seem professional. Since I didn't have any of those, I recommended someone else.

Here's the moral of the story: If you want work, share your contact information. Put it on everything. Include it on every message.

Syntax Training

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

4 comments on “No Contact Information? No Job.”

  • Hi – I am a freelance writer and enjoy your blog. I agree with you about providing full contact info at every turn, but curious why you don’t find a gmail address professional, or an email acceptable as the initial contact to provide?

  • Hi, Alison. Here is my thinking: a person who has a business as a training consultant should have a website and a proprietary email address. For example, my email address has my company name in it. Using a free email service is not the mark of a serious business person.

    I also wanted to include a link to a website because a website would provide information about the person’s business.

    Thanks for asking!

  • First of all, congratulations for your website on business writing. It is the best I have seen, I am a big fan indeed…

    However, allow me to provide you with a different perspective on Rita’s case.

    Among all email providers that I have worked with, Google’s GMail turned out to be the most complete and reliable webmail app I have ever seen. It has in fact become so popular and well-known among users worldwide that nowadays it is associated with good services and whoever uses it is seen as a “smart” person rather than an “unprofessional” worker.

    On top of that, webmail addresses have the advantage of being eternal in a sense that they are not linked to a startup company that eventually will cease to exist and leave you with the hassle to inform all your contacts that you should now be contacted via GMail, Hotmail, Yahhoo!Mail or such.

    I agree that one should try his/her best in providing whatever contact information possible but I believe webmail addresses are becoming more and more respected these days. You used a consultant as an example but could you imagine if all professionals should have a webpage or a personalized email whenever they decide to start looking for a job? My personal experience shows that if you have a good resumé and good communication skills people will not frown on you just because you provide a GMail email address. In fact, in certain cases it is the only choice one could have: it is by far more ethical than providing your current employer’s email address!

    Congratulations on your achievements, though, and keep up with the level of quality of the discussions.

    Kind regards,

    Rafael Martins

  • Rafael, I appreciate your wise comments. Thanks for your thorough, even-handed explanation.

    Thanks for your kind words too!


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