The prior post (below or click here) generated some very perceptive comments from around the net – as a thanks to everyone who contributed, here are some excerpts regarding my colleague’s cover letter:

Strongly supportive

  • What I see here is a man who is clear on what he wants and is taking leadership in his own life. He’s being straightforward and honest and saying “Here’s how I think there could be a match, here’s what I want, what do you think?”
  • As a candidate you are sure you would need to telecommute but are a suitable candidate for the job. In that case it is good to be upfront, so that unnecessary effort is saved.

Missed opportunity

  • I think your colleague missed an opportunity to meet the prospective employer and create a demand for his unique skills. If the employer felt a good business fit perhaps they may have been willing to meet some of this requests.
  • I really admire your colleague’s commitment to his family….the promise must have been important to him to include it in his cover letter. It’s been my experience though, that if he had established the ‘relationship’ with this potential employer and made him fall in love with his capabilities and talents, the outcomes would have been different.Given the current economy, I would think that companies might want to explore telecommuting options more than ever: The potential is there to get better-quality candidates, because the talent pool is larger…Anyway, back to your Q: What would I do? I think less is more: A comment on your blog noted that the purpose of a cover letter is to get the interview, not the job. That’s something we all tend to forget when writing that first-impression cover letter.Several employees at my company telecommute, and we work with several partners around the world. With high speed Internet, email, instant messaging, and web conferencing it has never been a problem. …As for revealing a reluctance to relocate in the initial contact, I would have left it out at first. Perhaps after an in-person interview the hiring executive would have been more likely to allow telecommuting if he felt the job seeker was a good fit for the position.
  • Go for the interview, come across as the best candidate for the interview and then negotiate the terms of employment. You as a candidate have established the credentials, post which it just a question of finding the right balance.
  • I would have got the interview first and understood the nature of the job better. Then worked out a win-win way to telecommute, if the company was really interested in hiring me.
  • I believe the most critical purpose of the cover letter is to get you to the first interview. Your former colleague could have done a better job in marketing himself in his cover letter, which focuses more on what he can get out of this job and not so much on what the company can get from him, which is the primary reason an employer will hire you for.
  • Looks like a missed opportunity. Too bad, as the job was related to his passions. As a hiring manager, I more than likely would have provided the same response as your collegue received, unless of course, the position was already slated to be a telecommute position. As a candidate, your collegue put his negotiations prior to the interview and offer. It is quite possible, that had he interviewed and been made an offer (you indicated that his resume was strong) he may have easily been able to negotiate the two days a week from his virtual office.
  • Better to negotiate flexible work arrangement once the offer has been extended. Even better to wait until after you’ve started proving yourself at the firm!

Not such a good idea

  • Sounds like he’s not used to being out in the job market anymore & doesn’t realize that he needs to tell the employer specifically what he can do for THEM. All the research he did was wasted because he didn’t use it to determine how he could help this potential employer in a way that his competition could not.
  • One of the key lessons to pass on was that there is a time and place to broach topics during a job search. I’ve found that in this time of uncertainty, companies are interested in telecommuting *less* than ever before. They want to hire employees to sit there for 9-12 hours, cheerfully, without complaint, because they should be happy to have a job.
  • Beggars can’t be chosers, and during this challenging economy, one must prioritize, be humbly gracious, and flexible while adapting to this environment.
  • Amazing! What a way to squander an opportuntity, especially in this market. I have someone else review my cover letters before I send them just to make sure I don’t commit a small mistake. As I learned early on, the cover letter should have all positives; accentuating the attributes that best fit the position available.
  • I understand that people have family obligations, however, if a move is needed a move is needed.
  • …one of the keys is in your first sentence “recently laid-off”. Your friend hasn’t tasted the reality of what the competition is like for those of us who have been out there fighting for jobs month after month.
  • I expect that your friend was making an effort to be up front about his situation and personal commitments so that is at least commendable. Of course, that is a personal family matter and adding that paragraph in an intro letter is a bit presumptive.
  • Maybe I would have scoped it before making the referral. It doesn’t do your personal brand much good to be wasting the time of both of your contacts.
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