I have personally witnessed three salespeople make three enormous mistakes this week, all of which prevented them from being hired. In this economy, there is no reason to risk losing an opportunity to work because of mistakes that could easily be avoided.

Your (Wife’s) Email Says That You Are Lazy

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that your wife should ever email your resume and cover letter. Ever.

When the address your email was sent from is clearly your wife’s email address, you have sent a not-so-subtle message. That message is that your wife is trying to find you a job—and that you are not. Right or wrong, it appears that your wife is desperate to help you find employment, and that you are too lazy to do so yourself.

Perhaps this isn’t true. Maybe you aren’t lazy. Maybe you are highly motivated to find work.

Maybe you aren’t proficient with computers and you don’t use email. This is no better. If you are looking for work in sales today, you are going to use computers. You are going to use the Internet, and you are going to use email (among other tools).

If you are young and proficient with computers, an email from your Mother does just as much damage. It says that Mommy’s boy is too lazy and unmotivated to go find work.

You are being evaluated from the minute your emailed resume arrives. It’s important to remember this fact and to act accordingly. Send your resume yourself, with a note from you personally, and from your own email address.

This brings us to the second mistake: Your email address. Your email address should be your name and your domain. Your email address should not be cute, funny, X-rated, or an indecipherable bunch of letters and numbers. If it’s not your name, it looks like you are hiding.

My Last Job Sucked and My Boss Was a Jerk

How you speak about your past employer is an indication of what kind of employee you are going to be, and it speaks to one important set of skills you need as a salesperson.

If you speak poorly about your last position, you are demonstrating to your present employer exactly what they can expect of you at the end of your relationship. Nothing was your fault, the company wasn’t good enough for you, and your boss was a first rate jerk.

More still, your ranting about your prior employer indicates that you lack the skills of the diplomat. You can’t deliver a message without exposing your emotional feelings and arousing them in others. In sales, you will deal with difficult issues, difficult situations, and difficult people. It is imperative that you are able to discuss these issues without using judgmental, emotional, hostility-arousing emotions.

When asked about your prior employment and the conditions under which you left, regardless of the circumstances, you must practice your diplomacy. If your boss was a jerk, you can describe the environment as having some “cultural challenges” or as not being a “healthy or nurturing environment.” You can do this without blaming anyone. You can suggest that: “They were all really good people, but this tough environment really shook people up and caused a great deal of emotional distress.” It sounds mature, and it sounds forgiving.

Your ability to speak diplomatically can be a sign of your professionalism and it demonstrates your ability to handle difficult situations with a sense of humor. Prove it by responding accordingly.


What does an email from someone else’s address say about who they believe is responsible for their job search?

What does your email address say about who you are?

How do you answer questions about why you left your last position? How do answer these questions when your employer was clearly at wrong and at fault?

Why is diplomacy a necessary and useful skill for salespeople and leaders?

What does diplomatic language say about your communication skills and abilities?

Sales, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
December 3, 2011
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