Use your brain, old man

Posted in Dudes, Language by Dizzy on July 31, 2007

I’m the HR person where I work and I must say, I am completely appalled at the number of people who apply for a job with a cover letter that begins “Dear Gentlemen” or “Dear Sirs.”

I mean seriously. We’re a good 40 years beyond that, aren’t we? Basic common sense people. If you’re so  ignorant that you think only men would be in a position to be reading your resume OR you think that Gentleman is still an appropriate default professional greeting, then there is really no place for you in the technology industry.

The greeting you chose for your letter tells me that your tech skills are very likely to be wildly outdated and your cross-gender communication in the office will be really awful. Your unwillingness to either accept that a woman might be in a position of authority over you or to adapt to changing times makes you unfit for this business. Any business, really.

Just retire, buddy. You’re done. Go buy a house on the river and a Winnebago and enjoy the time off.


9 Responses

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  1. baby221 said, on August 3, 2007 at 8:24 am

    I can’t believe people still do that. I was taught growing up (and I’m in my twenties!) that the common general address was “To Whom It May Concern.”

    If you get to write the rejection letters, be sure to use “Dear Madame:” — as long as you’re rejecting them, taking a little petty revenge doesn’t seem like such a huge deal. Anyway maybe it’ll teach them something for their future use.

  2. Charlie said, on August 13, 2007 at 7:50 am

    I get this all the time too: if you want me to accept your paper then p*ssing me off from the get-go by using ‘Dear Sirs’ just isn’t a good idea.

  3. Princess Pointful said, on August 13, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Huh. And here I thought that, like baby221, “To Whom it May Concern” was the default.

    I live on my own, and I am sick of every telemarketer or bill collector asking for Mr. Pointful. I tell them I no longer live with my father!

  4. baby221 said, on August 14, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Princess Pointful — I don’t get bill collectors, but telemarketers asking for “Mr. Morrill” always get a nice chirpy, “Yes, this is he, how can I help you?”


  5. Rock Star said, on August 15, 2007 at 9:07 am

    This baffles me. I always say Sir/Madam or To Whom it May Concern if I haven’t done the legwork to find out the name of the person I’m addressing. P.S. What is the name of the picture at the top of the blog?

  6. Dizzy said, on August 15, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    That’s a collage titled “Too Much for One Life.” See more at

  7. RamblinRabbit said, on August 21, 2007 at 6:30 am

    I was raised up with “To Whom It May Concern” with an occasional “Dear Sir or Madam” for variety. I thought Dear Sir was only for if you had done your research and were absoposilutely sure you were addressing a man.

  8. RKMK said, on August 23, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Ugh. Thank you. I work in MBA Recruitment & Admissions, and the “Dear Sir” emails from the inquiry email inbox drive me up the wall – especially when our entire department is female, as well as most of the other administrative offices. I’m told that I need to be understanding of international cultures and “that’s how they were taught English”, but in my opinion, if you’re looking to apply to a school in a different country, perhaps you need to bring yourself up to speed on what is considered kosher; also, I’ve received basic training in a number of languages myself, and somehow have always been taught both feminine and masculine greetings. It’s really not that hard to remember 51% of the population.

    I usually put big black marks on their database files; I certainly don’t consider anyone who can’t even conceive of women being in any position of influence (in the year 2007) to be given the power of an MBA.

  9. RKMK said, on August 23, 2007 at 10:44 am

    * that should actually read “I certainly don’t consider anyone who can’t even conceive of women being in any position of influence … deserving of the power of an MBA.”

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