Job Seekers: How to type an effective email

By October 28, 2014Tips for Job Seekers

Over the last 20 years, email has become one of the most popular tools for communication around the world. Its features and functionality have made it a preferred choice for job seekers and hiring teams alike as it allows for attaching documents, sorting and even scanning for appropriate keywords.

However, as familiar as this method of communication has become, we often spend little time ensuring that we are composing effective emails. After all, once it has been sent it can’t be edited and the recipient can quickly and easily review your grammar, tone and learn a great deal about who you are without ever having to respond.

So, how do you type an effective email when you’re applying for a job? Here are 4 things to keep in mind before you hit send.

What return email address are you using?

When email first came about, it was often common for people to use creative names to identify themselves; a college nickname with your lucky number like Fun_Dude46@*****.com, or a reference to your family like Mom_of_4_kidz@*****.com. While these accounts are fine for sharing stories and photos with friends and family, they should not be used for professional communication.

Simply create a new free email from Gmail or Yahoo. When deciding a username, pick something as close to your actual full name as possible. If your name is John Smith, it is likely that JohnSmith@*****.com is taken. Try spelling your full name, add a middle initial or full middle name, you can even add your title or industry to your username; i.e. JohnathonSmithWelder@*****.com.

Make your subject line clear and identifiable.

Begin your subject line with the name of the position you are applying for, this will make it clear to anyone that is scanning through an email inbox. Desirable positions will likely receive a great deal of email, so making sure there is no confusing about the content of your email will help you move on to step 2.

Here’s an example: Executive Assistant position – John Smith Resume

Avoid the use of unnecessary punctuation or capitalization. Adding an asterisk or exclamation point to your subject will likely get your email into the trash can before it gets into the hands of the hiring staff.

Approach your email body as you would a cover letter.

A cover letter is meant to provide a look into who you are as a person and why you believe you are the right person for a job. The idea is to present a strong first impression that leads into your resume, skills and qualifications.

If you’ve meticulously constructed a cover letter, why would you then write a half-hearted email to accompany your resume and cover letter? In some ways, your email body becomes your new cover letter. It is the first thing the reviewer will see to determine if they will even look at your resume.

Save all paperwork as a PDF with your contact information on each page before attaching to your email.

When you’ve completed your resume and cover letter, save it as a PDF file. This will flatten the document, preventing any edits to be made to the document. Imagine that someone is reading your email and resume that has been delivered in an editable Word document and they step away from their desk. When they return they could easily bump their keyboard and delete a sentence, a paragraph or your most important accomplishments. They could then continue to read through and miss what could have ultimately gained you the position.

Additionally, assume that the person reviewing your document will print your document from email to read later, perhaps while traveling. If your document is more than a page or two they could easily misplace a page or mix it up with other resumes. Adding your name and brief contact information to each page will help prevent this from happening.

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