First came the Stone Age, then the Bronze Age, and finally, the Iron Age. It would be fairly difficult for anyone to argue that we aren’t currently existing in the Computer Age, as these devices seem to have become present in nearly all facets of our lives, from landing airplanes to video chatting with Grandma. Therefore, it’s no wonder that regardless of which industry you work in, computers are part of the job search process.
What does this mean for you?
Well, at some point or another on your quest to find employment, odds are that you’re going to have to write an email. If you follow our email writing tips, your job search is sure to be much easier.
What Not to Do
There’s a handful of common mistakes that people tend to make when emailing a prospective employer for the first time (or the second, or the third). Make sure that you stand out from the crowd by avoiding these kinds of mistakes.
Typos. Typos Everywhere. You have used spell check before sending out that email, right? Of course you have, but be aware that sometimes spell check isn’t enough. Your computer can only search for single words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly, but sometimes that means a word might slip through the cracks. For example, a spell checker won’t recognize “a quip” as being misspelled, even if you were trying to write “equip.” Read over your email, cover letter, and resume carefully.
Where did that attachment go? It might sound silly, but people forget to include their attachments all the time (and then wonder why they aren’t hearing back from a company). Even if you realize shortly after sending the email, pulling one of those “Whoops, sorry, I forgot it!” follow-up emails isn’t doing you any favors. Remember it the first time.
Don’t tell them your life story. Keep your emails short, snappy, and on-point. If you had to print out your email, would your printer run out of ink? You’ve probably written too much. Only say what is necessary in the most clear, concise way possible. Odds are your potential employer is reviewing dozens if not hundreds of messages, so make yours easy for them.
What to Do
Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at a few points of what you should do in 2016. Check back to our 2014 article for more tips, as those writing tips are all still relevant today.
Follow the basics.
You already know that you have to use a professional sounding email address, that your subject line should be clear and concise, that your email should be written as though it was a secondary cover letter, and that your paperwork should have your contact info on each page.
It’s 2016. Go the extra mile.
These days, you have to go the extra mile for employment. If you have any online content that showcases who you are or your abilities in a professional light, share it. This includes online portfolios, images, videos, or any other form of media that presents you in a professional light.
Clean up your social media profiles.
Speaking of social media, take the time to go through your social media accounts and make them presentable, particularly if you use your real name on any of them. Those pictures of you and your roommates partying? Now would be a great time to take them down, and remember, images on services like Facebook can be tagged with your name and easily discoverable from search engines, so if any of your friends have unsavory images of you posted, politely ask them to remove them.
Update your references.
When was the last time you updated the references on your resume? Your high school science teacher and your mom’s best friend aren’t going to cut it anymore.
It’s not all about going digital.
Even if you’ve crafted the perfect email, printing out your application and other documentation and then hand-delivering it can show that you aren’t just another applicant blasting out emails. You cared enough to show up in person.