The following tips will help job seekers to use email effectively in the job search:
- Grammar Matters: Be professional with job search emails. Grammar still matters and punctuation is still important. If you had help with your resume from a career counselor, resume writing software or from anyone else, your resume and cover letter probably look really good. Your emails need to maintain the same high standards and should look as edited and proofed as your resume does.
- Subject Line: Make sure the email subject line includes your name and the document attached. E.g. Joe Jobseeker – List of References.
- Quotes: Think seriously about not adding a quote to your email address for the job search. If you chose to add a quote, think about whose quote you use and what the recruiter might think about you as they read your chosen quote.
- Follow Directions: Read and follow email application instructions from employers carefully. If they require that you respond by email, do so. If it states otherwise – do otherwise. Some employers might even give you instructions for the format, document type or font size to use when submitting resumes via emails.
- Email Address: Use an email address that you will check often when communicating with employers. Recruiters hate to have emails bounce back for closed accounts or full mailboxes.
- Signature: If you are using a signature with address and contact information, as you should, there is no need to add your email address in this signature again.
- Email List: Be sure to remove recruiters’ emails from your email lists. The last thing you want to do is inadvertently send inappropriate jokes, chain letters or a virus on to a recruiter or hiring manager.
- Email Yourself: It’s a good idea to email the latest copy of your resume to yourself. This way you can always pick it up in cyberspace from a web mail account like Yahoo!, MSN or Google at any time.
- Pick Up the Phone: Email is not for everything. Do not use email for urgent messages such as getting directions to an interview or to inform the recruiter that you will be late. Make a phone call instead.
- No Privacy: Remember that email is not private. Once you write it down it is on record somewhere. Be careful what you say. It is acceptable to write a cover letter in email. No need to write an introduction and then add a cover letter and a resume. Use the body of the email as your cover letter.
- Tone: Pay close attention to the tone of your email. It is almost impossible to tell how someone will react to an email, even with all kinds of emotions, which you want to limit. Save drafts and read again later for tone before you hit the send button.
- Software: Avoid creating your resume in Microsoft Works or older versions of Microsoft Word which the recruiter may not be able to open if you send it as an attachment.
- Size Matters: It is recommended to use 10-12 point fonts in black and avoid textured backgrounds.
- Graphics: Watch use of graphics in your emails and avoid the instant messaging chatter and abbreviations.
- Avoid Oooops!!!: Write your email content and subject line before adding the recipient’s address. This will help you inadvertently send the email off before it is complete.
Bottom line—Stay professional and remember that even though we are in the instant messaging age, your job search emails must represent you well.