Sending job applications by email may appear simple, but from many of the email applications we’ve seen on BCjobHub we thought we should write an job search email etiquette post to help some candidates. Here are some rules that will help you avoid the employer hitting ‘delete’ within the first 3 seconds of reading your email application and get you noticed and hopefully working:
- Keep it short and to the point — Email is supposed to be a quick way of exchanging information. If the recruiter or employer receives an email that looks like a dissertation, they might not even attempt to read it! Also, unless your goal is to confuse the recipient, avoid long multi-clause sentences.
- Use proper spelling and grammar – Grammar and spelling errors are not acceptable. Use a spell-checker to eliminate them and ask a friend or family member to read your email application (and cover letter and resume) to check for errors. Also completely unacceptable is using chatspeak (BTW, FYI), slang and emoticons.
- Remember about correct punctuation – E-mails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and incorrect punctuation can easily change the meaning of the text.
- Do not write in capitals – IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT COMES ACROSS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING, SO DON’T DO IT.
- Use a professional email address – If you send a job application from an address like: firstname.lastname@example.org, you will never to be taken seriously or viewed as professional by your potential employer. The simplest way to create a professional-looking email address is to use your first name and last name in the following pattern: email@example.com.
- Use descriptive attachment names — This will help your recipient keep track of your documents. Simple descriptive names such as: Mike.mithCV.doc, MikeSmithCoverLetter.doc or Mike_Smith_Resume.pdf, are your best bet.
Now that you have the basics. We’d like to show you how to create a professional job application email step by step:
- The Subject Line – An empty subject line virtually guarantees your email is going to end up being deleted or marked as spam. Choose a simple subject, like “Mike Smith Job Application”, the job position you’re applying for or its reference number, so the employer or recruiter is clear what the email is related to.
- Salutation -Try to get the name of the person who is in charge of the recruitment process. Always double check to make sure that you spelled your recruiter’s name correctly. If you spell it wrong, it could give an impression that you are careless or disrespectful. Avoid using “Hey” or “Mrs.” or “Miss”. Use “Ms.” instead as it is the feminine equivalent of the masculine “Mr.” If you do not know the name, “Dear Sir or Madam:” is always appropriate.
- Header -Briefly introduce yourself and state your intention. Explaining why you are writing the email may sound too standardized, but using these phrases (or their variations) is actually widely accepted: “I am writing in regards to the job you advertised…”, “I am writing in response to your job posting…” “In response to your job advertisement…”. Subsequently, mention the source where you found information about the vacancy, e.g. BCjobHub.
- Attaching Files – When you’re attaching a file like CV, cover letter or portfolio, you have to consider its format. The best option is PDF. It ensures that your document will be displayed exactly the way you intended (no matter what program you used to create it or your potential employer uses to open it) and it allows you to merge all your documents in just one file. There are plenty of free pdf creators you can use. Always remember to keep your attachment file sizes to a minimum, to avoid flooding your recipient’s Inbox and to ensure that your message doesn’t bounce back. Finally, don’t forget to attach the files before sending the email.
- Main body – If you are sending someone your CV and cover letter as attachments, keep the main body of your email short and simple, and let your application speak for itself. Give the main reasons why you are the perfect candidate for the advertised job vacancy (you can mention your education, work experience or some of your skills here). Encourage your potential employer or recruiter to see your CV or other documents. Using phrases like: “Please find my CV attached” or “Please find enclosed my CV and cover letter” is perfectly alright. In addition, tell your employer what is the best way and time to contact you.
- Closing – To emphasize your interest, conclude your message with “I am looking forward to hearing from you” or “I’m looking forward to receiving your reply”. Before signing your name or adding an email signature, end the email in a respectful manner, such as “Yours faithfully” or “Sincerely”.
- Email signature – In today’s professional correspondence email signatures are a must. Applying for a job is no exception – without at least a simple signature your application will look too casual. With it, you will be able to create a positive and professional impression, and communicate important information about who you are, what you are interested in or what you want to do.
Read before sending – then read it again!
Before you send your message, scan it for spelling and grammatical errors (use your email spell-checker), check for format and font continuity. When you are done, imagine yourself as the person receiving the email and give it one more read.
Responding to your potential employer
During the recruitment process you may receive emails from more than one potential employer. Read them carefully, follow the given instructions and always ensure that you reply to the right person. It is also crucial that you respond quickly to inquiries from companies or recruiters, preferably within 24 hours of receiving the email.
A Thank You note
After a job interview you might send a thank-you e-mail to the person who interviewed you. Employers and recruiters really appreciate it. This should be a short message where you thank them for the interview and for considering your application.
There is never a guarantee that you will get a response/interview when you apply for a job posting, but if you follow these simple tips it will at least increase the odds that the employer will not delete your email with 3 seconds of reading it.