16 Tips on Sending Job Search Email

As a recruiter and a career coach, I receive hundreds of emails with attached resumes from executives every week. Not a day goes by when someone sends me an email with several errors, omissions and glaring mistakes. Here are 16 tips to consider when corresponding with people in your network and the hiring authority managers in the companies you have targeted.

1. Use a concise and informative subject line. It helps people prioritize their mail. Example: Introduction: Your Name or Following up to our 2/4 networking meeting

2. Make sure your email and your PC’s email software have the right date and time.
3. Correctness still counts. Grammatical mistakes and typos make readers pause and think (“that’s wrong”). You want them to focus on the content of your message. Use spell-check! You can turn on this preference so it checks your email messages automatically before they are sent.

4. Use signatures with all your contact information—first and last name, address, phone numbers, and email address.

5. Pay attention to your tone. Blunt messages can be a turn-off, but so are overly wordy, too creative and tentative messages. Be concise, brief and to the point while also mannerly. Most of all—your message should be clear and easy to read.

6. When you list a hyperlink, do it like this: http://www.execunet.com/. Don’t put punctuation or letters at either end. It should show up in your own email as an active link.

7. Never address your message “To whom it may concern” or “Dear HR Department Manager” or “Dear Recruiter” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” You should be addressing all of your correspondence “person to person.” Get the name, check the spelling and actual title.

8. If you are attaching a resume, always include a cover letter or note in the body of your email.

9. Be conservative. Email is not a place to show how unique you are or try to attract attention. The purpose of a business contact email is to convey facts and information.

10. Use the “reply” button. This reproduces the topic of conversation and lets the recipient know that you are responding to his or her email. Summarize briefly at the top, i.e., “Following up on your request for information on the ABC project…”

11. Don’t always use HTML. Some users can’t receive it. You can set up your email software to reply to the sender’s font style or use your own. Basic text is used most often.

12. Label your attachments with easily identifiable names (example: John Doe Resume).

13. Email is not private. Write as if the whole world will see it … it could happen.

14. The advantage of writing is you have time to reflect, so use it. If you’re angry, don’t reply right away. The same applies if you’re enthusiastic. Take time and reflect on your response.

15. Don’t send every email marked “Urgent,” especially if it’s routine. After the 2nd or 3rd urgent message, some people will quit paying attention to it. Do you want this to happen to you?

16. Use email wisely and often, but know when it’s better to pick up the phone and make direct, person-to-person contact. If you call first, your email is more likely to be read and responded to.

Many other people are as busy as you are and appreciate anything you do to expedite reading emails. If you’re unsure about your email writing, work with a coach or get feedback from a trusted colleague or friend.

Good Hunting!

Coach Mark

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1 Comment
  • Reply

    Great tips-Don’t you think that it can be a good idea to insert some of your personality into the email though, to help make an impression so they remember you and have a sense for who you are?
    [Be conservative. Email is not a place to show how unique you are or try to attract attention. The purpose of a business contact email is to convey facts and information.]
    Hallie Crawford

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