by sysop in From Campus to Career, Looking for a Job
by Katie Kallam
Regardless of what it’s doing to our brains or our ability to interact with one another, email is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but email is the primary means of communication for most people, especially in the working world. Odds are, in your job hunt, email will be your main method of communicating with potential employers – and the first impression you will make with them. So how do you put your best foot forward in the initial correspondence?
Believe it or not, there is etiquette behind email. It’s not an exact science; the way you email your mom or best friend will be different from how you communicate with your boss or potential employer. But it’s important to know how to come across as professional and qualified in an email.
Here are our tips for starting off right:
Always include a subject line
- You want the purpose of your email to be clear. Choose something concise but descriptive to give a preview of the subject matter of your email. You would never want the recipient to confuse it for spam and not give it a second look. Be selective in using the high priority or importance features.
No emojis or !!!!!!!!!!!
- This isn’t 7th grade. Overuse of these things can come across as immature and unprofessional. Use exclamation marks sparingly, if at all. Emoticons or emojis are best reserved for personal correspondence as well. Use your words to convey emotion or excitement.
Keep it simple
- Limit yourself to one topic per email. Busy professionals are receiving a lot of emails and going through them quickly. Don’t try to tackle several different questions or issues in one email. This could confuse the recipient, and you probably won’t get all the answers you need. Limit yourself to the most pressing or important issue. That way, it’s clear to the recipient what you are asking them to respond to.
Include a signature
- The recipient needs to know who the email is from and how to get in touch with you. Include your full name, title, contact information and best way to reach you. Think of it as your business card consolidated at the end of your email. Keep the font and layout structured and clear.
Double check attachments
- If you say you’ve included an attachment, make sure it’s attached. Also test the attachment to make sure it uploads and works correctly before sending. Is it in a format that will be compatible with their computer? Should you consider sending as a PDF?
Don’t try to be funny
- We all have had that experience where our sarcastic joke just didn’t land over text or email. Don’t let that happen in a business setting. Tone is difficult to translate over email. You may have a great sense of humor, but save it for in person interactions. You don’t want to risk offending anyone or come across as rude.
Fear the reply all
- Don’t let this classic error happen to you. Check and double check that your email is going to exactly who you want it to. Don’t hit reply all unless you want your response to go to the entire group. This is especially important when emailing about confidential or sensitive matters.
Be clear, concise, specific
- People receive hundreds of emails a day. Save your recipient time by getting straight to the point and not using too much excess language or wording. Make your purpose clear and succinct. Your recipient will appreciate it and see that you value their time.
- Remember that the people you are corresponding with are busy, too. If it takes them a few days to get back with you, don’t fret. It doesn’t mean they won’t respond at all. Be respectful of their time and patiently wait for a response.
Emailing is as essential to the interview process as the interview itself. Follow these guidelines and make sure that you are making the best first impression on those potential employers before they meet you in person.