16 Tips for Job Search Email Success

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Email plays an increasingly important role in our lives both in and out of the office. In fact, the most popular web mail service, Yahoo! Mail turned 10 years old in October, 2007 with 250 million users. TechCrunch reported recently that Yahoo leads the pack followed by MSN with 228 million accounts and Gmail with 51 million. Needless to say, many people are relying on email in their job search as much as they rely on it for personal entertainment or communicating with friends. The following tips will help job seekers to use email effectively in the job search.
  1. 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.
  2. Make sure the email subject line includes your name and the document attached. E.g. Joe Jobseeker – List of References.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Remember that email is not private. Once you write it down it is on record somewhere. Be careful what you say.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 emoticons, which you want to limit. Save drafts and read again later for tone before you hit the send button.
  13. 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.
  14. It is recommended to use 10-12 point fonts in black and avoid textured backgrounds.
  15. Watch use of graphics in your emails and avoid the instant messaging chatter and abbreviations.
  16. 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.

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  • Kenneth Cooper
    Kenneth Cooper
     A lot of these errors I find are made out of job search frustration. Just being tired at some point of the process but we move on for the sake of success.
  • Taffie Pounders
    Taffie Pounders
    The tip about older versions of office is something I had not thought of...
  • Tracy
    All of these are common sense, and if you've ever accidently hit send before completing an email, then you'd think about adding in address last after writing the email.  Here's a couple of tips:1.  Along with attaching your resume, copy & paste it on the end of your email.  With so many spam/viruses people don't always open up attachments if anything looks suspicious.2.  Save Time:  Write generic cover letter and put your own address in the To: then in the BCC: field, put everyone you want to send your resume to.
  • Michael Maloney
    Michael Maloney
    I hadn't thought of using the body of the email as the cover letter.  That sounds like a good option.  I do, however disagree with your suggestion to skip the email in the signature.  If the email gets forwarded, your email address would be buried in the body of the email or stripped from it entirely.  In addition, if the email is printed and handed to someone, your information may be lost forever.
  • rose boyland
    rose boyland
    I found this information to be very helpfull.  Thanks.
  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein
    Tip #11 has saved me much time and looks much better than using the email body for an introduction then attaching a cover letter plus a resume, employment history, references, etc.  I use a standard cover letter template, make appropriate specifications, then paste it as the body of my email.  It becomes one less attachment and gets the job done professionally.
  • Ciera
    I don't even worry about #16 anymore because with gmail.com's "Lab" features...you can select for it to warn you if an attachment is not attached that is mentioned in the email body. So it's a GREAT feature and gmail.com addresses look more professional than yahoo.com (just another tip!).
  • EStelita Panlilio
    EStelita Panlilio
    Excellent tips.  Great help for the job search.  Printed all infos and carry them and read them anywhere whenever I have time.
  • Calvin Matthews
    Calvin Matthews
    I never even thought about half of this stuff.
  • Zeinab Kadie
    Zeinab Kadie
    When I copy and pasta my resume on the windows,or attach, it seems informal. I did not know that emailing the resume can show it as it looks like. All the tips are very useful! Thanks you so much for sending it,Z.K
  • Yuven Lukong
    Yuven Lukong
    Many a time, grammar and punctuation has not been taken seriously and the introduction in my emails, have often been quite distinct from the cover letter.This is a 'new era'.I hope my job search will be greatly improved.Thanks.
  • Susana Lorenzo
    Susana Lorenzo
    Thanks for the information, I think that, yes, it is important to give proper information and to be professional during a job search.
  • susan davis
    susan davis
    I think it is a good idea to include your email address in your signature also. Who knows who they (recruiter) will forward your resume to, and that could be a future employer.
  • Chris
    I think #6 is incorrect. It *IS* a good idea to include your email address in your signature. When your email gets forwarded to other people your email address is not always displayed.
  • susan throop
    susan throop
    Thanks for the heads-up.
  • Heather Oneil
    Heather Oneil
    Thank you for the very helpful tips. I'm sure these tips will help me in my job hunt. Thanks again
  • Anonymous
    Emoticon is an actual thing.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon
  • al spector
    al spector
    I had to laugh...point one stressed proper grammar.  A few paragraphs later "emotion" is not spelled correctly.
  • DBanta
    What is the proper addressing etiquette for job listings that only offer "Confidential Company" in their 'contact' information? ie: Company Name?Address?City ?Attn: WHO??
  • Judy
    It was helpful information, common knowledge points for professional use of email.  I had never considered entering the recipients address last; that even fixes "stupid".  Thanks!  
  • Sam
    Most of the tips in this article were just plain common email etiquette. However, there was one piece of advice that I found helpful to me. 16-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. I've made that mistake many times.

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