The Proper Use of Email for Job Hunting and Corresponding with Potential Employers

Modern technology has made it much easier for job seekers to conduct their search from the comfort of their own homes. Gone are the days of pounding the pavement, and the practice of mailing resumes and cover letters through the post office is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Many businesses require job seekers to apply on-line via the Internet, while others request an introductory email consisting of cover letter, resume, and references.

An email sent to a prospective employer should be more structured than one sent to a friend or acquaintance. An employment inquiry email is the employer’s very first impression of the applicant, so the email needs to make a positive statement about who the applicant is and what he or she has to offer. Someone who is hiring is apt to receive hundreds of email inquiries, so it is crucial that the job seeker present an inquiry that stands out in quality and professionalism.

Following are some tips on email etiquette for job seekers.

Adhere to the employer’s instructions exactly regarding how to apply for the position. Do not presume to include additional information which was not requested, or deliberately omit any items that the employer specifically asked for. Follow the employer’s guidelines and present yourself and your qualifications accordingly.

Compose your email in a way that is professional and to the point. Never address the recipient of the email by his or her first name. Use Mr., Mrs., or Miss, coupled with the individual’s last name. If you do not know the recipient’s last name, address the individual as Sir or Madam. If the employer’s instructions state that you should address your inquiry to the Human Resources Manager, for example, then begin your email with the words, “Attention: Human Resources Manager”.

Misspelled words, confusing run-on sentences, and incorrect punctuation will immediately convey a negative first impression, and chances are excellent that the prospective employer will not bother to read any further than your introduction.

State your purpose for sending the email clearly and directly. A statement such as, “This email is in response to your ad posted on Careers.com seeking a Full-time Administrative Assistant in the Chicago area” comes right to the point. This will make things simpler for the recipient, particularly if he or she is running help wanted ads for more than one position.

Unwarranted humor and creative anecdotes are not appropriate for any email sent to a prospective employer. Unnecessary personal tidbits that have no connection to the matter at hand are also improper. An exceedingly lengthy and repetitive email will likely be skimmed over and deemed irrelevant.

Include in the body of your email only those facts that are pertinent to your employment application. Should the employer require more information, he will most certainly ask for it. Present a brief biography explaining your interest in the job and noting your related experience. Keep your email clear and concise. Any additional details should be included in your resume.

Email is an effective and valuable asset for job seekers, provided that they utilize its benefits judiciously. The trick is to present yourself electronically with the same forethought and refinement as you would if you were presenting yourself to the employer in person, which you just may be if your email makes a positive impression.