Job Search 101: Get The Most Out Of Your Emails

Job Search 101: Get The Most Out Of Your Emails

2011-10-26 08:00:55

Think back to the job postings you’ve looked at lately: how many asked you to physically mail your application? One? Two? None? It’s almost quaint when you find a listing that asks you to mail materials to a P.O. box; you smile to yourself—just before you click the “back” button in your browser and look for a company that’s not stuck 20 years in the past.

The point is that email is the primary form of communication these days, and that’s doubly true for job applications and correspondences. We’re assuming you know how to use email competently, but you might not know exactly how you should be using it in your job search.

Here are a few tips:

Every time you send an application email out, BCC yourself. BCC stands for “blind carbon copy”—it allows you to copy multiple people on an email without the recipients seeing who else received the email. By copying yourself in the emails in this clandestine way, you’ll get a record of every email you’ve sent. Even better, if you’ve got an email provider that allows you to set up automatic filters, have all of these emails sent to a folder labeled “job applications.” When you get called for interviews, preparation is a lot easier when you know what you’ve already sent.

If you’re applying for grown-up jobs, use a grown-up email address. Hopefully you’ve heard this one before, but in case you haven’t: unless you’re applying for a job as a circus performer, email accounts like “” are a terrible idea. Use your college email or, even better, set up a new account with one of the many free email services—just use “” or something similar. Even better, if you set up your own website, having an email with a unique domain name looks extremely professional—but again, only if the domain name isn’t juvenile.

Emails aren’t letters, so don’t pretend that they are. When you’re writing cover letters, thank-you letters, or any other business correspondence, it’s important to use the right tone and formatting. However, too many people write emails as though they were cover letters—you have to know your medium. Don’t put the date in the top line, as you would a letter: that’s already done for you. Don’t introduce yourself in the first line of the body paragraph: again, that’s already done for you.

Some still recommend putting the name, title, and business address of the person to whom you’re writing in the top left of the email message, but personally, I’d recommend against that.

With that said, if the job posting specifically asks for a cover letter as an attachment, do format that as you would a formal letter. If you’re writing the cover letter as the body of an email, however, loosen up with the formatting a bit.

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Check and double-check your email—and then check it again. As with any other job application in any other medium, an email with grammatical mistakes and typos will quickly get the delete button. So take the time to think about what you want to say, how you want to say it, and make sure it’s as professional on the page as it is in your head before you hit send. – Original post by myFootpath’s Nate Abbott

Categories: Career Advice

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