In most instances your email is the first point of contact with a prospective employer or new network contact. It also sets the tone for whether they perceive you in a positive or negative light. Employing proper email etiquette can be the difference between getting an interview, call back or network referral, or having the reader deleting your email thus relegating you as irrelevant.
Point # 1: Most job search emails are sent with an attachment, a resume and/or cover letter, and I can’t remember how many times I opened an email and the aforementioned attachment was missing. Then I received another email shortly or up to 2 days thereafter with the attachment, and on occasion an apology. My advice to all of you is before you hit the send button double check to make sure the attachment is there and it is the right one. This is especially important if you have more than one version of your resume or you’re sending a customized version.
Point # 2: Another common email mistake is the salutation. Use the person’s last name if it is provided and not their first name i.e. Dear Mrs. Bowen rather than Dear Laura. If you don’t know the person’s name avoid using To Whom It May Concern or Dear Sir/Madam. Try Members of the Search Committee, or Good morning or Good afternoon.
Also use Respectfully or Sincerely as your closing, and by all means never-ever write Have a blessed day. I also suggest using an 18-20 pt Script font for your signature with a 10-12 pt Arial font in the email body.
Point #3: Now let’s move on to the body. Your e-mail is a business tool not a means of communication between you and your best buds. It must be professional, courteous and to the point. Don’t use slang or abbreviations, and make sure you spell check it before it is sent. There is no excuse for sloppiness and be aware that thoughtlessness can completely destroy what otherwise is a professional message.
Point #4: Last but not least is your email address. Some people work to develop a brand or persona with their email address. But what message does an email address like beachbumMB@yahoo.com or singleNlookin@sbc.net, or firstname.lastname@example.org send to an employer. I recently saw this quote from an HR manager who receives a high volume of emails from job seekers, “I see some very questionable email addresses that make me wonder about the ethics, morality, and overall professionalism of the applicant.” Is he talking about you?
I suggest creating a dedicated email account to exclusively send and receive emails during your job search using a variation of your name like email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.