The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Guide to Job Hunting – Is your email technique scuppering your job search?

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It’s easy to take email for granted – However, it is one of the sharpest tools in your job seeking toolbox and it can define the decision about whether your CV is read, or binned.

Job seekers should remember that, like any powerful tool, E-mail should be used appropriately, especially when connecting with potential employers, communicating with networking contacts or submitting your CV as part of an application process.

Even if you think you’re on top of E-mail etiquette, refresh your memory with the following:

Choose your email address / name carefully – It was really cute when your E-mail address was “PlayBoyBunny88” at university, but a potential employer or networking contact is going to find it tacky and inappropriate. When in doubt, the best E-mail address is a combination of your first and last name.

Don’t forget the subject line – Would you open an E-mail from someone you don’t know that contains no subject line? Stay out of the spam folder by addressing the topic of your E-mail in your subject line. The more specific you are, the more likely your E-mail will be opened.

Ban the slang! – LOL, JK, ROFL, and other web jargon you have up your sleeve belong on Facebook and SMS, not professional E-mails. Using jargon, emoticons (smiling faces) and text slang tells an employer two things: first that you are not able to conduct yourself in a professional manner, and secondly that you might not be that serious about your application. Or, look at it this way: Most jobs today need some form of written communication. If you can’t be professional in this, your own most important written communications, how will you reflect on the company’s corporate image?

Keep it short and sweet – Stick to the point. Most people have very little time to read through emails, and usually have reams of them in their Inboxes.  Devise a strong written elevator pitch to support your application if you are sending your CV, or to make your point if you are introducing yourself. Again, this reflects on professionalism and the ability to express yourself concisely – By writing a powerful but short covering email, you are helping yourself through the screening process.

Make your signature your own – Include your name, E-mail address, phone number, web address, and hyperlinks to your social media profiles. Not only does an informative signature make for a good professional finish to any E-mail message, it also provides all your contact information in one place, making you immediately accessible. It proves attention to detail and a professional approach.

Use an appropriate sign-off – “Yours truly” is old hat! If you don’t know someone, is “Best wishes” appropriate? I prefer “Sincerely” or “Kind regards”. Be careful here – less might be more.

REMEMBER THE ATTACHMENT – This has to be the most common mistake ever. Check it over before you press the Send key. Lack of attention to detail at this point can ruin all your best efforts. If your email goes into an automated system, it will not flag back that you forgot the attachment so you might think you have applied for the job, but without the attachment you obviously have not. If a human being receives your e-mail, they might be kind enough to ask you for a resend. Or they might just think “Fail!” and send your CV to the recycling bin, because all the other applicants included their attachments and they don’t have time to waste. A false start here can lose you the race!

Follow the 24-hour rule – E-mail is immediate. No need to wait for the postman or scramble for a stamp. It’s a quick click and done! However, procrastination and overflowing inboxes will often slow down the effectiveness of E-mail communication. Follow the 24-hour rule. Make a point to deal with each E-mail message you receive within 24 hours. When an E-mail requires your response, act on it within a day, even if only to acknowledge that you have received their message and need a day or two to compile the requested information. Someone is waiting for you to answer them, and your appreciation of their time and consideration will send a strong message that you value them and will respond as requested.

It seems like such a simple thing, but it is because E-mail is so simple that the quality of our communication suffers.  We sometimes forget common courtesies and dismiss E-mails with a single click.  Be careful.  You could be dismissing your next job.

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Written by Cathy Richardson

November 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

Posted in Recruitment

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