Would you believe that the corporate world sends and receives an astounding 89 billion emails per day?
From internal memos to important proposals, most of our written communication at work takes place on the web – and nowadays, most of our job-related networking happens in the same place. Before you personally meet with a potential employer to flaunt your firm handshake and charming smile, your email is often the lone representative of your personal brand.
If you are your email address, make sure that your first step in reaching out to potential employers via email is to procure a professional alias (firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t cut it in corporate America). Once you’ve done that, here are some ways to help your actual emails receive the attention they deserve:
- Mind your Ps and Qs. Your initial email to a potential employer is critical. In addition to targeting the appropriate person with your message, you must also choose the right information to communicate, and communicate it flawlessly. Your writing style – spelling, punctuation, grammar – will be a potential employer’s first impression of your intelligence and professionalism. Check and double-check that you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s.
- Be concise. The elevator pitch has moved to email. A few years ago, eager job candidates would squeeze into an elevator with an executive to get 30 seconds of valuable face time. Today, your email has even less time to get an executive’s attention – so get to the point! Be clear and concise about what you want a potential employer to know about you, and be creative in presenting that information.
- Include your name in the subject line. It is safe to assume that most professionals are not at Inbox Zero. To cut through the noise in a potential employer’s inbox, make sure that your subject line mentions the job for which you are applying in the email, as well as your first and last name. This tells the recipient exactly what the email is about, and serves as a handy search mechanism if they need to find the email at a later date.
- Have a clear objective. Why are you sending the email? You want a job, but what are the next steps in the process? Are you suggesting a call? A meeting? An interview? Be clear.
- Talk about who you are. Employers receive hundreds of emails in response to each job posting. Many of these candidates use jargon to explain their skills, but do not get to the heart of why they should be working at the company. Be sure that you are using effective language that captures the essence of your experience and accomplishments.
(Take a look at the best email cover letter ever.)
Two thirds of all office jobs require a significant amount of writing, making written communication a key consideration in the hiring process. Because email is the standard form of correspondence, well-written emails serve to enhance a potential employer’s view of your intelligence, professionalism, and credibility. The ability to write a well-constructed email can be one of the best skills that cultivate in your job search.
Whether it is a cover letter, a letter of introduction, or a follow-up note, your email says something about you. Make sure it is saying something good!