If you’re running a time-sensitive job search, you probably use e-mail to expedite the process. While electronic documents may not stand out like crisp, clean resumes that arrive through the mail, online correspondence can make a great first impression, paving the way to your next position.
However, focusing on e-mail as your primary method of communication can be risky. It’s easy to make mistakes, get lost in the spam pile, or send a message that makes little or no impact.
In order to prompt employers to contact you for an interview, you have to impress them right from the start. To do so, you need to develop short, compelling e-mails that accomplish two standards at once. First, avoid errors and unprofessional language. Second, infuse your business writing with a bit of energy or passion – bringing some life to your words.
The following pointers will help you present yourself as a smart, skillful and intriguing job candidate over the Internet:
Keep it brief. Revise your regular cover letter to make it shorter and snappier. Use brief sentences and plenty of action words. Showcase your key selling points (enthusiasm, drive to succeed and proven contributions). Address your message to a real person. Eliminate slang, acronyms and silly graphics. Be honest.
Here is some sample text: “I recently closed two major accounts for my current employer, producing new revenue despite the tough economy. During my 12-year career in sales, I generated millions of dollars in top-line growth, and I am confident that I can do the same for XYZ Company.”
Skip attachments. Many employers refuse to open e-mail attachments (unless they request them in a job posting), which means that messages with well-crafted resumes may be deleted or ignored. To overcome this obstacle, enliven your e-mail content by adding achievements that will capture attention and promote responses.
You could also paste a clean, text-only copy of your resume (or a few highlights from your document) beneath the body of your message. Insert a transition sentence, like this: “Please scroll down for details about my progressive, award-winning career, and contact me to set up an interview.”
Choose a great subject line. In many cases, your subject line controls the fate of your message, specifically how quickly it will be read or unloaded to the “deleted messages” folder. The most effective subject lines are descriptive and concise, and they never use language that could be mistaken for an advertisement.
For example, if you were referred by a colleague, mention it in the subject, like this: “Referred by Donald Riches.” If not, try something more general: “Qualified candidate for your sales manager position.”
Proofread. Take the time to proofread your work, because your impression (and new job) may be on the line! Review the entire message to identify and correct grammar, spelling and typing errors. Verify the accuracy of e-mail addresses and names. Confirm that your document is ready before hitting the “send” button.
Savvy job seekers use e-mail to speed up their search efforts. It serves as a great tool, as long as you don’t sacrifice your professionalism, or let unforeseen mistakes get in the way of your next job.
Send your job search questions to Eve.GetAJob@gmail.com