Back in the day… a formal hand-written note was a nice touch and follow-up to a job interview. However, in today’s world of electronics, tech savvy folks are opting for the immediate gratification of email as the new formal “thank you” process. Email is generally the primary method of communication during a job search and you can easily stand out with a more professionally written email. That isn’t hard, because inboxes are filled with poorly written emails. Writing formally, but succinctly will help you to stand out above others that may be using too much ‘social media’ or ‘free’ writing in their communication.
Here’s how to write an effective email when searching for a job or thanking an employer after an interview.
1. Keep it short, sweet and simple. Keep it to three.
Say no more than three things in your email, then close it with your commitment to the next step. This will not only prevent you from rambling, but it will help the recipient to grasp your main points quickly. No long, wordy emails; use bullet points to outline key areas. Opening and closing sentences should be full statements, but the meat of the message should be quick and easy to read.
One way to proof-read is to send the email to yourself. Check for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and typing errors. All recruiters and hiring managers continue to be amazed at the number of typos, missing commas, and run-on sentences. Most word processing programs have help built-in when composing documents – don’t ignore the red underlines – and make sure you read the whole email for additional errors the program might have missed!
3. It’s you, not I.
How many times did you say, “I” in the email? Even though the email is essentially about you, your message is about how you can help them. The more you can explain how they can benefit from you, the better.
4. Make it look good.
Write your business letter in a word processing program, then copy and paste that letter into your email body. This will help it to look nicer and you can save a copy of your letter in your documents folder.
5. Keeping you fresh in mind.
When following-up to a job inquiry, be sure you respond to the original email message, including any and all attachments, so the person can quickly and easily access your initial correspondence and engage right away. Saving them time from having to search for any information is a bonus and shows attention to detail. Following-up is essential to be sure you are kept fresh in their minds, and not on the bottom of the pile.
When in doubt, err on the formal side. Be sure to proof-read over and over again until you feel good and confident with your message. And, most of all, good luck!
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