Emailing your application? dos and don?ts

  | James Innes

Whilst a few older applicants may still submit documents to a potential employer by post, in the vast majority of cases applications will be made by email. However, just because email is a more immediate form of communication, many of the rules that apply to a postal application will also apply here. It is important to remember that:

·       You are still look to make an impact;

·       You need to stand out from the crowd; and

·       You need to make a compelling case for them to read your CV.

There are some rules that should be followed.

Subject line: Never leave this blank – it is unprofessional and will prompt the reader to send the email straight to their junk folder. However, you do need to keep it short, simple and relevant. If applying for a specific position, then refer to that. If you are making a speculative approach, try and be creative without going overboard.

Form of Address: Just because this is an email, there is no need to forget the rules of courtesy or politeness. It is unlikely that you know the recipient, so the appropriate form of address is Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss.  And avoid the informality you would use when emailing friends. This is a professional communication so word your email appropriately.

Content: It is not considered best practice to attach both your cover letter and CV as attachments. Rather, your cover letter, suitably adapted, should be the content of your email, with the $ {cv} provided as the attachment. Again, remember the purpose of a cover letter which applies equally to any email you send – to get the employer to read your CV.

Signatures: Whilst automated email signatures are common, make sure it is legible. If your signature is hard to read, consider re-writing it, or omitting it.

File Names: Don’t just label you’re CV, CV. Make sure the employer can differentiate it by referencing your name and CV.

File Format: Whilst there is more variety accepted these days, Microsoft Word continues to be the most universally accepted file format. If you send your CV in a different format – PDF, Google Docs, Mac etc. – there is a chance the recipient will not be able to read it (unless you are working in a creative field).

Making sure the above list of dos and don’ts are followed will make sure that your application will stand out enough from the crowd so the employer is prompted to open your email, read your CV and, hopefully, progress matters from there.

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