Email Etiquette Tips for Job Seekers
When you're job searching, you will likely use email for a number of reasons. You might send an email asking about job openings, or an email cover letter with a resume attached. You might send networking emails asking contacts for help with your job search. You will likely also send email thank you messages after interviews.
When you are using email to job search, it's important that all your communications are as professional as they would be if you were writing an old-fashioned paper letter.
Here's information on all you need to know about job search email etiquette, including what to put in your job search emails, how to format your emails, and how to make sure your email messages are read.
Email Etiquette Tips for Job Seekers
Use a professional email account. Make sure you have an email account name that is appropriate for business use, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a variety of free web-based email accounts, like Gmail and Yahoo, that you can use. It also makes sense to set up an email account just for job searching, so your professional email doesn't get mixed in with your personal mail.
Send your email to a specific person. When possible, send your email to a contact person, rather than a general email box. Send a copy to yourself, so you have a record of the emails you have sent and the jobs you have applied to.
Use a clear subject line. Your email message needs a subject line.
If you leave the subject blank, the email is probably going to end up in a spam mailbox or be deleted. Make sure you list the position you are applying for in the subject line of your email message, so the employer is clear as to what job you are applying for. You might want to include your name in the subject as well.
Below are two examples of appropriate subject lines:
- Subject Line: Communications Director Position
- Subject Line: Marketing Associate Position / Your Name
Choose a simple font. Avoid ornate, difficult-to-read fonts. Use a basic font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Cambria. Don’t use color in your text, either. Use size 10 or 12 point, so that the email is easy to read, without being too big.
Write like it's a business letter. In general, your email messages should look a lot like business letters. They should include words, not acronyms or slang or emoticons. They should be written in full sentences and paragraphs. Begin with a salutation, and end with a send-off and your signature. The only difference between an email and a business letter is that in an email you do not need to include the employer’s contact information, the date, and your information in the top left corner.
Keep it brief. People tend to skim, or even ignore, very long emails. Keep your email brief and to the point.
Include a signature. Include an email signature with your contact information, so it's easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you. Including a link to your LinkedIn profile is a good way to give the hiring manager more information on your skills and abilities.
Below is a sample email signature:
- FirstName LastName
- Email Address
- Cell Phone
- LinkedIn Profile (Optional)
Edit, edit, edit. Make sure you proofread your email for grammar and spelling errors. Clear writing is just as important in an email as it is in a business letter.
Send a test message. Before you send your email, send the message to yourself to test that the formatting works. Also, make sure that any files you attached are easy to open. If everything looks good, resend the email to the employer.
Email Message Content
If you have a contact person, address your email to Dear Mr./Ms. LastName. If you don't, address your email to Dear Hiring Manager or simply start with the first paragraph of your message.
When you're applying for a job via email, copy and paste your cover letter into the email message or write your cover letter in the body of an email message.
If the job posting asks you to send your resume as an attachment, send your resume as a PDF or a Word document.
No matter your purpose for emailing, be clear about why you are writing and the purpose of your email message. Include this information early on in the email.
Email Cover Letter Sample and Tips
Writing a hard copy cover letter is becoming less of the norm these days. This is because, more than ever, people are sending job application materials through job websites or via email. This includes submitting resumes and cover letters online.
When asked to submit your job materials (such as your resume and any other related documents) as an email attachment, the email itself acts as your cover letter.
See below for an example of an email cover letter, and tips for how to write it and what to include your message. Here are some tips on how to write and send a quality email cover letter.
Use a Professional Email Address
First, before you start drafting your letter, make sure your email address is professional. Along with the subject line, your email address is the first thing the employer will see – it is your first impression.
If you are using an informal address that you created years ago like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, it may be a good idea to open a new account specifically for communication between you and hiring companies. Get a new professional address that includes your first and last name, if possible.
State Your Name and the Job in the Subject
In the subject line of the email, clearly state the position you are applying for and also include your name. This way, the hiring manager will know, at a glance, that you are writing to apply for a job.
With a clear subject line, the employer is more likely to read the email. Also be sure to proofread your subject line before sending the email – a typo in the subject line is not a good first impression, and might lead to your email being deleted!
Start With a Greeting
If possible, greet a particular person in your letter.
Figuring out the recipient may be as easy as reading the name on the email address in which you are sending your resume. If it isn’t that obvious, double check the job listing to see if a name is mentioned. You can also check the company website (see if there is a directory or list of staff members), or call the company and ask the administrative assistant for help. If none of this works, you can use a greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager.”
What to Include in the Email Message
An email cover letter includes pretty much the same content as a hard copy cover letter, with a few optional additions. Start your letter by expressing your interest in the job opening, and mention the job title by name. Follow this with some of your previous experience that will show the reader that you are qualified for the position.
Focus on specific examples when explaining that you have certain qualities or skills. Make sure all of the information you include is directly related to the job for which you are applying. Do not be afraid to brag a little bit about your accomplishments; this is the time to “sell” yourself to them.
A benefit to sending your cover letter by email is the ability to attach URLs within the body of your message.
For example, if you are applying for a technology driven position like a web designer, freelance writer, or software developer, you can insert links to work you have done in the past. Nothing shows what a good fit you will be for the job like real life examples of what you can do.
Close With a Thank You and Signature
Finally, close your email cover letter with a thank you and express your readiness to meet the hiring manager in person for an interview. You might also want to add that your resume is attached to the email (if this is the case).
Then, include a closing (such as “Best” or “Sincerely”) and your full name. Underneath your name, include an email signature. This is something you can set up on your email account. It appears at the bottom of every email you send, and includes important contact details, such as your email address and phone number.
It might also include your full address, employment information, or a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Attach Your Resume (Unless Told Otherwise)
Attach your resume to your email message in the format requested by the employer. If a specific format isn't required, send it as a PDF or Word document. Of course, do not do this if the employer specifically tells you to submit your resume in some other way (such as through a website or via mail).
Sample Email Cover Letter With Resume Attached
Subject Line of Email Message: Communications Director Position - Your Name
Dear Hiring Manager,
I read your job posting for a Communications Director with interest. I am confident that my ten years of experience in communications in both the private and public sector make me an ideal fit for the position.
In my position as Communications Director for XYZ Company, I wrote articles for the company website, managed guest author submissions, and wrote and sent a weekly email newsletter to subscribers. I received consistent praise from the director for my attention to detail and clear, straightforward writing style.
While Assistant Communications Director for Assemblyperson Susan Smith, I researched, drafted and amended legislation, wrote press releases, and was responsible for office communications and correspondence.
I also have extensive experience writing on a freelance basis on labor issues, which, I believe, would be an ideal match for this position. Articles are available for your review at:
Additional writing samples and my resume are attached. If I can provide you with any further information on my background and qualifications, please let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.