Friday, January 8, 2010

Put Your Best Electronic Foot Forward: Email Etiquette

In today’s high-tech world, resumes, cover letters, and job applications are increasingly sent by e-mail. There's a good chance that the first impression you make with a recruiter or hiring manager is your words and their appearance on a computer screen. If your words and how you use them make a poor impact on your reader, your chances for serious consideration immediately weaken.

Before you click on Send, make sure your message will create the impression you intend.

1. Consider your audience and adapt your message accordingly.
2. Stick with the basics when choosing font and point size. Don’t choose a font that
is hard to read or a size that is too large or too small.
3. In plain English, use well-punctuated, complete sentences. Do not use text
message or chat jargon.
4. Be professional when choosing email addresses and recording voice mail greetings.
Having an email address of “love2party@...”, etc. or a voice mail greeting that
is silly or has potentially offensive music in the background will not give a
potential employer a good impression of you.
5. Do your best to find out the name of the person who will be reading your e-mail.
Address your email to that person instead of something generic like “To Whom It
May Concern” or “Human Resources.”
6. If your email is a cover letter, customize it to the position and keep it under
three paragraphs.
7. If you attach a cover letter and resume, make sure the initial email catches the
reader’s attention and makes them want to look further.
8. If you inquire about an open position but do not include a resume, be sure to
provide a phone number with your contact information.
9. Use the email subject line. Writing a short, direct subject line is the “hook” to
getting the message read.
10. Last but not least…spell check and read message for errors before sending.

Employers' Top E-mail Pet Peeves

The following are many employers’ top e-mail pet peeves in the professional setting:
• messages in all lower case
• Incorrect, punctuation
• Responding messages that don’t answer the question
• Writing the Great American Novel (e-mails that are too long)
• Sending unnecessarily large attachments
• Not using the subject line—or not changing it to agree with the topic.
• Forwarding non-work related jokes or chain e-mails
• Discussing personally sensitive issue
• Forwarding offensive or off-color jokes or attachments

Read more tips like this in "New Grad Rules for Workplace e-Etiquette."


Written by Rob Knezovich, Dental Recruiter for the Midwestern US, ETS Dental. You can reach Rob at 540-491-9107 or