5 Email Etiquette Tips for Your Job Search

Posted September 25, 2014 by
Woman with laptop computer sending email

Woman with laptop computer sending email. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Your email can make all the difference in landing an interview or getting a job. Prospective employers will form a first impression of you from your email, which is the primary form of business communication in the workplace. Since you may not be accustomed to using email, it’s important that you understand a few email etiquette rules.

You don’t want an inappropriate or unprofessional email to cost you a potential job. And, you certainly don’t want your email to wind up in the dreaded online vault of bad emails. Here are five email rules to follow for your job search.

1.    Avoid Using an Inappropriate Email Address

If your email address could be perceived as unprofessional, then sign up for another email account that you can use mainly for job searches. Thankfully, there are many email services that allow you register an account for free.  A prospective employer may not even feel compelled to open your email or take you seriously if you send them messages from an email account such as TexasHottie@gmail.com or TwerkingGal@yahoo.com.

2.    Acknowledge Your Emails and Respond in a Timely Manner

It’s important to respond reasonably quickly to email messages. You should also acknowledge that you received an email message, even if a reply isn’t required. If possible, try to respond as soon as possible or within 24-48 hours of receiving the email.

If you’re unsure about your interview availability, then reply immediately to the potential employer and let them know you’ve received the email and you’re excited about the opportunity to interview. You can tell them you’ll get back to them with your availability as soon as possible. This type of follow-up message shows that you’re professional and conscientious.

3.    Save the Emoticons and Jokes for Text Messages or Personal Email

You should leave out any jokes and emoticons in your emails with prospective employers. You need to show that you’re serious about the job opportunity. There is also the risk that the employer may not get the joke’s punchline or your joke may even offend them. Save the emoticons and jokes for text messages, because you can never tell how others will react to your emails as this video about email etiquette shows.

4.    Remove the Internet Slang

It’s common to use popular Internet slang such as “BRB,” “TTYL,” and others in texts, personal email, and sometimes even when we talk. But, your email for your job search needs to create a good first impression, so don’t use Internet lingo even if you think it’s a way to show you’re being friendly. You need to show you’re professional and focused on the business at hand, which is trying to get a job. There is also the chance that a prospective employer may not understand the lingo, especially if they’re not Internet savvy.

5.    Avoid exclamation points and ALL CAPS

Exclamation points are overrated and overused nowadays. You can drive home a point without using the exclamation point. With your job search emails, you can convey your enthusiasm for the job and confidence about your skills without using exclamation points.

Don’t use ALL CAPS because it gives the impression that you’re shouting. Emails are impersonal, even as they are good for communicating. A prospective employer, who has never met you, may think you’re yelling at them or being condescending if you use all capitals in your email.

Most of these tips can also be used in the workplace when you get your first job, as well. Always remember to follow your gut instinct before you hit send on your email. If you think there is the chance that your email may be misunderstood or deemed inappropriate, then you should revise it or don’t even send it. You don’t want to become the subject of a human resources issue or have an inappropriate email make you feel compelled to quit or even cause you to lose your job.

Author Byline: Taylor Wright is a freelance writer based in Dallas. She covers a variety of topics such as travel, business communications, and technology.

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