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Email tips for job-hunters


Disciplines > Job-finding > Resume / CV > Email tips for job-hunters

When to email | What to do | What not to do | See also


You may need to email recruiters at various times whilst applying for a job. Here are some tips about how to get it right.

When to email

There are a number of times that you may email the recruiter. Be careful with this, as whilst you can stand out and show your enthusiasm by communicating more than others, you can also over-do it and create a backlash.

Enquiring about the job

If the job details you first see are unclear, you can ask for more information. Particularly if they invite you to do this, then it is always a good idea to do so.

Do think of good questions to ask first as every interaction is effectively an interview. Also follow instructions they give, for example using a given email address or phone number.

Sending your application

This is a particularly important email and may be the only one you send. Make sure you send them everything they ask for and keep it clear, as below.

Before the interview

If you get an interview (well done!) you may want to ask for more details, check where and when to attend and so on.

It is helpful here to communicate with the person who is organizing the interviews, so do find out who they are.

After the interview

After the interview you may want to follow up, first to thank them (always a good thing to do) and maybe to ask for feedback if you do not receive this at another time.

What to do

Communicate with the right person

Make sure you are emailing the right person for the purpose at hand. If necessary, phone up or email to check who you should address the email to.

This shows you are concerned to be helpful  In return, they are likely to help you.

Get names right

Ensure you get the spelling of names right. Getting a person's name wrong is one of the worst things you can do.

Say up-front what the email is about

The first thing you need to do is help the reader know what you are emailing about. This should be clear from the title and referenced briefly in the first line of the text.

You do not have to talk about the detail of the job -- all you want is for them to immediately know the job being referenced and that you are applying for it.

Use their references

If they give a reference number, then use it, both in the title and the first line.

Make every word count

Recruiters have loads of emails to read so make sure every word you use has a good reason for being there. After you have written a first draft, go through it and challenge everything -- it is surprising how much you may find that is not necessary.

Be clear and straightforward

Use simple and obvious words, avoiding jargon and showing off your command of the dictionary. Keep sentences short.

Be careful with word reduction that you do not lose meaning. Clarity first, reduction second.

What not to do

Don't look stupid

Whatever you write, it should be correct, show you understand and have absolutely zero

If you look like you do not understand the job, are not passionate about getting it or have been careless in your grammar and syntax, then you significantly decrease your chance of getting any further.

Don't make the recruiter's job harder

Recruiters are busy people with targets of their own and any emails that make their job harder will not be looked on in any kindly way.

Things that make their job harder include:

  • Lots of text to read.
  • Unclear text.
  • Non-standard fonts (that may look strange on their computers).
  • Jargon (first-line recruiters at least are unlikely to understand the technology of the job).
  • Zipped attachments that have to be unpacked.
  • Attachments that need passwords.
  • Attachments that could be simply included within the text (like other email messages).
  • Lots of messages from you that they have to read and act upon.

See also

Communication, Use of Language


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