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This career article by Nathan Newberger will quickly give you eight MUST know tips on using email effectively in your job search.

Most people take the power of email for granted. For most people that is okay, but for job searchers, your email form and content is an expression of yourself. Its IMPORTANT that you cover the email basics.


The days of job searching using postal mail are vanishing. Some experts even say initial telephone correspondence during the job search process is being replaced by e-mail or "electronic mail". Mainly because its easy, inexpensive, and you can reach a large audience with a few keystrokes.

During the job search process you may be using e-mail more than you imagined. Before you know it you will be e-mailing recruiters, employers, previous co-workers, sending resumes back and forth, etc.

The following eight tips will help make sure that your e-mail looks professional and get the attention of the reader.

#1 - OBTAIN A SEPARATE (job search only) E-MAIL ACCOUNT:

Use this e-mail address on your resumes and for corresponding with recruiters, contacts and prospective employers. Do not give this out to your friends and family or your favorite on-line shopping sites. The purpose of this career only account is to help you stay focused on your job search. By setting up an e-mail account for only career purposes you minimize the potential for distraction.


This means at a minimum three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). It is highly recommended that you log on more often as recruiters often use this medium to inform you of potential leads and possibilities. Ignore this rule and you may find that your golden opportunity has passed you by.


How would you feel if you left someone a phone message and he/she did not respond promptly? Offended because he/she did not take the time to respond back? Worried that maybe the message never made it to him/her? It’s no different with e-mail. The rules of common courtesy still apply. Whenever possible, reply within the same day. Make sure that you respond to all e-mail with-in 24 hours at the latest. Do this even if only to say that you received the original e-mail and will need more time to do what is requested.


The subject line is the first thing that a person sees when he/she checks his/her e-mail. Make it worthwhile. Best practice is to summarize the overall purpose/objective of the e-mail in the subject line. “ACME Brick position” will work. However, “Follow-Up: ACME Brick Fin Mgr Position” is better. Keep in mind that the person that you are e-mailing may receive dozens of e-mails each day. When short on time, he/she will scan the subject lines of his/her e-mails and answer the ones that seem most important first.


Poor spelling and grammar can make you appear at best careless and at worst poorly educated. Neither characterization is appealing when worn by the job seeker. Read over and spell-check each e-mail before you send it. If you don’t have access to spell-check, then utilize the services of a friend or your trusty dictionary. The extra few seconds won’t break your schedule and might make all the difference in your job search.


Think back to all the English papers you wrote in high school. Now make sure that your e-mail correspondence does not look anything like that (except as mentioned in the previous point). E-mail is a casual and direct form of business correspondence. As a general rule, try and keep your e-mail under a page. Do not waste time with fancy words or flowery phrases. Make your point using the smallest amount of words reasonably possible. Remember that your target audience is often short on time. If they open up your e-mail and it looks like an essay, they may become frustrated and not bother to read it at all.


Never forget that you are looking for a job. Save the smiley faces, colored fonts, exclamation points, etc. for your friends and family. For the most part, they do not belong in your job-search e-mails. Also, e-mails may be informal business communication, but do not throw all rules of etiquette out the window. Always be courteous in your writing.


You should close each e-mail with a proper sign-off. It may be as simple as “Thanks-Jeff Smith”. Often times, it is useful to include contact information as well as any certifications in your sign-off. Many e-mail services (i.e., MS Outlook) have an auto signature function that allows you to set up a customized sign-off that can be inserted at the end of your e-mail.


E-mail is indeed a powerful tool for the job seeker, but keep in mind that the decision to use it or not may depend on your audience. While most employers have welcomed the technology age and happily accept e-communication, there are some who may not be as comfortable. With the latter, it is often a good idea to stick to the phone or postal mail for your correspondence. How to tell the difference? It’s often easiest to just ask. More often than not, they will be an e-mail aficionado.

About The Author

Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at Nathan has over 10 years of experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.

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