Whether you’ve just submitted a job application, are thinking about submitting a job application, or simply want to inquire about open positions at a company, sending a “cold” e-mail can often be advantageous. You may not really know the person you’re e-mailing, but it never hurts to be proactive and to try to establish some level of connection. Of course, there is no guarantee that your e-mail will get a response, or have any effect at all—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
In fact, there are some steps that any jobseeker can take to enhance the effectiveness of a “cold” e-mail to a would-be employer. Here are a few tips that the Grammar Chic team recommends:
- Do some research. You probably know by now that, before going in for a job interview, you should do a little bit of research, trying to figure out what the company culture is like, what its values are, what it actually does. The same is true for sending a cold e-mail. Get to know the company, but also get to know the person you’re e-mailing—what he or she does, what his or her job title is, and so on. LinkedIn is a great tool for this research.
- Be specific with your subject line. You should always operate under the assumption that you’re e-mailing a busy person who gets lots of e-mails each day. If your subject line is something like “hello,” you’re less likely to get a response. Instead, offer detail: “Intro e-mail from Bobby Smith, from last week’s conference,” or “UNC senior hopeful for internship.”
- Don’t ramble. Shoot for no more than two or three short paragraphs. Respect the person’s time. Get right to the point, and lay out exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Show some enthusiasm. Remember that you’re making a first impression, and the last thing you want is for that impression to be lackluster, unengaged, or blasé.
- Send work samples. This won’t be possible in every field, of course—but if you have some sort of a digital portfolio to share, it doesn’t hurt to pass it along.
- Proofread your e-mail. And if you need help with that, call the Grammar Chic, Inc. team!
In fact, you’re welcome to contact us with any job search, resume writing, or proofreading inquiries: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.
Earlier in the year, the Grammar Chic team blogged about six elements that need to be removed from your resume right now. Today, we’re going to take the opposite approach, and list a few things that you should never, ever, under any circumstance take off your resume.
Let’s be clear: Your resume should be a fluid thing. You should revise it routinely, and you should amend it to reflect the specifics of whatever job you’re currently applying for. Even as your resume goes through changes, though, certain parts of it should remain consistent—including each of the following:
- Before your resume is ever seen by human eyes, there’s a good chance that it will pass through some computer scanning programs, which will scour it for necessary keywords. If you don’t have the right keywords, there’s a decent chance your resume will be tossed out before it’s even read. So how do you know which keywords to include? Look at the job posting itself, and include some words and phrases that stand out as important.
- Appropriate contact information. By appropriate, we mean a phone number, an e-mail address, and perhaps even a URL to your LinkedIn profile. Multiple phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not necessary, and in fact may be more frustrating and confusing than they are helpful.
- Specific accomplishments. We say this over and over, and in many ways it’s the cardinal rule of resume writing: Unless you’ve never really had a job before, you need to provide a career narrative that includes some actual achievements, including specific numbers or results. Don’t settle for a list of responsibilities; prove that you fulfilled those responsibilities well.
- An executive summary. Before you get down into the career narrative, make sure to include a paragraph or so that outlines exactly what you bring to the company. Simply put: Your recruiter or hiring manager may not have the time or the interest in reading your full resume, at least not at first. Make sure you have a summary that conveys your value.
- A cover letter. Perhaps this one is a cheat—it’s not really “on” your resume—but we’d recommend always having a cover letter ready to go out with your resume. Ensure that it’s tailored to the position in question; a generic one won’t do!
For help incorporating any of these resume elements, or drafting an effective cover letter, contact the Grammar Chic offices: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.