First impressions are everything, especially when you’re searching for a new job. You probably wouldn’t show up for a job interview wearing your gym clothes and a baseball cap, nor would you greet the hiring manager with a fist bump instead of a firm handshake—because you understand that your appearance, your words, and your actions ultimately all reflect on your professionalism, and on your desirability as a candidate.
But of course, in many cases, the interview is not your first impression, not truly. In today’s world, there’s often a fair amount of back-and-forth e-mailing that goes on between you and the HR manager or recruiter, long before you even have a phone interview, much less an in-person one. Thus, some of the very first impressions about your character and your professionalism will come from your e-mails—how they’re worded, how they’re sent, and how you convey good manners even through electronic communication.
The Basics of E-mail Etiquette
For jobseekers, then, mastering the fundamentals of e-mail etiquette is important. Many tips will go without saying—you don’t want to send out professional e-mails laden with typos or text-message abbreviations, for instance—but a few more salient points include:
- In addition to Internet slang and text message abbreviations, you’ll also want to weed out jokes, emoticons, and any instances of deadpan or sarcasm. It’s not that there isn’t any room for a sense of humor in the job search, but these things can often be misconstrued over e-mail—so why risk it? Just stick to straightforward professionalism.
- Use a professional e-mail address, which is not the same thing as saying use your current work e-mail address. Set up a Gmail or some other account that includes just your name, or a variation on it—not something like RunnerGal1983 or VolsFan or Springsteen4Life or what have you.
- When you receive an e-mail from a hiring manager or recruiter, respond within 24 hours if possible, 48 hours at the absolute most. If you don’t particularly have anything to say, then simply confirm receipt of the previous e-mail.
- Don’t use all-caps or exclamation points in professional e-mails. There’s no need to yell.
- Finally, remember that while professionalism is the order of the day, there is always room for a little enthusiasm. Make it clear that you’re interested in the job—that you really want it. If you’re on the fence about it, that’s likely to come through in your communications, so work to convey your real excitement, or else just move on to the next opportunity.
Every e-mail you send to a potential employer is an opportunity to convey your professionalism—and your desire for the job in question. To learn more about the best job search protocol, please contact our team today. Grammar Chic, Inc. can be reached at 803-831-7444, or at http://www.grammarchic.net.
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