Essential Email Tips for the Job Search

Follow these steps to craft job search emails that look professional and get the attention of the reader:

1. Include a meaningful subject line: The subject line is the first thing that a person sees when he/she checks his/her e-mail. Make it work! The subject line should help clarify what your message is about and make your reader want to read your message before reading others. Examples include: "Application for inside sales representative position listing 54HX22"; "Follow-up to our meeting of 2/27 at the Ursinus Job & Internship Fair”

2. Use an Appropriate Greeting. Just like a written letter, be sure to open your email with an appropriate greeting like: Dear Dr. Miller, or Ms. Watson. DO NOT begin your communication with “Hey”.

3. Spelling and grammar rules apply. Pay attention to good grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Use the same rules you have for hard copy correspondence. THERE'S NOTHING WORSE THAN AN EMAIL SCREAMING A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS. By the same token, don't use all lower case letters.

4. KISS (keep it short and sweet). Write clear, short paragraphs and be direct and to the point; Don't write unnecessarily long emails. Remove excessive formatting and stylized text. No fancy words or flowery phrases

5. Avoid cute and funny. Be friendly, cordial, and kind, but don't try to joke around. Jokes and witty remarks may be inappropriate and may not come off well in email. Avoid "emoticons" (creative uses of punctuation) to communicate your thoughts or emotions. No smiley faces and limit use of exclamation points.

6. Consider a separate -job search only- email account. Create an e-mail address for 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. Reevaluate your e-mail alias and/or signature to determine their professionalism. Set up a new email account if your address is or

7. Check email regularly. Log on often and always respond promptly. 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.

8. Over and out. You should close each e-mail with a proper sign-off. It may be useful to include contact information in your sign-off. Many e-mail systems such as 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.

9. Consider the name. Name your attachment logically for the recipient. For example, "JenniferSueCreightonResume.doc” might work better than "Myresumeversion4”

10. Top Tip. Don't fill in the "to" field with the recipient's e-mail address until you've finished writing and editing the cover letter and resume. This prevents you from accidentally sending off the message before it is ready.