It’s important to make a good first impression to anyone you meet. When you’re trying to get hired for a new job, it’s even more critical. It only takes 100 milliseconds for someone to form an opinion of you, so that fraction of a second better be a good one or you may have just sentenced your email to the trash folder to never be seen again.
- Content is Key
As soon as a job candidate walks into a room, the interviewers form an opinion based on what they see. It’s psychology at its most basic form, which is also known the halo effect. A person who is well kempt, smiles when they meet you, and looks professional is viewed more positively. The halo effect holds true for email impressions as well. An email that is written professionally with correct punctuation and sentence syntax is held favorably and hopefully will give you an extra boost to advance to the next round of interviews.
- Have a Professional Email Address
A surefire way to never get an email opened is to have an inappropriate email address. An email account name like ILovePink2012@hotmail.com will never be taken seriously. There are many free email services, so take advantage and create an account that includes your first and last name. If that’s taken, try a period in-between.
- Usage of Emoticons and Jokes
It is never appropriate to include jokes or puns in a professional email. There are ways to come across as serious about the job opportunity while still remaining personable. Instead of a smiley face say “thank you very much” or “I look forward to hearing back.” A joke never has a place in an email to a recruiter because there is nothing worse than accidently offending someone who holds the key to your future career.
- Avoid Industry Jargon and Fluffy Language
Never write to a recruiter using industry language because it can come across as pretentious or be misconstrued. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you should always speak in layman’s terms. Writing an email using industry jargon does not always come across as knowledgeable. It’s much better to highlight your skill set by explaining and using specific examples of your accomplishments. Never assume that the first person reading your resume is in your industry and knows what it means to “mine big data to build a forecasting model for trend analysis.”
- Avoid Exclamation Points and ALL CAPS
Studies show that using exclamation points in social media receives more engagement, but the opposite is true for professional email etiquette. There are other ways to drive home your message without using an exclamation point or all caps. For example, instead of all caps, try italicizing a word. Challenge yourself to re-phrase a sentence when you feel the need to insert a conga line of exclamation points. There is always a better way to get your point across. Using all caps could be the single worst professional email faux pas. Recruiters reading an email subject line that says, “READ ME,” will point blank never get opened. Yes it will stand out from hundreds of other emails, but not in the right way. It’s not only unprofessional, but it looks like you’re literally screaming for attention.
A good practice you should follow is to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter or recipient and imagine what they think of an email when they open it. If you find yourself in doubt about the email, then follow your instincts and don’t send it because it could make all the difference in whether you land an interview or get hired.