Your resume is polished, you’ve written your email cover letter, and you’re about to hit send. Before you do, check these things off your list to make sure you stand out for the right reasons:
1. Email Address – Make sure it won’t provoke eye rolls.
Sign up for Gmail. It’s free and widely accepted as the best email service, and most people don’t have a negative opinion of it. Yahoo and Outlook are also acceptable. Just don’t use an AOL email address—no matter what your opinion of AOL, it can be seen as outdated and therefore only used by people who are technology-challenged.
Use your name as your email address. If your name is taken, add your middle initial or, if necessary, add a random number to the end. Don’t use anything in your email address that indicates your age, religion, political leanings or love of unicorns. Everyone has biases, whether they realize it or not. Don’t give people a reason to even subconsciously discriminate against you.
Examples of what NOT to do:
2. Subject Line – Make it descriptive.
The hiring manager you’re emailing gets inundated with email all day, so make sure your subject line makes it easy for them to find your message amongst the pack. Use a subject line that describes exactly what your email is about.
- If you’re including a resume for a particular job, include the job title
- Include your name
Example: Warehouse Manager Position – Dean Winchester’s Resume
3. Simplify – Make sure it’s simply written.
When emailing a prospective employer, remember that they’re busy and don’t want to read a ton. Also keep in mind that over half of email is read on mobile devices, so even a short message will look long on someone’s phone. Before hitting send, read through your email one last time to remove any unnecessary fluff. Keep it to a few clear sentences that get straight to the point about your specific skill set and experience.
Also, make sure your font is sans serif and between 11-14 point size so it’s easy to read on a mobile device.
4. Tone – Make sure you sound like a human.
When wanting to sound professional, it’s easy to accidentally sound like a robot. Try not to. You can be respectful and professional while still sounding human. Warm respectfulness is a good tone to aim for, and achieving it can be as simple as making your email’s last sentences friendly and less formal.
Example of friendly closing: Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
5. Sign-Off – Make it professional.
Some people say this is a good place to stand out with something unusual, like “To your sizzle, spark and stardom”. If that’s you, then go for it – just try not to come off as a phony.
Otherwise, your best choices are:
- Thank you
- Best Regards
6. Email Signature – Make it useful.
It’s good to make your email signature something a hiring manager could easily reference when they want to get in touch. Again, keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm the reader with a hundred ways to contact you.
What to include:
- Your name (of course)
- One preferred phone number
- If your LinkedIn profile is up to date, include your custom LinkedIn profile link.
Your email address
- This is slightly controversial, as some say the recipient obviously has your email address because you just emailed them. But including it allows a busy hiring manager to have all your contact info in one place, and it lets them start a new email thread to you by just clicking on the email address in your signature.
What to leave out:
- Images and logos. Images can be blocked in email messages and can look like clutter.
- Your home address. It’s more clutter.
- Colorful or hard-to-read fonts.
Now, with these tips in mind, you’re ready to hit send—and take the next step in landing the job.