Making an impact with the emails you send can be a tricky business. If you’re looking for work or for a placement, you’re probably in the midst of firing off messages to all the top employers and industry figures in your area and maybe even further afield.
Yet, such people receive a ton of emails like this (among a deluge of other daily correspondence), so the easiest thing for them to do when they receive one that requires more energy to process, is to reach for that trashcan icon. How can you make sure your emails don’t end up in the electronic bin?
There are two key principles to hold in place: professionalism and timing. If you’re asking about employment opportunities, the quickest way you can turn off a recruiter is by sending a badly formatted or poorly spelt email or one that is dotted with exclamation marks and emojis.
You might be the most talented potential recruit in the world, but you’ll never get the chance to prove it if you look like you’ve rushed your message or you don’t know how to communicate within a professional organization.
Timing-wise, the point is to show consideration for the amount of time that the recipient of your email will need to put into processing it. Every key element of an email can be traced back to this motive: structure, grammar, legibility, even the subject title will all have a bearing on how your email is processed.
Your subject line should be very specific, so that the recipient is prepared to digest the content of the email, and can prioritize if they sense it’s not urgent. You may think your job search is urgent, but if your message manipulates a potential boss into spending time reading your email when they have a big deadline ahead of them, you’re not going to make many friends!
State the purpose of the email within the first (short!) paragraph, because they are likely to skim across the rest if the message means nothing to them. Be concise, use bullet points if possible and be clear about whether you would like a response and what is the purpose of any documents you’ve attached.
A new infographic from Business Backer breaks down the anatomy of the perfect email into 36 discrete points that you can use to create a great message. Your email to potential employers may be your first impression on them: make it a good one!
John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans. Connect with him on LinkedIn.