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Submitting a job application via email

Wednesday, 18 October 2017
There are multiple ways of applying for a job. One of the most common is via email. It's easy to over think how you phrase things or what is and isn't appropriate. A poorly written email can create problem, so here are a couple of tips when it comes to applying for a job via email.

There are several parts to an email

  1. The subject line
  2. The greeting
  3. They body of text
  4. The signature

The first thing that will be seen is the subject line, so what you write here and what you don't write here is important. As long as you have a professional tone, it's unlikely that you’re going to get rejected simply for what you put in the subject line. But what you write can affect the reader's opinion of you. You don't want the interviewer rolling their eyes because you tried to be clever and it backfired.

For example - if I was applying for a reception position, a professional sounding subject line could be

  • Reception position
  • Application for Reception position
  • Application for Reception position – Steven Last

These are all professional subject lines and there are many others variants you could use. Basically your subject line should communicate that this email is a job application for a specific position.

Keep your subject line short and specific. If it's longer than one sentence, 10 words or so, then it's probably too long.

I would like to apply for the reception position I saw advertised on SEEK, is too long for a subject line.

Avoid making yourself stand out in the wrong way. Make yourself standout is always the advice you hear when it comes to the job application process. Some people go too far though, or do it the wrong way. While a creative subject line is intended to stand out, it can have the opposite effect. It could make it harder to understand what the email about, or worst case come across as spam.

While I don't think you have to worry about an employer ignoring your emails; if they looks like spam, they may not give your email their full attention.

Things like - Your next great receptionist, I'm the perfect candidate for the job, your search for a receptionist is over, or HIRE ME! These are definitely different, but they aren’t the way to go.

Next comes the salutation. Depending how formal you want your email to be determines what salutation you should use. Think who you're sending the email to, and how it should be addressed.

Formal language is often used when speaking to this in a higher position or when you don't know someone. If you've never spoken to the recipient or been introduced, as is common with job applications, then formal is a good choice. For example, a formal salutation would be - Dear Mr Smith, or Hello Mrs Brown.

In contrast informal language is used to communicate with those you're familiar with. A simple Hi Fred, or just Hello will often do when communicating informally. Match your audience with your language type and you'll come across as polite and respectful.

The email's body of text is where you talk about yourself, what you can offer and why this makes you suitable for the position. Keep in mind that your resume and cover letter are going to be attached to this email, so don't just copy paste that information here. Briefly introduce yourself and what the purpose of the email is, in this case it’s applying for a job in a specific position. You could highlight the most relevant point from your cover letter to grab their interest and then direct them to your attached resume and cover letter.

The final thing you need to do is attach an email signature. Your signature should include your name and contact information to make it easy for them to contact you.

That’s the basics of email writing, here’s a few final things to keep in mind when writing an email.

Don’t rush your email or you risk making mistakes. Once you’ve finished writing an email proofread it to make sure everything is correct. Spellcheck is good, but occasionally things slip through.

Don’t send emails when you’re emotional, you could end up saying things you normally wouldn’t. Come back with a clear mind and you’ll be able to write a better email.

Be concise. Unless it adds something, there’s no need to say something in a paragraph that can be said in a sentence. It also makes it easier to pick out the important information.

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