Each morning as I sift through the Central Careers Service inbox, I often find myself amazed at the amount of unprofessional and often careless emails received from students. Whether you’re sending an email to an employer, a lecturer or someone that you have never met, it is essential to be professional, polite and to the point at all times.
1. Greet your Reader
• If you know the person well – ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’
• If you don’t know the person then use their title and surname – Mr/Miss/Mrs etc
• If you don’t know who will receive your email – ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
2. Don’t Beat around the Bush
As an English graduate I truly (and geekily) appreciate the gems that are topic sentences! For those of you who don’t remember that English lesson in school, you should make your point in the first sentence to signpost the paragraph and give further explanation in the text that follows e.g. “I would like to book an appointment to get my CV checked. I am currently looking to apply for x roles and would like to get some advice on…”. Few people will have the time to read through long rambling stories before finally reaching the point at the end. Give the reader a break; they probably have a million emails to get through.
3. Use a Professional Email Account
So it’s probably about time that you ditched the email account that you set up when you were 14 to talk to your friends on msn and create a new account. Many of us have once been the owner of an account that resembled something like: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, ‘Iemail@example.com’, and ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ (this definitely was not mine, honest). Sending emails from an address like this looks hugely unprofessional and could even have a detrimental effect on the outcome of your email. If you want to be taken seriously, set up a serious email account, or make use of your University account.
4. Give your Email a Title
Fill in the subject line with something meaningful to the receiver. This makes life much easier for the person reading the email as they can get the gist of what the email is about before opening it up. This also helps to draw attention to your email and prevent it from getting lost in the sea of emails in the person’s inbox.
5. Use Appropriate Language and Font
• Use a consistent and appropriate font size and style such as 11 or 12 Arial or Times New Roman.
• Don’t use emoticons such as 🙂 and :(, phrases such as LOL or too many exclamation marks!!!!!11
• DON’T USE CAPITALS AS IT LOOKS REALLY AGGRESSIVE AND RUDE AND MAY BE MISTAKEN AS SPAM.
6. Rules of Attachments
• Make reference to attachments in your email – don’t just assume that they have been spotted. On several occasions I have received emails from students with a CV attached, no subject line, message or any explanation of the reason for the email. A careers adviser will happily check over your CV given that you ask politely and don’t made rude assumptions. A hello, goodbye, please and thank you will go a long way.
• Check that you have attached the file before clicking send, otherwise you’ll be sending a second apologetic email and your files could get separated.
• Label your attachments clearly and appropriately e.g. ‘Joe Blogs CV’. Doing this you can make life that little bit easier for your reader who can save your file without having to edit it on your behalf or struggle to find it in the future.
7. Proof Read and Review
There’s nothing worse than sending a CV and Cover Letter to an employer via email and noticing that you have made a whole array of spelling and grammar mistakes. Proof read it a few times or email it to yourself to see exactly how it will look to the recipient.
8. Closing Remarks
At the end of your email it is polite to thank your reader or include some closing remarks. You might choose: ‘I look forward to hearing from you’, ‘Thank you for your patience’ or ‘If you require anything further please do not hesitate to contact me’ etc. This should be followed by ‘kind regards’, ‘sincerely’ or ‘thank you’ followed by your name. For a truly professional touch you could also set up a signature with your full name, address and contact telephone.
If you require any further assistance with writing professional emails or sending your CV and cover letter to an employer then please contact the Careers and Add+vantage Service on 02477652011 or visit us on the first floor of the Hub building (at the end of the food court).