Today’s post is from Dana Manciagli, a veteran career coach, global career expert, highly sought-after speaker and a top “Woman of Influence” in the Seattle area. Dana is also a regular contributing writer to The Business Journals, through her Career Mojo column. Her insights and guidance have led thousands to career growth. Here, she offers suggestions to help job seekers master the job search or networking email.
E-mail is the primary method of communication for job searching and networking in general. Your e-mails should stand out because they are one of the better written ones. Inboxes are filled with crappy ones, too. Don’t be crappy. Here’s how:
- “The Law of Threes.” Say no more than 3 things in your email, then close it with your commitment to a next step. This will not only prevent you from rambling, but it will help the recipient to grasp your main points quickly.
- Send your email to yourself first. There is no better way to wear the shoes of your recipient than to send the email to yourself first. Open it, read it aloud to catch mistakes, and print it to see how it looks as a paper document. I guarantee you WILL find things to edit.
- Count the number of times you use variations of “I” versus “You.” Remember, this job search is not about you. This communication, whether it is an application, a networking e-mail, or a follow-up, is all about them and how you believe you are the best candidate and employee for them.
- Write in Microsoft Word then copy to email. Write your business letter in Microsoft Word then copy and paste that letter into your email body. This accomplishes two things: it will look nicer and you can save a copy of your letter in your documents folder.
- Proofread, proofread and proofread again. Check for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization and typing errors. All recruiters and hiring managers continue to be amazed at the amount of typos, missing commas and run-on sentences. How should you proofread?
• Read the email to yourself out loud.
• Send it to a friend or family member to proof for you.
• Read it from the bottom up.
• Correct all words and phrases underlined by the red, blue and green squiggles that Microsoft generates for you.
- When following up, attach the old message(s). So often, when I receive a follow-up to a job inquiry, I get a fresh email from the candidate. “Ms. Manciagli, I sent you my résumé two weeks ago and I am writing to follow up.” Résumé? Always make it easy for the recipient to engage! Send your follow-up as a forward of the previous email AND reattach any previously submitted attachments, such as your cover letter and résumé.
- Bullet points are king. Very few people like to pore over long, wordy emails. In the main body of your email, use bullets to outline your key points. The opening and closing sentences should be full sentences, but the core can be bullet points.
Remember to take your time, proof your messages well and always err on the formal side.
About the Author
Dana Manciagli is a career expert, speaker and consultant. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive and is now retired after more than a decade at Microsoft. Dana is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.