Email Etiquette in Your Job Search

All of your communications with professional contacts such as interviewers, networking contacts, mentors, etc. send a message about your professionalism, attention to detail, respect for others and your communication skills.  Email can often be more challenging because you do not have the benefit of reading body language for a reaction.  Here are some tips to create a positive impression with your email communications.

  • Brand You.  Ensure that all your electronic communication is consistent with your personal brand.
  • Respect Others.  All communication should be professional and respectful of others.  General rule of thumb, never put anything in email that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper or in the hands of the company president.  If you have a delicate issue to address, it is best to do it in person.
  • Subject Line.  Be sure your subject line is specific so recipients know exactly what is contained.  Give them a reason to read it.
  • Use “Reply All” Sparingly.  Does everyone on the cc really need to see your response?
  • Contact information.  Be sure your full contact information is included at the bottom of the email so people know how to contact you if necessary.
  • Proofread.  Do not rely on spell check.  The word may be spelled correctly but it may be the wrong word.  Carefully proofread emails before hitting send.
  • Perspective.  Read your communication from the perspective of the recipient.  Is it clear and professional?  Do you provide all the information and context they require?  Is your tone appropriate?
  • Be realistic.  Don’t expect an immediate response.  People are busy and your email may not be their top priority.  Avoid being an email stalker.  Wait a couple days before following up by email.  If it is more urgent, give them a call.

Use email professionally and respectfully and it can help you build and maintain healthy relationships in the workplace and in your job search.


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