Email Etiquette When Looking For A Job

Email etiquette when looking for a job is important because it’s very likely much of your job search communication will happen by email – and some by phone. Every point of contact you have puts your professionalism under a microscope, so be careful with your email etiquette and phone etiquette.

Act like every email and phone call is part of a job interview.Job Application Email

How Is Your Email Address?

If your email address looks like it compromises your reputation. Your email address may be the first thing your potential employer notices, so make sure it is professional and promotes respect.

Set up a new gmail email address if you need to (gmail will appear more ‘current’).

Write SMART Email Subject Lines

An Email Subject Line that says: Resume or even Resume of Bruce Mayhew will likely not get a reply unless you are the only applicant.

Your future boss (hopefully), may get 50, 100 or more applications, so… you have to stand out. Your email subject line should identify the job you want and why your resume is important (to them – not you). Integrate keywords into your email subject line… in around 8 words. For Example: Executive Travel Coordinator Application / World Traveler Bruce Mayhew

Say Hello / Salutation (CRITICAL)

Every email – especially email sent to your future boss should have a greeting; otherwise you look abrupt and rude. Use ‘Dear Mr. Mayhew’ or perhaps ‘Thank you for this opportunity Mr. Mayhew’. Even ‘Good morning’ would work (especially if you can’t find their name).

Names are important to people. When someone uses our name we naturally pay attention. If you don’t know their name, check LinkedIn, go online and looked for the company directory and/or call the company and ask the receptionist. There is no better way to get noticed than to value social niceties and relationship building.

Use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ only as a last resort.

Your Main Message

Get to the point and write full sentences. Start with one or two short sentences about why you are right for the job. If your opening is ‘Please find my attached resume’ you might as well work on your tan instead.

Use punctuation which means start sentences with a Capital and finish them with a period (I recently trained someone who had a hard time with this – and they were not a Millennial), and be sure you check grammar and spelling. Be professional, polite (but not too polite), and grateful for the opportunity (but not too grateful).

When you finish writing, save your draft, go away and return to re-read/edit.

Every email should have a call for action. Usually your call to action would be one of the first things in your email – but for a resume put your call to action second after you’ve let them know why you are special.

Reply To Email In Less Than 24 Hours

A quick email reply is respectful. Lets say they want more documentation but you are on your way to the cottage for 4 days with only your smartphone. Do you hold off before replying? NO! Especially because you are looking for a job, reply to email asap and let them know when you will send the documentation. Better yet, phone them and establish a one-on-one relationship. As soon as they hear your voice, you will have an advantage over everyone else… relationships are just that way.

If you’ll be out of range for a few days use an Out of Office message. Be polite and friendly and remember – your future boss may be receiving the message.


Missing attachments are one of the easiest ways to make a really bad impression when using email when looking for a job. Attach your resume before addressing your email so you don’t forget.

Closing & Signature

If you use an automatic signature line (which is a great time management best practice), be sure it is appropriate for your potential future employer. Include your full name, email address and primary phone number. If you write a relevant blog, link to it as well, but be careful because some organizations’ firewalls block email that have links, you may want to check.

After Your Interview

Congratulations, all your attention to detail as you were looking for a job has paid off and you got an interview.

After your interview send a ‘thank you for the interview’ email. Then, as George Armes suggests in his article, send a handwritten note by mail/post… where you use a stamp. Do this quickly; I recommend the same day so be prepared and have everything ready in advance (including the stamp).

Happy communicating and job hunting.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting

If you enjoyed this Business Communication blog post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.

Connect with Bruce on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Mindfulness, Time Management and more.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to the right to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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