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Top Tips for Writing the Perfect Job Application Email

Oct 9, 2018

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Just think how many emails we scroll through every day. Spam, scams, offers and info that inevitably finds its way into our junk folders.

But when so much of the modern job application process is conducted via email, what can you do to fight this?

How can you make sure that your important message doesn’t fall by the wayside too? Well here are some top tips to help you craft the perfect job application email and make sure your email gets noticed. 

How to Write a Formal Email for a Job Application

Fact. An accompanying email is just as important as any other part of your job application. That’s why you need to consider it part of your application.

Just like body language gives us away in an interview, a job application email can make the perfect first impression.

So let’s begin at the beginning shall we?

Subject Lines

First things first, a strong subject line is vital. It’s the first thing potential employers see and it can go a long way in deciding whether your email gets opened or deleted.

It’s the perfect chance to introduce yourself and make sure that your CV gets into the right hands. So here are a few things to bear in mind.

Tell them why you’re writing.

In your subject line, include the job title and any reference numbers included on the company’s website.

Be Brief.

Nobody will read an email with a mile-long subject title, so don’t go into detail here.

Be specific.

Make it crystal clear who you want to speak to.

Here are some of the best email subject lines when submitting a resume.

·         Social Media Assistant – Your Name

·         Finance Internship (Reference No: xx) – Your Name

·         Your Name - Application for Consultancy Manager Position

Titles

Here’s a lesson I learnt the hard way. Always know the name of the person you’re contacting. It shows that you’ve done your research and makes an instant good impression.

If there is no named person on the listing, see if you can find out from social media or the company website who the hiring manager is.

Don’t forget that email is generally pretty casual, so unless the company you are applying to is very old-school, address the email ‘Hi [First Name]’, not ‘Dear Mrs. [Surname]’.

If all else fails, don’t guess. Simply address it ‘To whom it may concern.’ Don’t send straight to the CEO if they aren’t listed as the person on the job spec – you’re unlikely to skip the queue by going straight to the boss.

Closings

Keep it polite and keep it brief. ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Best wishes’ will always do the trick.  If you don’t know the person you’re writing to (which as we’ve already mentioned, you should!) then ‘Yours faithfully’ is the technically correct option for a letter but for email again make an educated guess based on the company’s overall formality.

Remember, an email signature is a great place to put important contact information like your phone number, email and social media handles.

But as this isn’t a cover letter, you don’t have to include certain formal aspects like dates or addresses.

Job Application Email Body

Getting the email body right is, of course, absolutely crucial. And here’s the thing:

Unless the job asks specifically for a separate cover letter, or includes room for a personal statement, your email is your cover letter.

Don’t think because this is an email you need to keep it to one or two lines. Write as much as you feel you need to convey your fit for the role. Just don’t go overboard. Your employer’s time is precious and they won’t have time to sit through a novel.

First Paragraph

Just as you would with a cover letter, use your first paragraph to explain why you’re writing. Tell them the position you’re applying for and the website or jobs board where you found it. If you’re lucky enough to have a referral – get it in nice and early here.

Second Paragraph

Here’s where you can really sell yourself. Tell them why you’re right for the position and why the company is right for you. Make sure you highlight any key work experience and skills.

Remember, you don’t want to just copy your CV. A great job application email will highlight your most relevant achievements and build upon what your CV says, not simply regurgitate the same information.

Third Paragraph

Draw your email to a close by thanking the reader for their time and mentioning whether you have any additional material attached. On that note – MAKE SURE YOU ATTACH YOUR ATTACHMENTS!

It may sound crazy but sometimes we spend so much time focussing on the email content that we forget to include all those important extras. So don’t even think about hitting send until you’ve checked, checked and checked again.

Before you sign off, it can also be a good idea to include a time frame to give the recipient an additional nudge to respond.

Something like:

‘I hope to hear from you soon but I appreciate you are probably very busy, so if it is OK I will follow up in a week if you haven’t had a chance to respond’.

This underlines your proactivity and frames the email as part of ongoing correspondence, not just a message out of the blue.

Formal Email Tone of Voice

The good news is you’ve done most of the hard work. Email structure is a tough art to master but while you concentrate on the perfect paragraph construction it’s important not to let your content slip.

In general it’s best to avoid colloquialisms, abbreviations and, dare I say, emojis? However, if the company’s job description is full of them then, by all means, salsa lady to your heart’s content.

Remember: it is important thing is to match their tone of voice.

But as a rule of thumb or if you are unsure, keep it formal. 

That goes for your email address too. Nothing undermines a well-written email than seeing the sender is called ladeezman43@hotmail.com.

Keep It Personal

This is crazy. But a lot of people think copying and pasting a basic email template is a shortcut to success. But the reality is recruiters can see through copycat content, even if you cunningly insert the company’s name and the job title in.

So make your email unique to the company you’re applying to. List some specific projects of theirs you found interesting or inspiring to make them sit up and take notice.

If you can’t really be bothered to write a personalised email then this probably isn’t the role or company for you.

When it comes to job applications, less is more.

On a practical note, try to avoid ‘I’ sentences. Phrases like ‘I want to work’ and ‘I believe I would’ pull the emphasis away from the employer’s needs. It’s important not to focus solely on you.

Proofread Your Email

Your job application email gives you the chance to show that you’re work-ready, that you’re the person they should call up and hire right now. But that will never happen if your message is littered with mistakes.

Even small spelling errors could cost you an interview. So run your email through your favoured spellchecker.

Alternatively ask someone to proof read it with you. Susan P. Joyce suggests, ‘if possible, wait an hour or longer between writing, initial proofreading, and sending so that you have a chance to proofread again with relatively new eyes.’

For more information on proofreading your own work, take a look at our 6 Secrets to the Perfect Cover Letter.

Follow these simple steps and your emails will never see the junk bin again.

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