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The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about email etiquette.

Essential Email Etiquette Advice for Job Seekers to Succeed

Guest Post by Freddie Tubs, Business Writer and Communication Manager at Ukwritings

Essential Email Etiquette Advice for Job Seekers to SucceedLooking for a job used to mean going out and handing out resumes, or maybe even making a few phone calls. But now almost all applying is done online, and a lot of businesses don’t even want you to walk in with your resume in hand. So, it’s important that you know a thing or two about how to properly email a potential employer. Here are seven email tips that will help you get hired.

Have a professional email address

This probably seems like common sense to most people, but it’s surprisingly common for people to send job seeker emails with an inappropriate email address. Don’t use an email with slang or really anything besides your first and last name. Soccer_fanatic95@hotmail.com is not a professional email address. It won’t matter how qualified you are, sending out emails with that address will never get you hired.

Send it to the right person

Do you know who you are applying to? Whenever possible, avoid addressing an email as “to whom it may concern.” Always try and find out who is the best person to send your message to. You have a much better chance doing this than just sending your email to a general company inbox. While you’re at it, send yourself a copy as well. By doing this you create a record of where you have already inquired and you won’t accidentally email the same company twice, that’s a big no-no.

Appropriate subject lines

Whenever you send out a job seeking email you need to include a subject line. Your subject line helps the recipient by letting them know what you are messaging them about. Not including a subject line, or a poorly chosen one, dramatically lowers the chance of your email being opened and read. Your email could even end up in a spam box. In your subject line write the position you are interested in, and you can include your name as well if you like. Companies receive a ton of email, so you need to give them a reason to open your email.

Write it like a business letter

Write your email formally, as if you were writing a business letter. That means no slang, no acronyms, and definitely no emoticons. Keep in mind that you are communicating with a person you would like to work for, not your friends and family. Begin your email with a polite salutation and close it with a signature. The only real difference between your email and a formal business letter is that you don’t need to include the recipient’s contact information in the upper left corner. In every other aspect it should be identical to a letter you would send in the mail.

Include a signature

As mentioned above, end your email with a signature. We’re not talking about the kind you would write on paper, but an email signature. Your signature will include your first and last name, your email address, your street address, and your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, then strongly consider setting one up. They are very useful for showing recruiters your skills.

Properly edit and format your email

Part of following proper email etiquette is taking the time to edit and format your email. As a job seeker, you don’t want to leave in any mistakes that could disqualify you.

Don’t forget the attachments

Don’t forget to attach any documents you have mentioned in your letter. If you forget and need to send a second email with the attachments, you will not make a good impression. These documents, such as resumes, are important because they give the employer a lot of information you don’t have time to discuss in your email.

Conclusion

The majority of applying for jobs now happens online. Your email skills and etiquette are very important because they are the first impression you make on an employer. Use these seven email tips that will help you get hired

About the Author

Freddie Tubbs is a business writer and a communication manager at Ukwritings. He regularly attends recruiting and communications events, and contributes columns to Boomessays and Essayroo blogs.

9 Tips Every IT Contractor and Job Seeker Must Read Before Sending Email from a Phone

9 Tips Every IT Contractor and Job Seeker Must Read Before Sending Email from a PhoneMany IT contractors always keep their smart phone attached to them because the plethora of apps mean they can always be connected to family, friends and work. Among the many apps that keep you connected to work, email is arguably the most important but can also have the greatest failures.

In many ways, email etiquette when sending from your phone is the exact same as when sending from a computer. For example, you will always need to review the tone, use Reply All sparingly or know when it’s better to pick up the phone. However, there are also some distinct differences. Here are a few tips for anyone — IT contractors, job seekers, managers –to consider before sending an email from your phone.

  1. Get to know your email app. There are several mobile email apps available. Whether you’re using the native one to your phone or you have another you prefer, get to know it and ensure the settings are configured. How does your name display when you send an email? Is your signature block set-up (and do you want that “Sent from my mobile device” line)? Do you know all of the tools and how to properly format with bullet points and numbering when sending an email? Failing to review these early will result in unprofessional-looking emails.
  2. Keep them short. Sending emails from a phone is more time consuming compared to sending from a computer where you have a full-size keyboard. There’s also a higher margin for error. To save yourself time and embarrassment, keep the emails on your phone short. If it needs to be longer, jot down a few points in a draft and complete the email when you’re back at a computer.
  3. Don’t Be Too Short. Yes, it’s best to keep mobile emails succinct, but that doesn’t mean you can be lazy. Continue to have a quality subject line and include proper greetings and sign-offs. As well, keep in mind that an email from your phone is NOT a text message. There is no place for emoticons and typical cell phone short-hand. Finally, use subject-only emails sparingly. The email with no body and just a subject that says “Please send Susan that process document” may be efficient for you, but can be perceived negatively by your recipients.
  4. Avoid Long Blocks of Text. Another common flaw that appears in phone-generated emails is the massive brick of text, clearly written by somebody too lazy to hit the enter button. As noted in Tip #1, get to know your app so you can use bullets and line spacing to organize your email in the same way you would from a computer.
  5. Double-Check More Than Usual. While checking spelling is a given because of the nature of writing on a small keyboard and the jokes autocorrect sometimes plays, it’s also prudent to take a second look at the recipient you selected and the email account from which you’re sending.
  6. Have a Plan for Attachments. Do you have a way to access all of the attachments you may need to include in an email? If you did manage to load the files onto your phone, uploading them to emails uses data. Instead, keep files on a cloud account (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) that you can access from your phone and only send a link to those files.
  7. Be Careful of Emotions. At this point in your career, you know not to send an email when you’re in an emotional state (ie. Angry) because it’s too easy to write something you’ll regret. Your phone being so readily available will make it even more tempting and easy to send that email… don’t fall into the trap!
  8. Check Your Surroundings. It goes without saying that you should never write an email while driving. It’s also wise and courteous not to start firing off emails while socializing or meeting with other people. Not only is it rude, but the distractions almost guarantee mistakes will happen.
  9. Decide if It’s Necessary. Consider both the urgency and length of your response. If it can wait a few hours or you need to write specific details with attachments not currently available, then wait until you’re back at your desk where you can do it properly. Worst case, send a quick reply confirming you received the email, provide a brief answer, and let the sender know you’ll respond in more detail later.

Certainly you’ve been on both the sending and receiving end of a mobile email. If you’re like many others, you have mixed emotions about them too. How often do you send emails from your phone? Do you have any stories of mobile emails gone wrong? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Both Recruiters and Contractors Can Benefit from this Email Etiquette Infographic

We’ve all been in a situation when we sent or received an email that was perceived the wrong way. Especially when we’re in a hurry, it’s easy to unintentionally send a quick note that comes across as rude, delivers the wrong message, or is confusing. The result is hurt relationships or a miscommunication that results in nothing productive.

Both recruiters and contractors can be guilty of sending out emails that have not been thought out. Given the fact we all often use email for tasks as important as job searching, we should all take the time to review proper email etiquette and ensure we send only  quality emails. This infographic from the Business Backer will help you with just that. It’s quite thorough and provides dos and don’ts for every aspect of sending an email. Where can you improve?

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

How Recruiters Judge You before Your Resume

What an IT Contractor’s Email Address Tells a Recruiter Before They Even Read Their Resume

How Recruiters Judge You before Your ResumeA large part of a recruiter’s job is to judge people. That seems like a dream come true and quite natural for many people in this world, but recruiters have to strategically judge you. In addition to the basic math involved in reading your resume to see if your qualifications add up, they consider subtle details to see how you pay attention to detail, how professional you’ll be with clients, and how well you’ll interact with other IT professionals working on your project.

One of the first elements that a recruiter may notice is your email address. And if you have a back-and-forth email conversation with your recruiter, that personal branding element will continually appear in front of them.

An email address may seem like a trivial detail, but an article written by Jill Duffy at ITProPortal points out that it could speak volumes about who you are. According to Duffy, your address needs to follow 4 specific criteria:

  • Include Your Name in the Address: Your email address should include your name and, ideally, only your name. Try different combinations with initials, periods and hyphens until you find one that’s available. According to Duffy, you should avoid numbers at all costs, but if you must use one, keep it to a single digit.
  • Hosted by a Reputable Hosting Company: Free hosting services are fine as long as they are well-known ones such as Gmail or Yahoo, but also make sure it isn’t out-dated (Hotmail).
  • Do Not Use Your University or College Address: It’s great that you’re proud of the institution where you got your education, but it can send mixed messages to a recruiter. If the school is in a different city, they may question where you live, and they may also wonder if you’ve graduated yet.
  • Do Not Give Away Certain Information: It doesn’t matter how phenomenal you are at Dungeons & Dragons, DDExpert has no place in your address. Even if it’s related to your profession, for example JaneSQL@host.com, this isn’t advised. After all, maybe in 15 years, Jane won’t be interested in SQL jobs anymore. Similarly, Duffy says you should avoid birth years or locations in your address.

The complete post at ITProPortal goes into more detail and we recommend having a look if you’re interested in the topic. In the end, it’s important you see your email address from a recruiter’s eyes and when creating your email address, be in the mindset of creating it for life. This way recruiters, colleagues and clients can all contact you if they want to connect or need your services at any point in the future.

Before Sending a Rude Email, Ask These 5 Questions

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sending a Rude EmailMost people don’t intentionally send rude emails to recruiters, clients or fellow independent contractors. As stress increases, time decreases, and tense situations arise, though, it’s easy to fire off emails that quickly send your recipients into a defensive mode, and leave you perplexed as to why they’re so sensitive. What is even worse, though, is that you can damage your reputation and chance of getting future IT contracts without even knowing it.

If you’re still scratching your head to determine why people are being put off by your emails, have a look at the list below. Next time you’re sending an email, especially one that’s potentially sensitive, take a couple of extra minutes to ask yourself these questions and ensure you’re not going to start an unnecessary conflict.

Did I start and end the email nicely?

Some emails should be no different than a face-to-face conversation (many should be an in-person discussion, but that’s a different post all together). If you walk into a client’s office, blurt out a bunch of comments, and then leave, without the slightest greeting or closing, you can bet they’re going to be lost and offended. Since the average person types 40 words per minute, “Hello” and “Thank You” should take you all of 2 seconds to write. Please don’t be lazy.

Did I include enough information?

A vague email can lead to terrible miscommunications that seriously hurts an IT project. Depending on how vague it is, it can also leave the recipient making their own assumptions about your mood. To solve this problem, start with a clear subject line so they know exactly what the email is going to say. In the body, ensure you let them know precisely what you need, why you need it, and include any timelines. Feedback should also come with some context.

Additionally, refrain from blank, or nearly blank, emails, especially when forwarding. Jeff Bezos’s famous “?” emails are effective at Amazon, but you’re not Jeff Bezos. Including context clarifies your tone and keeps out the guess work.

Finally, although it’s important to have enough information, too much fluff is also an issue. People are busy and don’t want to read your emails as you dance around a topic. Be polite, but be direct.

Am I making them do the work?

When you send an email that references another document or email, do what you can to prevent the recipient from having to dig it up (and possibly dig up the wrong thing). At the minimum, including the date range and recipients of an original email so it can be sought out is better than “Find that email from Jane where she talks about that thing.” For attachments, also copy and paste the information directly into the body of an email. Many emails are checked on mobile devices and previewing attachments can be a hassle – your recipient will appreciate being able to scroll rather than download.

Did I include negative undertones?

This is the most important question to ask. It happens when we’re in a hurry and for many of us it’s just a bad habit, but negative undertones are easy to include in your emails without knowing it.

First, look at the basic punctuation. DON’T YOU THINK WRITING IN ALL CAPS WITH MANY EXCLAMATION AND QUESTION MARKS IS RUDE???!!!!????!!!! We do, and so do your other recruiters, clients and colleagues.

There are also more subtle signs to consider. Negative words such as “don’t” can affect the tone of an email. “Try writing it differently” sounds nicer than “Don’t write it like that.”

Even who you copy on an email could cause unwanted tension if it is perceived as tattling or pointing out mistakes to belittle. Think about who you are copying and why it’s important for them to be included.

Am I straight up being rude?

As much as you think that that lazy team member or neglectful recruiter deserves it, very rarely is a rude email going to solve your problem. Avoid barking orders, being pushy, or harshly criticizing. Instead, ask questions and provide solutions. If the conversation is going to be rough, then pick up the phone or walk over for a face-to-face conversation.

The moral of the story is that independent contractors should never send a rude email. It’s easy to fall into the trap during busy times or when you’re under pressure. When you know you’re at risk, take a few extra minutes to review what you wrote. You can also try saving it as a draft and returning to it later or asking a friend to review it. Remember, friends don’t let friends send rude emails.