Have been busy, have been working.... Here's what I've been working on:
Whether you're trying to catch up with old friends, firing off a letter to your contact-point in a business deal or sticking your finger into the cyber-dating scene, e-mail is becoming an increasingly vital tool of communication.
Over 298 million people around the globe "actively" use e-mail -- a number that's predicted to grow to 440 million by 2008, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. With an estimated 36 billion emails sent per day in 2005 alone. [IDC Research]
E-mail is particularly useful for job seekers, being a fast (and free), efficient way to send their resumes to recruiters not barring distance or geographical terrain. And, numerous professional surveys suggest that the majority of recruiters prefer to receive resumes via e-mail.
But even with these advantages, a set of potential pitfalls might get in the way of your career prospects. E-mail has its own set of social rules that have to be followed. e-mail etiquette is especially important for job seekers to follow.
Create a Brand New E-mail Account:
If you happen to be employed currently, it is a good idea to avoid using your corporate e-mail address for your job search, because, though unethical, your employer might be sneaking peeks at your outgoing mails as well as your inbox.
It's always better to set up a brand new e-mail account to be used exclusively for your search.
Creating an e-mail account is just a matter of a few clicks these days. You can get a new e-mail account from any of several e-mail providers like Yahoo!, MSN, Google, etc. These free providers will give you a certain amount of e-mail space at absolutely no cost. Whatever you do though, just be sure to check your account regularly since most providers tend to deactivate accounts that seem to have fallen into disuse.
While creating the account, it might also be a good idea to use your name or job title in the e-mail address to make it clear who the e-mail is coming from. This tends to score a lot better than the usual run-of-the-mill chatroom names, like fancy_talker or green_eyed_angel. It might take a few tries to find a unique e-mail address, but whatever the end result is, try your best to keep it professional.
Stay Away From Funky Formats:
There are a very large number of people who love to snazz up their e-mail messages by including colourful fonts, wacky fonts, creative wallpaper and animated .gif images.
All of these are fine if you're sending an e-mail to your girlfriend or your eight-year old daughter, but not if you're e-mailing a recruiter.
While writing your e-mail to a recruiter,
Do not include images, animations or use e-mail wallpaper. Do not use "emoticons" -- those little text pictures or faces like - :) (a smiling face), ;) (a winking face), etc. Use an easy-to-read font that's common to most computers (e.g., MS Sans, Times New Roman, Courier New, Arial or Helvetica). Use either a 10-point or 12-point font size. Always make sure that you use a '_black_' font on a '_white_' background.
Composing Thoughts: Keep It Short and Sweet
An e-mail message to a recruiter is not the place to get all wordy and superfluous. Recruiters are by definition, busy people, and they will greatly appreciate it if you get right to the point.
To make the text of your e-mail professional and effective:
Try your best to get a 'real name' instead of just addressing your message to "Human Resources" or "To whom it may concern". Say in your first statement, exactly what job posting it is that you are responding to, and where exactly you saw the posting. If the job posting provides a job ID number, make a mention of that as well. Provide your full contact information (full name, home address and phone number, etc.). At the very end of your message, if you have attached your resume, write "Resume attached". It serves as a reminder for the recruiter to actually 'open' your resume. If you've pasted your resume in the actual body of the e-mail itself, write "Resume below" at the end of your introductory message (It pays to be as formal and direct as you can!). When it comes to the subject line, keep it as brief and informative as possible. If Richard Smith is applying for a job as a Market Analyst, a good subject line is "RE: Market Analyst opening, resume of Richard Smith".
First Contact: Sending Your Resume
Sending an e-mail to a recruiter is much more complicated than merely clicking on the "Send" button. To ensure that you send the perfect e-mail, it would be wise to have a procedure in place to catch any mistakes or typos and make sure that the recruiter sees exactly what you want him or her to see.
NEVER put an address in the "To" field until you are 100 percent ready to send the e-mail. I've heard so many stories about job seekers who have sent half-finished messages to recruiters because they accidentally clicked "Send", hit carriage return while focused on the address box, or clicked the wrong button.
When you're absolutely sure that your message is ready, e-mail it to yourself as a test. Most people are not aware of the fact that they can e-mail themselves, but it works. You should set it up as a standard procedure while composing your e-mail. This will allow you to see exactly what the recruiter will see when s/he receives your mail. If you're confident that everything looks good, you can go ahead and send the message to the recruiter.
But accidents do happen. You might have made a small mistake (like a typo) or a phenomenally huge mistake (like not attaching your resume) when you were sending off your e-mail.
Don't panic: Panic never solves anything!
Just assess your options. Check if your e-mail program has a "Recall" function.
If you are unable to recall the vagrant e-mail, you have to decide whether it's really going to be worth sending the recruiter another e-mail to correct the first one. Generally, you should NOT send another e-mail correcting a mistake -- it will only draw attention to your goof up. So let a typo slide and hope and pray that it goes unnoticed.
But if you have committed a massive unforgivable mistake you might be forced to send another e-mail. In the text, quickly and briefly apologize for the error and make sure your second e-mail corrects the error. Run your second e-mail through the screening process above before you send it though, We don't want to have ANY mistakes in this one.
While the electronic age might have added an extra kink into the whole job search process, following the proper protocol while sending an e-mail to a recruiter will make your entire job-hunting experience much quicker and easier, not to mention, a lot more convenient.
We'll have another article running about e-mail etiquette and the actual Resume Do-s and Don't-s, so stay tuned for further articles by the same author every week.
//update:Had to make this post 'Friends Only' cause the Khaleej Times won't be publishing this article for a while. On their request, this article has been screened to avoid public revelation before the print version. kdo -- jim....
//update:Finally! I get the go-ahead to make this post public from the joint editor! :o) So, here it is! Back in all it's awful glory, for you all (not on my free-access-list) to check out (and maybe even benefit) from all of this! kdo -- jim....