September 7, 2010

How to Apply for Jobs via Email

These days, more and more companies are asking applicants to use email, rather than mailing a resume and cover letter. Some employers even have online forms, so you simply fill in the boxes to apply. But what if you’re just asked to submit your application to an email address? It’s one of the most commonly asked job search questions I hear.

Unfortunately, there’s no one set standard for expressing interest via email. Some employers prefer a more traditional resume and cover letter, while others prefer a casual email expressing interest. No matter what the case, you can use the following tips to ensure that your email application is strong:

Tip #1: If there is an online form, use it.

Companies put online forms on their website for a reason – it helps them compare applications more easily and ensures that the applications go to the correct person. Even if the human resources or CEO email address is listed online, use the online form to apply. Otherwise, your email might be accidentally deleted or not forwarded to the correct person. If you don’t hear back within a week or two, send a follow-up email expressing interest to a specific person, not using the form.

Tip #2: Paste your cover letter directly into the email.

Don’t attach your cover letter and resume, then send a casual letter in the body of the email, unless this is specifically how you’re asked to apply. Your casual email might be mistaken for your cover letter or seem unprofessional. Some employers also will not open attachments as a rule, so if all they have to go on from you is a few lines of text, they may not request that you send more info in the email body. On the other hand, a more professional cover letter may convince them that they do need to contact you so they can view your resume in their preferred format.

Tip #3: Use links.

Email gives you the unique opportunity to use links, whereas you cannot effectively do so with a traditional cover letter and resume. Linking to professional networks, like your LinkedIn profile makes sense, and if you work in a field like web design, web content writing, graphic arts, etc. you can also link to an online profile or examples of your work online. See our piece about social networking in job search for some great advice.

Tip #4: Apply using a professional email.

It might have been cute to be [email protected] when you were in college, but that doesn’t give a very good first impression. Use a professional email, preferably your name when applying for jobs, and check your email regularly. Something else to consider is the fact that your college email address won’t be around forever. It takes some employers months to make decisions, and many colleges delete email addresses within a few months of graduation. So, if you’re a student, consider using a non-college email to apply for jobs.

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