Beverley Scherberger

The only Writer / Editor you'll ever need.

#5 Emails and Job Apps

Always proofread your emails, resumes, and cover letters before sending.

Always proofread your emails, resumes, and cover letters before sending.

Emails and Job Apps

Today I’m going to veer off in a different direction than I’ve taken with my other posts, addressing a particular type of email. In this day and age of electronic this and e-that, emailed resumes, job applications, and cover letters are a fact of life. Hopefully, this will help job seekers of all ages make a better first impression.

In a former life, I spent 12 years as a department head at a large resort in northern Arizona. In the early years, the resort would run an ad in the local newspaper when a department needed to hire an employee.

Later on, the company changed to an online ad that ran nationwide, offering the department head’s email address as the contact information. This presented numerous problems for the resort’s department managers because the company did not pay for relocation at that level. Therefore, we found ourselves fielding many emails from people at the other end of the country who thought the job(s) sounded interesting, but would never move to Arizona without financial help from the company.

All that aside, the emails I received ranged from the few and far between professional and well thought out to the ludicrously awful. These were simply deleted ~ often I didn’t even read the entire message. I was amazed at the liberties people took with emails that they wouldn’t dream of with any other form of communication.

Consider the situation: This is your initial contact with a potential employer ~ it’s your opportunity to make a great first impression. You should make this initial communication as professional and perfectly-written as possible. It is not the time to use “Hey, Dude!” or “Whass-up?” as your greeting. Believe it or not, over the years I received both…

If you are sending your resume along with this initial contact, you should use the opportunity to include a cover letter to complement your resume. Even though emails are generally considered less formal than typed hard copy letters, the impression they make is no less tangible or important.

For help in writing an effective cover letter, follow the basic, step-by-step instructions here. These letters are not difficult but, done correctly, will go a long way toward impressing a potential employer with your professionalism. In fact, it could mean the difference between an interview and a “delete.”

And although this should go without saying, be sure your resume is up-to-date and free of typographical errors. I often found errors in resumes sent online or there was a note at the end of the email that said the sender’s address had changed or the resume wasn’t quite current. They should also be neat and well organized.

There’s no excuse for sending a disorganized resume that is not up-to-date or doesn’t contain current information. As a potential employer, what do outdated resumes or sloppy first emails tell me about the applicants? They’re lazy. They’re not really interested in the job. They don’t care about their first impression on a potential employer. And if they can’t be bothered to put the effort into sending perfect resumes and/or emails, why would I expect them to do outstanding jobs if hired?

I’m sure most potential employers would rather wait a day or two for a current and proofread resume accompanying a thoughtful and professional email than receive one that contains incorrect, incomplete, or mistake-filled information.

And even though I mentioned this in a former post, I’m going to bring it up again here. When sending emails to potential employers, be absolutely certain you have used the correct titles (Ms., Mrs., Mr., Dr. etc.) and that you have spelled their names correctly. If you don’t have enough contact information to determine the correct title, use the person’s full name, spelled correctly. (For example: Dear Joanna Jones instead of Dear Mrs. Jones).There’s no more sure-fire way to get off on the wrong foot than to misspell someone’s name.

To summarize:

  • use professional greetings in your emails (Dear Mrs.., Good morning, Mr…)
  • use the correct titles (Ms., Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.)
  • spell the potential employer’s name correctly
  • proofread and eliminate all typos in your emails and resumes
  • be sure your resumes are current and complete
  • include professional-sounding cover letters

If you really want the job you are inquiring about, why not take the time to perfect your resume, make sure it’s current and complete, include a professional cover letter that’s free of typos, and address all emails correctly. These are small things that could make a huge difference and could give you that edge over other applicants!

Good luck with your job search! And until the next post, remember…

“Read to escape reality . . . Write to embrace it.”   ―     Stephanie Connolly


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