Writing an email to a potential employer can be intimidating. Before college, my most important online interactions were middle school chain mail messages, so to say I was inexperienced would be an understatement. But with a polished university email address, an informative signature, and a few years of experience, I’ve graduated to more professional communication. Wondering how you can achieve this yourself? Although professional emails are more complex than forwarding a link to five friends for good luck, there are ways to simplify the process and ensure your message sounds professional before you hit send.
To find out how to set up our emails for success, I asked College Fashionista alumni about the most common mistakes they see in their inboxes when students reach out to them. I also asked them how one can avoid making unprofessional mistakes via email. If you want to make the best impression, don’t let simple mistakes distract from your message. Keep reading for their advice on what to do before you email a professional in your desired field.
Don’t Ignore Typos
You’ve probably been told to proofread your writing since you learned how to spell—and for a good reason. Anneke Knot, assistant account executive at Tractenberg & Co. says, “It sounds simple, but too often, college students misspell words or make obvious grammar mistakes. Always, always read your email before sending.” If you want a professional to take the time to read your message, then it’s crucial to make it worth their while by perfecting every word. Cassandra Neely, social media coordinator at BaubleBar Inc. says, “When you send an error-free email, it exudes carefulness and shows the reader that you’re on top of your game—a trait that’s important for any job or internship you might be applying for.” Sending your organized thoughts to a potential employer is the online equivalent of a firm handshake. So, go back and check everything a couple of times to make sure it’s all correct.
Show Your Confidence
When writing to professionals, make your purpose clear and straightforward. Adryanna Perez, social media assistant Manager at Chinese Laundry says, “Instead of saying, ‘Hi, I just wanted to reach out to XYZ,’ say this instead: ‘Hi, I am reaching out to XYZ.’ You don’t want to sound timid right off the bat. Eliminate words like ‘just’ and ‘maybe.’ And of course, always write in complete sentences and avoid one-word responses.” Word choice is an easy way to change the energy of your email and tell potential employers that you mean business. If you’re super passionate about that internship or job opportunity, make sure they can tell from your message.
Always Include a Greeting
Without researching key contacts before sending an email, who knows if the intended recipient will even see it? Cassandra says, “It’s so important to know who you’re addressing when you write a direct email. Do your research! If you’re applying for a job/internship and sending your resume to a general ‘jobs@XYZ.com’ type address, get your LinkedIn stalking on beforehand so you know who heads HR at the company. Then personalize your email.” Addressing the recipient of your email properly gives the company a reason to read the message (and hopefully respond). Plus, it’ll show them that you cared enough to take the time to find out who exactly you were reaching out to.
Double-Check All Names
With so many resources available online, the name of your recipient is only a few clicks away, so there’s no reason to spell anything wrong. Neely says, “Always make sure you’re spelling people’s names correctly. Even if you’re copying and pasting the body of the email each time, check to make sure you’re still addressing the right person. Check that you’re talking about the right company in the email and provide tidbits of information as to why you admire that particular company.” One wrong name can result in an email that’s immediately moved to the trash, so the extra few minutes it takes to re-read your message to ensure all the information is correct and everything is spelled right will be worth it.
Have some additional email tips to share? Let us know in the comments!
Featured photo by @itsandie.