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How to increase your chances of a response to an email

How to increase your chances of a response to an email

Applying for jobs has never been easier – just one click of a button and away goes your CV in an email. Problem is, that email then lands in the inbox of an employer who already has 300 emails queued to read. How do you ensure yours is given the appropriate consideration, or more specifically, how can you ensure they don’t disregard it prematurely?

In this guide on ‘how to increase your chances of a response to an email’ I will offer you a few tips and tricks to writing that perfect email. But bear in mind, no matter how good your email, some employers just won’t reply so don’t take it personally!

 

Introduction

Employers are gradually moving away from giving out email addresses, preferring instead to use agencies to manage the applications for them. This guide will suit those people who are sending good old emails to employers and also to those who just want to improve their email etiquette!

Sending emails is the most convenient way to communicate with future employers. However, the impersonal nature of them means you have to work harder to get yours noticed and even harder to ensure a response. The content of an email is largely up to you, but keeping everything else within the following guidelines will definitely benefit you!

 

A correct order for writing an email?

There is no correct order for writing an email but there is good reason for doing it in the following order:

  1. ‘Subject’ field first – summarise what you intend to say in a few words
  2. Content
  3. Signature – make sure it conforms to the guidelines outlined below
  4. Re-read and spell check – use a word processor if necessary.
  5. Recipients email – (Do this last so you don’t accidentally send it early)

 

Things to think about when writing that email

  1. Your email address:
    1. Should look professional and as easy to read as possible. Often email clients will allow you to set up alias email addresses for both sending and receiving. Consider doing this instead of opening a whole new account!
    2. Numbers and punctuation don’t look good. Try to keep the address to letters and full stops only! The start of my email address is ‘c.cox@’ – the full stop is useful for breaking up the two letter c’s and for differentiating between my first initial and surname. This helps employers find you too!
    3. As short as possible is also good, but ensure you use full words. Definitely no abbreviations, text speak or nonsensical runs of letters and numbers!
  2. The recipients email address:
    1. Input this last – just in case you send the email early!
    2. Don’t copy an email address from a webpage without checking it visually first. If the company name isn’t spelt correctly it’s likely to be wrong!
  3. The CC/BCC line:
    1. Do you want to send yourself a copy of the email for your records? Are you sending the email to multiple people? If you are sending the email to yourself along with the intended recipient it is perfectly acceptable to put your own email address in the CC box. However, if sending it to more than one person and you don’t want them to see that you have done so, input the second addresses in the BCC field.
    2. I recommend never sending the same email to more than one person however since every future employer deserves something written (at least ‘tweaked’) to their specific set up.
  4. The subject line:
    1. The subject line might be the first thing an employer sees about your email (depending on how they arrange their inbox!) so bear this in mind when writing it.
    2. Peoples’ eyes will not be drawn to empty space, so leaving it blank is definitely not an option, plus it looks hugely unprofessional!
    3. What you want to aim for is either: Your name and the job title you are applying for, or something original that others won’t use.
      1. Examples might be:
        1. “Charlotte Smith – Job Reference 51029”
        2. “Smith. C – Receptionist Vacancy”
      2. Things to avoid include:
        1. Hello
        2. Hello?
        3. Hello!
        4. Job
        5. Blank
        6. Job Application
        7. CV
        8. CV Attached
        9. Hire me
        10. Consider me
        11. Consider me because…
  5. Start the email correctly:
    1. Does it say anywhere on the website the name of the person to email? If so, you can add a slightly personal touch by beginning your email with ‘Dear Margaret’ or ‘To Jane’ etc. This shows you have read their information correctly.
    2. If no name is given or it is not clear who to address your email to, play safe and write either:
      1. ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam’
      2. ‘To whom it may concern’
      3. Do not write, Hello, Hi or just leave it blank
    3. The font should be the standard email font provided. Calibri is usually a good choice although people always disagree.
    4. Don’t use colours anywhere other than your signature (see more about that in a minute!)
    5. Don’t use underlining or bold or CAPITALS to make points. If you must use one, use bold.
  6. Email content:
    1. What you write unfortunately is entirely down to you! However, there are a number of things you can do to make sure it reads well and looks good!
    2. Keep it brief and to the point – a long email full of block text will not go down well and will put people off reading it. Most people skim read anyway which is why making one point per sentence a good guide to follow. Try not to be too wordy either. If you can make the same point in fewer characters, try that option first!
    3. Opt for paragraphing and putting lines in between each paragraph – this breaks up text nicely and looks good so long as you don’t end up with lots of long lines of text, without any body! Paragraphs should be two or three sentences long!
    4. Don’t repeat yourself in an effort to make a point! Be concise and clear the first time round!
    5. If you are asking questions, try to make sure there are only a couple in your entire email! It is unlikely for a job application you will be asking questions but they are an excellent way, if appropriate, of establishing real contact with a company. (You might want to seek clarification about something!)
  7. Closing the email:
    1. Aside from your signature, this is the final thing that will be remembered about your email and this should be courteous, warm and inviting. Depending upon the formality level, examples might be:
      1. Yours sincerely,
      2. Regards
      3. Thank you for your time. (new line) Sincerely
      4. Thank you for your consideration. (new line) Sincerely
  8. Signature:
    1. Having a signature is not essential so don’t get hung up on creating one if you don’t yet have one. Signatures that look unprofessional can really detract from even the best-written emails!
    2. Signatures should contain your essential contact details and nothing else – contact phone number, email address and (if appropriate) business address/ home address. Usually this information will be contained within your CV anyway so it is really not essential if used elsewhere already!
    3. With regard to colours – a signature can be a different colour to your email body but it must remain professional! No outlandish colours, no mismatched sizing, punctuation, capitals, pictures, images, underlining, bold etc etc!
    4. Try to avoid anything that will automatically form a hyperlink too! These can cause problems on the other end and can sometimes be blocked by spam filters!
  9. Spell Check:
    1. Spell check thoroughly – aside from a minute of your time, what have you got to lose?
    2. I know the mindset is, “I have just written it so I would know if there were mistakes in it!” It’s easy to presume it’s all in order but not wise to do so! Read an email slowly, word by word and out loud if you can. You will be sure to spot grammatical errors and syntactically incorrect sections this way.
  10. When an email just won’t do it:
    1. Sometimes an email just won’t do it! I know it takes a few more guts but if you have the chance to ring to establish contact it will work wonders. If you are a confident speaker with a clear voice I would give it a go!
    2. If you have already sent an email or application you can still ring – in fact, it’s the best time to ring! Think up a good question about the job you have applied for and ensure you let them know you have submitted an email/ application already! Chances are once you hang up they will go and take a look if they haven’t done so already!

Written by Chris

A 23 year old student who enjoys investing my time, skills, wisdom, knowledge and even money into start-up ideas. I especially like proving that 100% ethical, legal and respectful actions can still get you a long way in the world. It won't make you rich overnight but it will make you happy in a second! My methods and reasoning are not respected by all (which is good because that makes life interesting) but for the few who do understand it, I welcome your thoughts/ support. On YWB, I endeavour to promote ways of bettering yourself or others.