Email has quickly become one of the most common forms of communication to date, particularly in the professional world. The same is true during a job search. Proper use of email is critical throughout the job search process. Today’s article will discuss the most critical elements of email etiquette to ensure all your communications are professional and effective.

In order to avoid your communications (and therefore your applications) being overlooked, make sure your emails are as well received as they are meant to be. Here are some of the most crucial rules to follow.

Slow Down

A common error in email communication is the forgotten attachment. While some recipients will take the time to let you know that nothing came through, many don’t have that luxury. Particularly in a job search situation, hiring managers receive an overwhelming amount of email applications. Forgetting to attach your resume or cover letter can mean you have lost your chance to make a positive impression.

The best way to avoid this and other simple errors is to slow down. While it may feel like the opposite is true, there is really no rush to send any one particular email. Take time to make sure the right attachments are selected and the files sizes are reasonable. Consider saving important emails as drafts and reviewing them with fresh eyes later in the day. If you really want to add an extra layer of protection, consider setting a delay on outgoing messages. As little as five minutes can give you the buffer you need to remember something critical after hitting send.

Avoid the Wall of Text

While inevitably sometimes the opposite is more common, ideally emails should be concise. There are all sorts of rules you can follow regarding sentence length, but the key takeaway is when presented with an overly long or wordy email, readers simply lose interest. Keep your email messages short and specific to the subject you are addressing.

That said, there are times when a longer email is warranted. However the majority of your application materials (cover letters, resumes, writing samples, etc.) should be restricted to the attachment section of your emails. In cases when a longer email is needed, keep in mind that white space helps a reader engage with the written content. Add extra spacing and other formatting elements (such as bullets or pictures) to break up and organize the flow of an email. A good rule of thumb is readers struggle with paragraphs longer than six lines. But keep in mind, as more people are reading their emails on their mobile devices, six lines can present as a lot shorter on a cell phone than on a desk-top computer.

Are your emails landing with hiring managers? Connect with a recruiter at ACS Professional Staffing for more advice on how to reach out and communicate effectively with employers. Call to speak with our team for more information about job opportunities in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington areas.