8 Steps to Write a Successful Email to Your Potential Employer

May 13, 2020

Are you feeling a bit of “email anxiety” when thinking about emailing our potential employer?

Yep, ”email anxiety” is a real thing

The main reason behind it is the uncertainty about the response. 

“Will they see my email?” 

“Will the employer respond at all?”

“Is this the right position for my career?”

That’s why writing and sending a cold email to an employer is a common scenario for email anxiety. 

It shouldn’t be that way, though. 

First and foremost, you’re doing the right thing. Email is the best way to deliver a personalized, professional message that makes you stand out in a pool of candidates. 

Second, by emailing potential employers, you’re expanding your range of choices. This means making a step in the right direction to making better career choices. 

If you need help writing that email, we’ve got you covered. Below, find eight steps on how to write a compelling and personalized email (or LinkedIn InMail) to your dream employer. 

Step 1: Research the Position 

Okay, here, your academic research skills can really shine. 

Before you start writing the email, you need to know how to personalise it.

Email personalisation shows you’ve taken the time to research the position well and tailored your outreach. That’s a great sign for employers.

Besides, it might help you find the signs of a great company while you’re at it. 

So, here’s how to do it right.

As always, start by researching useful info to mention in your letter. Keep in mind that the job description isn’t the only place to get it. 

Let’s suppose you’re considering writing an email about this developer position at Google. 

Okay, so the qualifications and responsibilities are clear…

Hold on a sec. You’re not sure about some terms in the description…

“Google Stadia” is one of them. Even if you already know something about it, you need to know the latest news about the folks who work on it. 

Make a simple search to get them (sometimes the best things are simple). 

For example, in just a few clicks, I found Stadia’s blog for developers with lots of great info.

So, again, make sure to research the position. 

This way, you can find something to mention in your letter and make it more compelling for employers. 

Read: Small and Mighty Ways to Ge Employer’s Attention

Step 2: Write an Interesting Subject Line

“An inquiry?” – not engaging.

“I’m interested in your job opportunity?” – too general. 

When writing a subject line for your email, consider the following tips:

  • Use the findings from company research. Include a project a company is working for or mention a specific need of the company, e.g. “I’d like to contribute to [Project name]”
  • Provide value. What would provide that additional motivation for an employer to open your email? What makes you a great asset? A specific skill? Experience? Even basic value-adding phrases like “Content manager, interested in helping your content team” is totally fine to mention
  • Get personal. This means including the name of the recipient in the subject line.

Step 3: Use Appropriate Tone and Language

This one can be a little tricky.

The formal tone and language is the best bet in most cases. However, some companies prefer to communicate more casually, and even look for the same in candidates.

The ultimate choice depends on what you find during company/position research. 

For example, if you find that the job description is written in a formal tone and the recruiter’s LinkedIn post activity suggests the same, chances are you can write to them in a conversational tone. 

The critical thing is to be super respectful and friendly, regardless of the tone and language. 

Pro tip! While studying at university, many students adopt a very wordy academic style. While it’s great for essays and research papers, it’s not exactly the best idea for an email to an employer. 

The problems with the academic style include passive voice overuse, long words, unnecessarily complicated phrasing, and others. 

These won’t impress the person reading your email, so try to:

  • use more active voice, e.g. “I completed this” instead of “This was completed by me”
  • don’t be afraid to use “I” more often. While commonly discouraged in the academic writing style, “I” could help you to turn passive sentences into active
  • avoid industry buzzwords. This is a good idea even if the employer understands them because if you’re a fresh graduate, you might not completely understand what you’re talking about. 

Step 4: Mention the Position You’re Applying for

Can you tell what’s wrong with this letter?

“Dear Mr. Thompson,I’m glad to learn that your company has recently opened new positions in the marketing department. I’m writing to apply and would be grateful if you would consider my candidacy.  The prospect of joining the department would be an exciting challenge.”

What do you think?

While the content is quite okay, the sender hasn’t mentioned the job they’ve applied to. This leaves the employer guessing. 

The lack of details can discourage them from reading the CV altogether. So, please make sure to include the official title of the position to avoid having your CV ignored.

Step 5: Explain Why You’re a Great Fit

This is the most important thing to include after the short intro. 

Basically, you need to answer these questions:

  • “Do I need the eligibility criteria?”
  • “Do I have any additional relevant experiences?”

To give a potential employer a quick overview of your education, qualifications and experience without having too many details, try including the most relevant info.

If you were applying for a marketing-related position, for example, try mentioning:

  • your educational degree
  • foreign language skills
  • relevant internships
  • online courses
  • accomplishments. 

Try limiting this section to 4-5 sentences to the easiest reading experience. 

Step 6: Invite to Open Your CV

It goes without saying that your outreach email should contain the CV as an attached file. A bad application email never tries to convince the reader to open it. 

Feel free to use these call to actions to invite the recruiter to check out your CV:

  • “My CV is attached for your review”
  • “I’m enclosing my CV so you could review my experience”
  • “Please feel free to review my attached CV for additional information regarding my experience and qualifications
  • “Attached is my CV, which contains details about my qualifications and experience.”

Important! Don’t include any other documents besides the CV. Let them read it and then provide more information if requested. 

Read: Courses That Make your CV Stand out From the Crowd

Step 7: Let Them Know About the Follow-Up [Optional]

If the employer doesn’t respond in a week or so, feel free to send them a follow-up email. However, you should mention this in your first message.

You can do so with a sentence like this:

“I will follow up next week to verify the receipt of this letter.”

Including a notification about the follow-up is a common practice and a good opportunity to contact the employer once again. That’s why set up a reminder on your smartphone so you don’t forget about it, just in case. 

Read: Following Up After a Job Interview [4 Steps]

Step 8: Run a Quick Grammar Check

It’s very easy to make silly mistakes that can ruin your chances to get a job. So, to be on the safe side, use an online grammar checker. 

Tools like Grammarly, for example, check for grammar, tone, and spelling mistakes and give recommendations to avoid passive voice. 

Checking your email may take a few minutes but make a difference for your image as a candidate. 

A Successful Email for a Potential Employer: Summary

If you write a relevant, personalized, and to-the-point email, there’s no reason for “email anxiety.” The employer will notice that you did your homework and spent time researching their company’s needs. 

The tips above suggest the following email structure:

  • Greet the recipient
  • Identify the position you’re applying for
  • Give a concise overview of your education and qualifications to explain why you’re a great fit for the position
  • Have a call to action inviting the recipient to take a look at your attached CV
  • Let them know about a follow-up.

Of course, don’t forget to research the company and the position to know which skills and qualifications are the most relevant for the employer. 

Good luck!

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a career and business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths. She is also a contributor to Topwritersreview and Essayguard.

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