E-mail Etiquette When Applying for Jobs

Know what will disqualify you

In this day and age, applying for jobs is more a science than it is an art. In bygone days, showing initiative by walking your resume into an office helped separate you from the crowd. The “art” of it all was knowing when to visit, what to wear and making sure your resume was printed on a nice, white, heavyweight linen paper – no more because those days are long gone. In fact, if candidates walk their resume into an office now, it will actually disqualify them for not following instructions.


Because the job market is saturated with candidates, headhunters and recruiters need to sift through the submissions using software, so following instructions for applying is critical for your success – both figuratively and literally.


Here are some important points that executive assistants and personal assistants should consider when making online submissions:

    • Don’t use your personal email: Assistants should have an email address that is specifically dedicated to job applications. Because most job seekers only have one email that they’ve also used for social networking profiles, it’s quite easy for headhunters to find compromising posts on Facebook or Twitter. And, most importantly, don’t have an unprofessional email address like “sexy_chick”. This tidbit seems completely obvious, but ask any recruiter and they will tell you they get dozens of emails a day with such immature addresses.
    • Don’t SPAM human resource agents: Lazy job seekers sift through job websites, collect email addresses for HR managers, and then blast their resume in one fell swoop. This tactic is completely obvious because the cover letter is generic and not addressed to a specific person. This gets your resume deleted immediately.
    • Know what CC and BCC actually means: When personal assistants engage in mass submissions, many don’t even know better to mask the fact that they are engaging in career-ending behavior. Specifically, all of the names of the recruiters are pasted in the email’s header for the whole world to see. It’s not OK to do mass submissions, but if you do it, then at least put the emails in the BCC line so that they can’t be seen by everyone else.
    • Format your email correctly: If executive assistants want to be taken seriously, then they should take the time to format an email the same way you would a letter. In short, show some respect to the recruiter by addressing them in a way that shows you care. The email should have a salutation, body, closing and an (electronic) signature.
    • Don’t attach your photo: Both men and women do this, but for some reason the greatest offenders of this big no-no are women. Attaching your photo to your submission will certainly get your resume deleted because of internal company policies as well as legal issues. If you want to show how professional you are, then have your LinkedIn address on your resume and the headhunter can view your profile later. And, of course, don’t upload an image you took from your phone. Have a professional picture wearing business attire.

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