Yes, email is everywhere and everybody complains about how much they get – but they do read it. That’s why email needs to be an integral part of your job search campaign. However, email in the process of a job search campaign needs to be handled with more thought and formality than most email communication receives. Here are a few ways to use email in your search for the best next career step for you.
Email cover letter. Since almost all of the resumes you will be giving people will be delivered electronically, an email will be your most likely cover letter. Treat it as just that, a cover letter, not an email. That means formal inside address and salutation, no cutesy abbreviations (LOL or BTW), and a proper closing. The tone of the letter also needs to have the formality of a business letter, not the casual informality that has become associated with the email world.
Email thank you letter. Proper convention these days for thank yous following a job interview or information meeting is a blend of both email and regular mail. An email should go out the same day as the interview or meeting to everyone you met with. And each should be different in content and refer to something the two of you discussed. This should be followed up within no more than 48 hours by a handwritten note on good quality paper smaller than 8 ½ X 11. It may sound like overkill but is usually highly effective. If you are interviewed by a panel, each panel member gets treated like an individual interviewer.
Individual email. Not only is email a good way to keep in touch with your network of friends and contacts, but it is an easy and non-intrusive way to keep in touch with people you have only spoken to briefly. As people live more and more online we are beginning to feel as if we know people we have actually never met face-to-face. That just increases the value of using email in a job search campaign. Email also answers the concern many people have about calling people on the phone because they don’t want to “bother” them.
Bulk emails. If you hide the distribution list, you can update your whole network about the progress of your job search in fairly large chunks. You can also use this method to find out if anyone has contacts in a company you are targeting. And be sure you send your whole network an email when you land your next position.
Finding people. Because of the increase in number of social networking sites and their increasing popularity with people of all ages and interests, it is now easier to find people online than ever before. Google the names of people you have lost touch with and, if you don’t find them that way, try searching a few of the social networking sites. Especially helpful for professionals is LinkedIn while Facebook and MySpace each have well over 100 million registered users.