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Friday, January 11, 2013

Job Application Through E-mail - Mistakes to Avoid

Thousands of people have in the past one week graduated from various universities around the country.
For the graduates, this signifies the beginning of sending out job applications, one after another.
Having worked with a number of graduates, more so those looking for internship, I know that many of them struggle with the basics of sending applications via e-mail.
The market has embraced technology and these days, many of the jobs advertised demand that you send your application through electronic channels, the most common being e-mail. For organisations, this eases the task of filtering the hundreds of applications they receive.
The rules for expressing interest in a job through e-mail are simple and easy to follow, but one that is rife with avoidable oversights.
There are two major options. The first is to paste your cover letter onto the body of the e-mail.
Make sure that every step of the way, you proof-read your application. Write complete sentences and words, ensuring that your grammar is correct.
There is a tendency among young people to treat e-mail as they would mobile text messages – writing out job requests with some words abbreviated as common in SMS. Try that and you’ll experience how fast your application is dismissed.
After writing out your application letter, attach your CV in a format that is most widely used, such as MS Word, preferably the 1997-2003 version. You don’t want your employer having trouble opening your CV.
Also, technology has advanced and the employer could be downloading your document on a mobile phone, so the lighter the format in which it is sent the better.
The second option for a job application through e-mail is to attach the cover letter and CV. When you do this, write out a brief text on the body of the e-mail to alert the receiver what the communication is about.
It seems rude to simply attach documents without a little note, unless the instructions specifically state that you don’t include a note.
Personally, I do not prefer this option because. I have come to realise that employers prefer reading the cover letter first before making the decision to proceed to the CV.
When it forms the e-mail body, it makes their work easier.
When you send your application through the first option, include your telephone numbers at the end to make it easy for the employer get in touch with you if need be.
There are a few other things to take into consideration before sending your application to ensure that it does not end up in the recycle bin of a prospective employer.
1. Give your CV a name that identifies with you. Saving your documents using your name will make it easy for the recruiter to match your documents. The preferred way is to have your names and what the document stands for. For example, you could name them John John CV and John John Cover Letter.
2. Be attentive about the subject line. Some organisations prescribe what they would like stated on the subject line. For instance, Company A may require that you quote the application reference number, while Company B may prefer that you put the position you are applying for as the e-mail subject. Follow instructions to make a good first impression.
3. Some international organisations, such as the UN, may require that you apply for the job online via their websites. For this, you must be keen on following instructions and have all your personal information on your fingertips. Also, make your testimonials easily accessible should it be required that you upload some as you fill in the online application.
For those who might be on internship or on a temporary job somewhere, a common mistake to avoid is to use your work e-mail account to send out a job application. Doing so sends a signal to the prospective employer that you wouldn’t mind conducting personal business using workplace resources.
Also, avoid using a spam blocker that requires a person to fill out a form so as to be on your contact list. This not only irritates but also sends out a message that you not so willing to network.
Many people will not bother to send you any more e-mails or updates. Some may actually block you.
Sending applications through e-mails may seem easy, but you can easily lock yourself out of contention. That often happens when you fail to follow instructions and you ignore simple e-mail etiquette.
A Nation Media Group publication

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