Web 2.0 for Professional Use/E-Mail/Professional Web Etiquette When Looking for a Job
Professional Web Etiquette When Looking for a Job
As a potential employee, it is important to not overlook the proper etiquette that is expected when looking for a job or internship, e-mailing resumes and cover letters, networking, and following up with contacts.
Oftentimes prospective employers will only scan materials that are submitted for application purposes for 10-20 seconds.1 This quick scan is all the time taken before a decision is made about whether or not to interview an applicant. Therefore, it is vitally important that all correspondence with potential employers is as professional as possible for the best chance of being asked to come in for an interview.
The following are some things to consider before applying for a job by e-mail:
1. When the employer receives an application e-mail, what e-mail address will it be coming from?
Before the Internet, a person would mail applications, resumes, and cover letters in an envelope or package addressed with their real full name. Now days, the Internet allows for the employer to see the person’s e-mail address first. Therefore, when setting up an e-mail account, choose a user ID that looks professional. In other words, it is not professional to have e-mail addresses like BigSexy86@email.com or Sassypants@email.com. One look at e-mail addresses like these and an employer may not pursue reviewing the application or requesting an interview.2
Host sites like Google mail and Yahoo mail enable users to have multiple e-mail addresses without paying a penny. This makes it possible to keep an e-mail address created with a high school nickname to correspond with friends and also have a user ID for professional, work-related purposes. Including one's name in an e-mail user ID may be beneficial for the employer to remember who the applicant is, ex. John.Doe@email.com.
2. After reviewing a resume, the employer may decide to call the applicant in for an interview. What will the employer hear on the other end of the phone if the applicant is unable to answer the call?
Make sure the telephone number provided on application materials will be answered in a professional manner, whether that means a recorded voicemail message that sounds polite and professional or a prepared message-taking system with roommates or whoever may answer the phone at the number provided.3
The following is an example of an unprofessional voicemail: Unprofessional Voicemail
This voicemail message is unprofessional because the voice plays a joke pretending to answer the phone and not being able to hear the caller.4 Prospective employers may perceive this scheme as the applicant being unprofessional, not serious about the job position, and not serious about the employer. The voicemail message does not identify whose phone the caller has reached.5 The voicemail message also instructs the caller to call the person back instead of offering to return the employer's call and does not provide the caller with a time to call again. This voicemail message demonstrates a lack of initiative on the applicant's part. It is also unprofessional to have a voicemail recording by a child or with music playing as part of the message.6
The following example would be better received by an employer calling to invite an applicant to interview for a position or to offer an interviewee a job: Professional Voicemail
This is an effective use of voicemail professionally because it identifies who a caller has reached, apologizes for the inconvenience of not be able to take the call, and gives the caller clear, concise instructions of what to say in their voicemail, so their call will be returned. The voicemail message takes authority/responsibility for returning the phone call, which will be respected by prospective employers.
3. What method should an applicant use to include his or her resume and cover letter in an e-mail?
When e-mailing an attachment, there is always the possibility that the receiver may not be able to open and/or view the document.7 Therefore, it is important that all attachments an applicant wishes to include in an e-mail be sent in .doc or .rtf format because those two formats are the most compatible with all computer operating systems. Sometimes it may be appropriate to ask permission before sending an attachment.8
4. What contact information should an applicant include in e-mails and application materials when applying for a job or an internship?
It may be beneficial for an applicant to include a "signature" below his or her name in an e-mail when contacting possible employers as a quick reference for the employers to find the applicant's contact information. The following information may be included in a signature: the applicant's formal name, title, company, and additional contact information (address, telephone, cell phone, fax, Web site, etc.). While not all of these parts are required, many or all of them may be helpful.
1. The University of Georgia Career Center, "2007-2008 Career Guide," Resumes, (2007), 24-25.
2. “Is Your Professional Contact Info Unprofessional?,” RJ & Makay: Human Capital for the Capital Markets, http://www.rjandmakay.com/Blog-Articles-by-Darin-Manis/Is-Your-Professional-Contact-Info-Unprofessional, (accessed October 9, 2008).
3. “Top Ten Rules for Effective Netiquette,” The UCMC Job Blog, http://ulmercenter.wordpress.com/2006/11/03/top-ten-rules-for-effective-netiquette/, (accessed October 10, 2008).
4. Dawn Rosenberg McKay, “Email Etiquette: Tips for Professional Email,” About.com, http://careerplanning.about.com/od/communication/a/email_tips.htm, (accessed October 9, 2008).