Email Mistakes: The Best Way to Ruin Your Carefully Crafted First Impression

email mistakesFirst impressions matter, and all job seekers know they must present the best version of themselves in interviews and on their resumes. What do a lot of job seekers fail to realize? Your email mistakes could ruin that first impression entirely.

No matter what company you’re applying with, emails are exchanged. Even if you’ve been through the ATS portals and submitted a traditional cover letter, chances are you’ll be getting some email correspondence in the near future (fingers crossed).

Even more likely: your initial email acts as a cover letter. This means your resume is attached, and you’re making an introduction. Which means a job seeker in 2017 must be very aware of your potential email mistakes. From my experience recruiting and hiring, here is the best advice I can give on the subject.

Your Signature Sucks

And frankly, it’s so bad that it makes people want to stop emailing you. Or not hire you at all. It’s so bad it looks like you’re emailing me from 1997.

Get rid of the fancy-font faux signatures, inspirational quotes, photos, large LinkedIn icons and list of your titles or degrees. End of story.

These added flourishes make you look not only out-dated, but annoying. A clean, simple signature with your name, phone number and MAYBE a small hyperlinked “LinkedIn” (plain text, people) is more than enough.

We can generally see all of your social profiles in one place anyway, using inbox tools like rapportive or our in-house ATS. With just these few points in the email signature, you’re conveying the necessary information in an elegant way that shows your company point of contact that you’re professional and to the point.

I Can See that You Read My Email

And so can my entire team, who was either Bcc’ed or got your email because I bulk forwarded it. We have tools like these that show us exactly when, where, and how many times you read my email. So be wary of excuses if you’re delayed in responding. Be sure not to go crazy with over 15+ views of my “asking for references” email. It makes it look like you’re panicking from our point of view. If you want to over analyze the email screenshot it and pour over it out of your inbox.

Don’t Get Too Familiar

Yes, your email is not private and yes, we all talked about your tone and level of enthusiasm. Not to say that you should be adding a million exclamation points (actually, don’t include any). But you should be cognizant of the fact that your emails are for all eyes.

This means you should maintain decorum even if your interviewer acted like your BFF in your second round. You don’t need to be ultra formal (no one likes a kiss ass) but keep using proper grammar, formatting and don’t say anything stupid you’d regret the entire company reading.

Please, Stop Spamming Me

Your online correspondence mirrors how you’ll act in the company as well as your outward facing behaviors to potential clients or partners. If you’re salesy and email me 5 reminders that you’re still alive, it can be a turnoff to your hire and dissuade me from wanting to extend an offer, no matter how close we were to reaching a decision. Follow-up is great, but it’s easy to overdo it. I’d say one thank you and ONE reminder if it’s been over 7 days since you’ve heard from us. But that’s definitely a company-specific opinion.

And on a side note, if you’re having technical difficulties or have a non-job related question (i.e. what exactly is SEO) you should Google, phone a friend and or literally ask anyone else before you resort to asking the hiring manager. It makes you seem unable to be resourceful and comes off entirely unprofessionally. Of course, if you need clarification on the job itself or have a company specific question (that Google couldn’t answer) feel free to ask via email.

Think Before You Send

Emails are important, and email mistakes are costly. While it’s easy to reply all from your phone, you should take the time to evaluate what you’re sending. Maintaining professionalism and being aware of your tone is important. Also, acknowledge that emails are intended to be efficient (i.e. short) and should be intended to lead to the next in person or video call.

So avoid the obvious email mistakes, and please, edit your signature.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan.




???????????????????????????????About the Author: James Hu earned his bachelor’s of Information Systems and Finance from University of Washington. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Jobscan. James has also enjoyed work experiences at Boeing, Microsoft, Groupon, Kabam Games, and a start-up of his own. Through his work in the United States, China, and Spain/Gibraltar, James truly integrates a global mindset into his career. In his free time, he also enjoys water sports and backpacking. Follow James on Twitter.



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