9 Common Mistakes When Writing an Email to a Potential Employer

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The email has become the standard in the job application process. Whether you’re looking for remote work or you want one in the office, you’ll have to craft a professional-sounding email that depicts your value as an employee.

However, many applicants see their emails ignored and unanswered. There are multiple reasons for such a scenario as the competition is high, and people are going the extra mile to show their expertise, starting from the way they structure their emails.

Keep reading what the common email writing mistakes that lower the chance of getting hired are.

1. Confusing and misleading headline

Your communication with potential employers starts with the email headline. Make sure that it’s concise and properly introduces the content of your email. For example, using an email headline that goes: “Priority Email for [Employer’s Name]” can refer to various things.

However, stating: “[Your Name] Application for [Job Title] in [Company Name]” directly says what the email is about, helping the reader assume what to expect in it.

2. Not creating a professional email structure

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Making a great first impression plays an important role in the business world. If you want to do it successfully, you’ll have to make a layout that’s easy to read.

An e-mail application for a job should ideally consist of three parts- the e-mail body, a cover letter, and your resume. It would be here that your potential employer can make an assessment of you. Start your email with a brief introduction and move straight to the point. Once you’ve written the body, move on to the cover letter.

To start off with your cover letter, you could have a look at these 8 templates to find one that you feel is best suited. Else, you should scour through different sites on the web so that you can finalize one. Once you have selected a template to write in, you can proceed with the letter writing.

The first paragraph needs to introduce you and share details of how you heard about the job opening. It’s a good idea to mention your referrer at the beginning of your email.

Then, the second paragraph should capitalize on your skills and qualifications.

The third one is crucial because it tells the potential employer why the company would benefit from your skills.

Finally, it’s time to include your contact details within a professionally designed signature. Creating one is simple with an email signature generator. Making a professional-looking signature will help you stand out from the other applicants.

3. Writing in an inappropriate tone  

Keep in mind you’re applying for a work position and not writing to your friend from school. Therefore, ensure that the communication is formal from the start. The best opening is “Hi, [Employer’s Name].” It’s a neutral greeting that sits between formal and informal tones.

Another suitable greeting is “Hey,” but it leads more to the informal side.

After a brief introduction, set a friendly tone throughout your email. However, don’t let your tone become too personal, as you want to keep the levels of professionalism high.

To ensure that you’re writing in a warm tone, pick a time of the day when you’re relaxed. Never write an email when you’re angry, as it might affect the mood and tone of your email.

4. Keeping the whole email about yourself

While your email should begin with introducing yourself and then state your qualifications, don’t forget to focus on how a company would benefit from having you in the team.

Mention that you find past company’s activities impressive and what you would love to accomplish in the future. Doing this would show your interest in the company, which every hiring manager likes to see.

Don’t write an email as an essay on how great you are. Focus on the value you’d be able to provide for the business owner.

5. Forgetting to proofread

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Another way the hiring manager will see that you care about the company is by ensuring your grammar is impeccable, said Lucie Chavez of Radaris when we asked experts for insight into this topic. She said that shows your detail-orientedness right from the start, leaving a lasting positive impression.

Radaris is a public records company and helps you confirm important information, like legal names and proper spelling. Chavez recommends you double-check the spelling of names when writing your letter to ensure you’ve spelt it correctly.

“Any grammar mistake will make you look unprofessional and impatient,” said Chavez. “Therefore, make sure that you carefully go over every line in your email and ensure that your grammar is flawless. Once you finish writing your email, take your time and examine your structure, typos and punctuation. Consider using a grammar checking tool to help you spot tiny mistakes you might overlook.”

6. Sending an email from a wrong email address

Your private email address is for your communication with friends. We all have those goofy email addresses that we made when we were teenagers. However, don’t use those to send your professional job applications to potential employers.

Instead, use an email that includes your name and surname. That way, you’ll look professional from the moment you send your email. If you don’t have such an account, create one specifically for business purposes.

7. Using abbreviations

Remember you want to be taken seriously in your email. Using abbreviations is common in our everyday communication, and it can easily slip into your professional emails. When you’re proofreading, remove all the abbreviations that are common for unprofessional communication.

While the reader will be able to understand them quickly, they are incredibly informal. Leaving them in your email will leave a wrong first impression, likely lowering your chances of getting hired.

8. Writing an essay

An email is a long-form communication medium. However, Tudor Armand Ciuleanu of Rebeldot strongly urges you to avoid writing huge blocks of texts. As mentioned in the layout section, you need to have at least 3-4 paragraphs to include all the relevant information, but you should keep the length minimal.

“The goal is to write 3-4 sentences per paragraph that’ll result in an email of roughly 10-16 concise sentences that introduce you, display your qualifications and explain your value for the future team. Don’t write walls of text resembling essays as it puts everyone off,” said Ciuleanu.

People expect a clear message they can read in a minute. Check how much time you’ll need to read your text. Make sure it takes around one to two minutes.

9. Forgetting the call to action

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Don’t forget to include a simple call to action near the end of your email. It’ll create a sense that the employer should get back to you. Simply write something like this: “Thank you for taking the time to read my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

The reader will keep in the back of their mind that they ought to reply to your application promptly.

Concluding thoughts

Following the tips mentioned above will help you craft a professional, concise and compelling email that delivers the message within minutes. 

The best part is that you don’t have to worry that you’ll make one of these mistakes. All it takes is a little bit of planning with a couple of rereads. After examining your email multiple times, it’ll turn into an error-free message your potential employer will enjoy reading.

About the author: 

Helga Zabalkanska is a CMO at Newoldstamp (500 Startups backed) and MySignature. She has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing with data-drive approach. Helga is a startup enthusiast and SaaS lover.