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Job Search Email Tips: The Dangers of Skimming and Pressing Send

Job search tips - dangers of skimming and pressing send

Are you a skimmer? Are you one of those individuals that quickly skims emails? Do you respond immediately, just so you can hit file or delete without thinking about your response? I get some pretty bizarre responses to basic requests which ultimately has helped me identify some email job search tips that can help candidates improve their chances of being hired.


When you are seeking a job, your responses to emails are being evaluated regardless of who is receiving the message. Job seekers often feel recruiters are only interested in closing the deal, which is very far from the truth. Personally, I have a College Diploma in Business Communications and a BA in History. I spent many hours reading boring text books and writing essays for the privilege of saying that.

When my clients want a candidate with “excellent communication skills” I am constantly evaluating the content of the emails I am sent from applicants. That’s part of my job; ongoing assessment. Other skills that recruiters look for in job seeker’s emails include attention to detail and resourcefulness.


It can be tempting to use the same email template when searching for a job. Just swap out the name of the position and the company and you should be ok, right? Wrong. Recruiters and HR Managers can quickly identify these types of emails and rule you out as a candidate. They pick up on this when the message doesn’t speak to the specifics of the job posting. Be sure to directly address the qualities the employer is looking for and the tasks the employee will be responsible for.


Blatant spelling mistakes will probably get identified or corrected automatically, but just because there are no red underlined words in your email, doesn’t mean it’s ready to send. For example, I sent off an invite for an interview to a candidate, and they immediately replied back and asked what industry the client was in. The name of the company was clearly indicated in the email I had sent, along with the address and contact name for the interview. It would have taken literally seconds to Google the company name!

Before pressing send, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my message clear? Or does it include vague terms like “they”?
  • Are there grammar errors? Use a tool like Hemingway to analyze your email for readability
  • Are there questions that you could find the answer to yourself? Show the recipient your resourcefulness by doing your own research

Read carefully, respond after thinking, and proofread before you press send.

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Why does everyone have to be a Leader?

Why are there so many articles about becoming a leader? What does being a “leader” mean exactly? According to LinkedIn and the many articles by people who consider themselves leaders, it can mean any number of things. It can mean you are wealthy, philanthropic, a keynote speaker, an executive, a peddler of untruths, a peddler of software, a peddler of consumer goods, and the list goes on!

I have interviewed literally thousands of people and some people just aren’t cut out to be leaders. Or, they just don’t want to be one! They like remaining in quiet and glorious anonymity. They don’t feel the need to voice their opinion on every subject. They don’t constantly fight on behalf of themselves and their colleagues for their “right” to more money or more time off. They are happy in their own skin, and don’t feel any pressure to be a leader of others, or to change the world in some colossal way.

It’s funny, but in some innocuous way these are generally the people who others gravitate to. Their quiet confidence lends them some peace, while the rest of the office feels the need to step on the other guy to be heard. Must we put a label on everyone? The Beatles had the idea…sometimes you just need to “let it be”. If everyone is a leader then who are they leading?

BCC:…The Way to Go!

This is a protocol that is basic, but prudent.  If you are sending your resume out en masse, don’t just cc anyone and everyone you can find on the internet with your resume and press send.  Do I want to be included with 20 other agencies on an email?  No I do not!  It doesn’t make me rush to contact the individual, in fact, just the opposite.  The BCC tool is a beautiful thing.  You can put as many emails as you like and no one can see any of the other addresses.  I actually had one of the “Big 5” Banks respond to an RFP in a mass email once.  I could see all the other agencies that had RFP’d in one shot!  Totally inappropriate!  From then on I’ve had a real “thing” about it.  How to wrap it up in two words or less:   “good manners”.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel….get a haircut!

In the corporate world I have found that waist length hair (or close to it) on women, especially if its “au natural” (grey/uncoloured,) is not received well.  If you want to wear Birkenstocks, and let it all hang out, Bay Street may not be the place for you.  Snip it up to shoulder length minimum with a good stylist.  Check out pictures online that are current and in style.  Crystal and Alexis Carrington circa 1981-83 on Dynasty…NOT current.  I did love those shoulder pads though.

Life happens.

When life hits in the middle of a search it is difficult for both parties. Recently we had a candidate who had a horrible incident occur just as we were coming to the end of a search. The client had asked for references, and they were getting ready to proceed with an offer. The individual went missing for a couple of days and we were confused as to what could have happened. When she did get back to us, it was in a very professional manner. We understood and responded in kind, as did our client. Sometimes things happen that we just can’t control. No time to be upset or to take it out on those involved. Just move on and wish them all the best.

Don’t be a “phone stalker”.

In the age of technology, do people really expect a human being on reception anymore?  I had a receptionist for years but I found that neither the candidates nor the clients found much value in utilizing this service.  90% of our dealings came through email and the receptionist was kept busy with clerical work that they didn’t really enjoy.  I finally came to the realization that most people were so used to leaving messages and sending emails that I could utilize technology just as effectively.  That being said, there are those of you who we will call “phone stalkers” that insist on calling the incoming line over and over again and NOT leaving a message.  I had an individual last week who called our line over 20 times in ONE day.  We can see the name and number over and over again in the call log.  This leads me to question this person’s sanity!  If you get voicemail leave a well-worded message in a clear voice stating the nature of your call and your call back number and even an email address.  Don’t be a “phone stalker”.

Avoid tardiness by being prepared.

I’m always surprised when people are late for their appointments in this day and age but it happens to me all the time!  It would seem glaringly obvious that you should write down the address or have it saved in your phone.  We are not listed on the directory in the lobby so as to avoid people walking in off the street.  This is a business choice and it saves us from spending time explaining to people we are appointment based only.  It’s amazing how many people show up in the building and rely on the directory for the suite #, and then start calling our switchboard in a panic because they are now late for their interview.

Be careful how you respond to rejection.

Be careful how you source respond wholesale jerseys to rejection.  I was Linkedin: really surprised to receive an email in response to an cheap nfl jerseys individual who wholesale nba jerseys did not get a job he interviewed for. cheap nfl jerseys  He responded with “ha ha ha ha, they were a joke anyway, what a You time waster.”  This is Changes not an appropriate response in a professional setting.  I would definitely think cheap mlb jerseys twice before putting this Date person in front of a client our again.