Centred Content

Dear Joanna,

I’ve been applying for receptionist jobs and have been invited to a few interviews all by email!  I’m getting help with employment from my Reena job coach who has strongly recommended several appropriate ways to use email in my job search and eventually at work as well.  Are there good and bad manners when it comes to emails?

Signed: Email Decorum

Centred Content

Dear ED,

One of the results of the pandemic is that millions of people are working from home. Now more than ever, emails are used by employees and employers as a primary means of communicating at work. Many of us still don’t know how and when to use emails appropriately. The blogger Stevens (2020) in https://www.zoho.com/blog/mail/15-email-etiquette-rules.html offers 15 helpful ways to best use emails. My response will focus on the top 4 that I think are key and are based on feedback that I’ve received from recruiters over the years.

  1. Use a direct subject line. With so many emails in our inboxes, people decide to open up and read an email purely based on the subject line. It should be brief, descriptive and action oriented. In your case, when you apply for a job, your subject line could read: “Application for Receptionist position – Your full name”.
  2. Use a professional email address. If you want the recruiter to take your application seriously, make sure you use a professional email address. And always proof read it before sending to ensure perfect spelling and grammar. The address should include your full name so the recipient knows there it came from and to whom should receive the reply. Otherwise, you take the risk of your message being deleted and even considered as spam or a scam! When you are working, your company provides you with an email but I would still have a personal professional email as this gives you credibility.
  3. Always include your professional email signature. All of your emails should have a “signature” at the end that includes all your contact details – your full name, email, telephone. Keep it simple and clear. When you are applying for work, the signature can be so helpful for a recruiter to follow up with you. When you are working, the same applies to your manager and co-workers – your signature offers easy access for the reader to contact you without having to find your telephone or more information about you. Again, the signature gives you more credibility.
  1. Reply to ALL EMAILS! As emails continue to be the most popular way to communicate at work and in the job search, we receive tons of messages. Sometimes it’s hard to answer every email you receive. But it’s polite and respectful to do so. Even if it’s just to acknowledge receipt of the email and that you will respond to the request. And, the same applies to emails that were sent to you by mistake. Keeping organized with your Outlook or other calendar software that you use. You can create a directory in your Outlook called “pending file” to keep on top of your emails and requests. When you are applying to jobs, you can create a “application file” where you keep track of all your applications and follow up emails.

For the complete list of email etiquette by blogger Stevens, visit his website. In the meantime, I wish you lots of success with your job search too.


To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org