8 Tips to Write an Effective Email Job Application

While you can jazz up your resume with an eye-catchy design and personalised font, an email job application relies solely on the content to catch the recruiter’s eye.
Elliyani Mohamad Ali

It’s easy to get used to the “EasyApply” button on LinkedIn. Without so much of a second thought, you can easily send your resume, profile and contact information with the click of a mouse. But what if you come across a job post telling you to send your resume via email? It’s going to take you more effort to apply and make a good impression.

Remember, first impressions last forever. No matter how impressive your resume or cover letter may be, you may not get a second glance if your email looks like this:

8 Tips to Write an Effective Email Job Application_example1

Before you continue reading any further, give yourself 10 seconds and test yourself if you’re able to pick out all the “don’ts” in the above email example.

All done?

I think we can all agree that such off-the-cuff response isn’t likely going to make the cut, but do you know how the email should have been written instead?  Let’s see how many of them you guessed right!

1. Use an appropriate email address

If you don’t have a professional-sounding email address hosted on a credible domain, it’s time to create a new account. The new email address will need to contain your initials, either your surname or full name, and be free from references to your favourite puns, cartoons or games. Limit the use of numbers if possible in case they have unprofessional correlations.


2. Write a clear subject line

It’s good to write the subject line first since it’s easy to forget. A good subject line states the purpose of the email with the recipient in mind. An ideal subject line will be “Application for (Role) – (Your Name)”.

Make sure you do not have typos in the subject line – that will make a very bad first impression! A typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone shows 25 to 30 characters, so keep it to about 6 to 8 words.


3. Address your email to the right person

You can find out online who you should address the email to, instead of stating “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”.

Take note that the name of the hiring manager is often on the job description and hiring notice. If it isn’t, you can look it up on LinkedIn or the online directory of the organisation you are applying to. Use salutations when possible.

Alternatively, you can also make a phone call to enquire about who you should be addressing the email to before sending it out.


4. Keep it brief and professional

Your email should be succinct and not lengthy. Avoid smileys, emojis and exclamation marks in your emails to recruiters and prospective managers even though you may be excited about applying for your dream job.

Keep the note brief, respectful and professional. Be sure to avoid using acronyms like “btw” and “fyi” as well. While some experts say a conversational tone is fine, it’s safer to err on the side of caution and stay formal.


5. Check for errors

Don’t just rely on autocorrect to spot your typos. Always re-read your email draft for grammatical mistakes, and read it out loud and put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. Take note that the recruiter’s name may be accidentally autocorrected, so double-check that!


6. Take note of your email attachments

Don’t forget to enclose your attachments, whether they are your cover letter, resume or other documents requested for! When it comes to sending out a few large attachments, you can place them in a zip folder, or create links for downloads.


7. Follow up promptly

Besides replying to emails from prospective employers swiftly, you should send them a follow-up note if you haven’t heard from them within the stated period in which you are expecting a reply. The general expected response is about a week. Employers and recruiters also generally prefer it if you reached out over email, so try to avoid calling them up if possible.

Remember to always be polite and courteous in your correspondence. Additionally, don’t forget to check your inbox. You don’t want to miss out on an interview opportunity or potential job offer because of this!

8. Craft an effective signature

Lastly, your email signature should not only contain a link to your LinkedIn profile or portfolio if it’s online, but also your mobile number. This is especially crucial for your first email to any professional contact.

If you’re tearing out your hair trying to differentiate between an email job application and a cover letter, don’t. Honestly, it won’t make or break your application.

Keep in mind that if you’re going to write your cover letter as the body of the email, that’s fine. It will give you the opportunity to quickly make a good first impression without waiting for the recruiter to open your cover letter attachment (occasionally they don’t!). If you prefer to attach your cover letter instead, then just include a short introduction in the email body.


What’s important is that you maintain a certain level of professionalism and formality in every aspect of your email job application. Once you have that down pat, you’ve passed the first hurdle!