June 16, 2011

Career Mistakes You Might Be Making: Incomplete Emails

You may be spending so much time worrying about crafting the perfect resume or preparing for that interview that you may be overlooking the smaller details. Unfortunately, some of those seemingly little mistakes may actually be costing you a great opportunity. So, I'm starting a new series of posts to highlight some of the mistakes you should be sure to avoid. I'm starting with what I believe to be on of the most frequent and most lethal of career errors: incomplete emails
I know, it seems like it would be pretty hard to send an incomplete email unless you accidentally hit send before you finish typing. The real problem though is all the emails that you believe to be complete but are actually lacking in key information. Have you ever emailed a company to apply for a job or internship and said something along the lines of "Hi, I'd like to apply for an internship. My resume is attached. Thanks." If so, sorry to say that you are guilty. 

Every email you send, especially in a professional setting, should include your contact information and full and complete details about yourself and why you are contacting the person. For instance, in the above example, how is the person you've contacted supposed to know when you are available to intern, what your are studying, whether or not you have any related experience, if you meet their requirements (such as the ability to get credit for your internship), or how to contact you. The goal of your email is to get the person to look at your resume and hopefully to contact you, but most busy employers won't wait time responding to pull teeth for more details. So, be sure to include all the necessary relevant information in the first place. On the other hand, don't make your email to long. Be concise and find the right balance between providing information and keeping it short enough to read. Before you send anything, think about what kind of information the person you are writing to likely needs from you to determine whether or not to contact you and be sure to include all of it. 

If you're feeling unsure of whether or not your email is good, check out Seth Godin's post How to Write a Personal Email. 

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