Here’s some of the worst things I see in e-mails:
Subject Line: “Resume”
…or even worse: “NO SUBJECT”
Opener: It’s a tie between “To Whom It May Concern” and those who spell my name wrong
Body: “I would love to work at your company. I have XYZ skills. Looking forward to hearing more about your company.”
…ughhh….what company is it you are talking about? There’s no mention of it anywhere.
The art of FOLLOWING UP
Sometimes, students will e-mail me looking for advice. I am ALWAYS happy to help and have made some great connections with them and they are always so appreciative. But one time, a student e-mailed me her resume asking for a position, which we did not have at the time. But I thought I’d give her a few tips for optimizing her resume and cover letter for when she sent it to other firms. I took a good 20 minutes listing out things to update and tips on leads, etc. etc. Then, no response. Two weeks later I remembered I never heard back, so I forwarded her the e-mail again asking if she received it. Crickets. I think it’s been almost a year now.
RANDOM TIP: When you interview for a position but don’t get it, don’t ignore the person. I e-mailed three intern candidates during one of my agency’s rounds of hiring to let them know that unfortunately, they did not get the position. Two of them I still haven’t heard from. Third girl e-mailed me and asks for ways she can improve for the future and why she did not get it. I politely gave her some advice and constructive criticism. Crickets. NOTHING. It’s called THANK YOU, people! It takes two seconds.
And finally, my personal favorite:
Girl on Twitter tweets to me and asks if I work in PR. Never heard from girl before and this is the first thing she says to me. I say yes. She tweets if we’re hiring for part time positions/internships. I say look on our website for more information. She e-mails me. I politely tell her we don’t have anything available but to keep in touch, yada yada. I hear nothing back. A week later I see an interesting internship opportunity she may be interested in and e-mailed her to see if she had seen it. This is her (edited) response:
“Yes I did, not sure if its paid though.
I did interviewed with them back in December for a summer internship.. The ceo of the company I interned with in my last job personally sent them my resume. They are the same type of company I worked for. I followed up numerous times and never heard back. Gave me a sour taste in my mouth since I have a lot of knowledge on their organization and thought it would be a perfect fit.”
Ummm….OK. A simple, “thanks so much” would have sufficed. And it was paid, thank you very much.