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Writing the perfect email

Chris Adams, the managing director of Michael Page International, says that too many candidates are sacrifing quality for speed when writing emails. Here he shares his tips for writing the perfect email.

Mr Adams says Michael Page made a comparison of online and offline applications and noted some alarming trends.
He says that generally candidates are rushing online written communication with poor results, especially when it comes to spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Mr Adams also points out that some candidates try to impress recruiters and prospective employers with resumes constructed using complicated formats that don't translate to the recipient with the result that all their hard work goes to waste.

Others do a good job on the resume and give scant attention to the accompanying cover letter.

Lastly, he warns candidates not to treat email like a telephone conversation.

During the selection/interview process many candidates will find it more expedient to communicate by email rather than by telephone. However, Mr Adams warns there are dangers in communicating this way.

"Many people forget about punctuation, capital letters and grammatically correct sentence formation when they email," he says.

"Instead they write like they speak, which can often not make sense to the recipient."

"It also gives the recipient an indication of how you communicate verbally which may not be accurate and may skew their opinion of you.

"The rule should be, when you write something via email, you treat it like a letter, not a posit-it note. Leave the lingo to the telephone."

Here is Mr Adams tips' for communicating online:

  • Check spelling, punctuation and grammar carefully. Do not sacrifice quality for speed.
  • Cover letters to accompany an attached emailed resume should be clear, crisp, to the point and accurate.
  • Use a simple lay-out style including fonts. Fancy work takes longer, may not translate and only distracts the reader.
  • Ensure all email correspondence is of the same quality as a traditional letter.
  • Do not use jargon.

Do not write emails in the same way that you speak.

Article with thanks to


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