Friday, September 6, 2013

A little bit about applying for jobs by email.

I'm on our school's appointments committee (that's the committee that's in charge of finding law professors to hire), and lately, I've been reviewing email applications for positions here.  Here are some suggestions, based on this year's experiences as well as those of previous years:
  • Don't just rely on your attachments.  Duplicate the important information in the email itself.  When people are pressed for time, they don't want to have to click through to a cover letter and a resume.  They want to skim the email first.
  • Please proofread your email, cover letter, and resume.  You don't want to look dumb by misspelling someone's name, getting his or her title wrong, or confusing homonyms like "principle"/"principal"--any of those mistakes can put you in the "skip it" pile.
  • If you're responding to an ad, make sure that you link your qualifications to the needs that the employer has listed.  (Sometimes we're only looking for someone in a particular field, or only looking at entry-levels or laterals.  It just depends on the year.)
  • If you're mentioning someone who works where you'd like to work, make sure that the person knows that you're applying (and can give you a good reference).  The last thing you want is for that person to go blank when someone asks about you.
  • Don't forget your manners.  Say "Dear X," "please," "thank you," and the like.  Just because email is informal doesn't mean that you're allowed to forget what your parents taught you.