The written word is always accompanied by the possibility of being misunderstood, as there is lack of facial expressions, gestures and intonations. Choose your words and syntax very carefully while addressing an email to a potential employer. Come across as polite, composed and humble. Keep your sentences short and concise as longer sentences and multi-syllable words invite ambiguity. Stay away from abbreviations or emoticons and keep an eye out for correct punctuation.
Less is more:
Understand that the employer gets a lot of mails and if he has to go through a mail that is more like paragraphs after paragraphs that lead to nowhere, he is more likely to ignore it. At an average, the employer spends 6 seconds on an email; therefore it is important to cut to the chase. Be clear about what you want to ask or convey and go straight to the point after a brief introduction.
Pay attention to formatting:
Divide the mail into three short paragraphs that conclude with a thanks and your signature. Use bullet points, if the need be. Avoid caps lock at all costs. If you want to highlight something use bold or italics but do not over do it. It is one thing to emphasize on a few words and completely another to make a whole bunch of sentences standout.
Pick a proper email address:
No one wants to read an e-mail from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not come off as someone who is serious about the whole conversation, the employer won’t take you seriously as well. Always maintain a professional e-mail address for work related stuff and save the other tacky sounding ones for informal purposes. Anything that revolves around your name, preferably full name, will do.
Spelling errors, grammar mishaps and poorly constructed sentences can be a major turn off for any reader. Spell check may not pick up typographical mistakes, therefore make it a point to proof-read all your e-mails before you hit send. There is always going to be some last minute editing that will make more of a difference than you can imagine. Read your content aloud, word by word and analyze if it sounds like something you’d like to read.