Email Etiquette

When contacting potential employers via email, it is important to remember that your email will be your first chance to make a good impression.  While email correspondence follows the same rules as snail-mail in many respects, there are some unique things to know when emailing an employer about a job opportunity:

  • Make sure your email address sounds professional and clearly identifies you.  Using your full name and a number is a smart choice.
  • Include a subject line that is clear and to the point.  Example:  “ABC Firm Summer Associate Application.”  Do not leave the subject line blank.
  • Attach all required documents in a format that can be easily opened by employers, generally Word or PDF.  A PDF is preferable so that you can ensure your document is not accidentally altered by a bump of someone’s keyboard.  Be sure that all attachments are named in a way that clearly identifies them.
  • Attach your cover letter along with your resume and any other required documents.  Employers will generally be printing and circulating your application materials, so attaching your cover letter instead of imbedding it in your email will ensure it looks professional when printed.
  • Write a brief and clear email, generally 5-6 sentences or less.
  • Include a signature block at the end of your email with all of your contact information.
  • Don’t fall into the email trap of being too casual!  Emails to a prospective employer should be formal, just like a snail-mail application.  Your grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling should be error-free, and do not use emoticons or text-messaging acronyms.
  • Respond to employer emails promptly (within 24 hours).  However, do not be surprised if employers do not respond to your emails immediately.  Remember that potential employers are busy with their day-to-day work.  Generally, give employers at least a week or two before you contact them to follow up.

Sample Email

Dear Ms. Smith:

I am a first year student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law applying for the Summer Associate position with your firm.  I have attached my cover letter, resume, and unofficial transcript to this email.  If you have any questions, or have any difficulty opening the attachments, please contact me at the phone number or email address below.   I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Sally Student

Sally Student
Juris Doctor Candidate, Class of 2015
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
(614) 555-1234
student.500@osu.edu