How to Get a Recruiter to Read Your Emails

Female employee checking emails outside

It takes me six months to read a novel (yes…I’m a very slow reader), but I can read an email in five seconds. What’s the difference? I have NO idea what’s coming next in the latest John Grisham book I’m reading, so I take my time and read it, taking in every word as if it were the last in the book. I don’t want to get to the middle of the book and realize that I haphazardly skimmed an important section and missed a major portion of the plot. So, I read slowly.

All emails are the same, seriously. When sending an email, if you are following your 8th grade English standard “General Business Letter Rules and Guidelines,” you are going to get lost in the inbox. Don’t be boring. I read hundreds, if not thousands, of emails in a given week and the creative ones are the ones that I remember.

Here’s a quick checklist that you should consider when applying for a job via email or reaching out to a recruiter or hiring manager:

  • Dear NAME (not recruiter, HR professional, hiring manager, etc.). Do your homework and at least have the common courtesy of knowing the name of the person to whom you are writing.
  • Mention SOMETHING specific about the job for which you are applying and why it excites you. Too many times I read emails that contain one line that says, “Attached is my resume for your opportunity”. ZZZZZZ. Bran flakes and water have more personality.
  • If you want to move, relocate, or travel to the city where the job is located, know something about the area. Again, do your homework. A good recruiter is going to peg you as a “shotgun applicant” if you don’t. Too many times I’ve asked people why they’ve chosen a particular city, if they’ve visited, where they visited, and when they were in town last. If you want to relocate or travel, mean it. My reputation depends on your stability.
  • Only send one email. Two max. If you apply more than that, it’s assumed that you are overly desperate.
  • Show some personality in your email. You’ve got one shot to separate yourself from thousands of people. If you are crazy, funny or freaky, chances are you are going to get my attention. If you continue to stick to the norm of your grammar school text book business letter, I’ll never find you.


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