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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

E-Mail Correspondence


For most of us, sending and receiving e-mail is simple and fun. While we are unguarded in our tone when we e-mail family and friends, a professional tone should be maintained when communicating with prospective employers.

E-mail is a powerful tool in the hands of a knowledgeable job-seeker. Use it wisely and you will shine. Use it improperly, however, and you will brand yourself as immature and unprofessional. Try to succinctly get your point across - then end the e-mail.

Be aware that electronic mail is often the preferred method of communication between job-seeker and employer. There are general guidelines that should be followed when e-mailing cover letters, thank-you notes and replies to various requests for information. Apply the following advice to every e-mail you write:

  • Choose your own e-mail address carefully.
  • Use a meaningful subject header for your e-mail - one that is appropriate to the topic.
  • Always be professional and businesslike in your correspondence. Address the recipient as Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms. and always verify the correct spelling of the recipient's name.
  • Be brief in your communications. Do not overload the employer with lots of questions in your e-mail.
  • Do NOT use symbols or emoticons in your e-mail communications.
  • Do NOT use strange fonts, wallpapers, or multicolored backgrounds.
  • Add a signature to your e-mail that includes your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
  • Avoid using slang.
  • Be sure to proofread and spell-check your e-mail before sending it.

Your e-mails say far more about you than you might realize, and it is important to always present a polished, professional image - even if you are sending your phone number and a time when you can be contacted.


If you have had an interview with a prospective employer, a thank you note is a good way to express your appreciation. The note needs only to be a few sentences long. Remember, a thank you note is just that - a simple way to say thank you. This gesture is sure to make a good impression on your prospective employer.

Excerpted from NewsLinks, a publication of International Schools Services.


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