21 March 2009

Email Best Practices for College Internship Applications

Adopt some email best practices before you start sending out applications for internships or jobs!

Save, Don't Send
Get into the habit of saving drafts as you compose emails.

Use your school or other "official" email address that makes clear that you are an adult. (Skip the moniker you use with friends and Facebook.)

Leave the To line blank until you have written, spell-checked, and proof-read your message. Think about it—no more accidental sends.

Cc and Bcc
Avoid using the copy function as much as possible. Emailing to multiple people can set up a good friend for awkward problems later if someone is unwise or rude in a Reply All. Emailing blind copies gets more people into trouble than it ever helps anyone. Resist the urge.

Get your emails read immediately with strategic wording on the Subject line. (Great for applications!) Good strategies: use key words that clearly state your purpose, include your surname, spell-check. Terrible strategies: using the word help, using the word me, using the word please.

Attach a file
When you must attach a file (great for applications!), follow these basic rules: keep the file size down, send a universal file type like RTF or PDF, create a meaningful filename that includes your surname. Be forewarned: not everyone has the same software that you do and they won't buy it just to be able to open your file. (Common problems: Microsoft Works files and newer versions of Word and Excel that have "x" on the end, like .docx)

Add Event Invitation
Unless you know the recipient wants your invitations to meetings and Facebook and other events, don't use the power of email address books to invite the masses.

Formatting tools
Keep your message simple. Use few colors and typefaces. If you are emailing to an older person (that might describe someone old enough to be hiring you or approving your internship application), select a font of 12 points.

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

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