Email rules for job hunters

February 25, 2010 at 3:31 am Leave a comment

These days, most contact with potential employers — at least until one reaches the final hiring stages — is made via email. Though most of us have adopted a relaxed email style with friends and colleagues, email sent to anyone at a company where you’re seeking a job should be treated as business correspondence, not as casual chatter. On online discussion groups frequented by recruiters, email laxness is cited as a serious mistake that could land a job seeker’s candidacy in the recruiter’s “delete” file.

Here are some email rules that job seekers should take to heart so that they are taken seriously by potential employers:

*Watch your electronic trail. Act as though all email about a job — from the initial note to a contact at the organization and all follow-ups to anyone at the company or associated with it — will be seen by the hiring manager. It is routine in hiring situations, especially when done by teams, for colleagues to forward email and materials around to all those associated with the hiring process. So figure that whatever you write in an email may end up being circulating to those higher and higher up the hiring ladder. So NEVER say anything negative about anyone there, the hiring process or how long it took people to get back to you. If you act as though nothing you say about the job in email will remain private, you’ll be protecting yourself.

*Be careful about spelling, grammar and usage. Be as cautious with your email in the hiring process as you would be in writing or editing copy for publication. Double-check the spelling of all names — especially that of the hiring manager — in each email you send and spell-check all email correspondence before hitting the “send” button. Be careful about titles and the names of publications. Also, don’t get overly familiar or use cutesy email phrases like “LOL” or smiley faces.

*Make it easy for the recruiter or hiring manager to find your email and to find you through it.  Always include your email signature (which should have your full contact information) and be specific in the subject line about the purpose of your email: not Jane’s resume (there could be several other resumes from Janes that day, who knows?) — but resume of Jane James regarding defense editing position. Even in email exchanges with hiring managers that may involve a fair number of replies, indicate the specific issue each time in the subject line — busy hiring managers shouldn’t have to go hunting through a stack of email to see if you answered them on an important point. Again, the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to respond to you.

*Remember that email is atonal and act accordingly. You may think that a question you ask or a concern you express comes across as conversational but without the context speech provides it may sound demanding. Jokes often fall flat on email, so don’t attempt them in job-hunting correspondence. Write in a conversational tone and keep your emails to recruiters and hiring managers concise, clear and specific. Above all, keep your tone friendly and professional, and you’ll be fine.

*More good hiring news to pass along — Vicki Needham, a supporter of this blog,  has accepted a job with the Hill newspaper ( in D.C. as a Congressional reporter covering taxes, budget and other financial matters for a new blog. Vicki, formerly with Roll Call, has been temporarily covering tax issues for BNA. And I know that I sound like a broken record on the importance of one’s network in finding a job, but Vicki described on her Facebook page what landed her the job as “a combo of things for me but networking was huge.” Congratulations to Vicki, and please pass along other good news that I can spread!

*For free-lancers — full or part-time — tax issues can be vexing.  So if you have some time today, you may want to consider the following free seminar:

2009 is history, but you still have time to proactively manage your taxes this year.  Join us Thursday, February 25 for a free session on tax planning for freelancer writers. founder Maya Payne Smart will interview Pam Burns, a ProActive Tax Strategist, about the best ways for writers to get their taxes in order this year.  We’ll also take questions from attendees at the end of the hour-long session.
To register, visit

*As always, some job leads to pass along:

*With Erik Wemple’s move (congratulations, Erik!) to take over the editorial operations in March of the local news site being started by Allbritton Communications, the Washington City Paper in D.C. is looking for an editor:

Editor/Washington City Paper
CL Inc.

About CL Inc
CL Inc is publisher of six of the nation’s leading urban newsweeklies, their associated web sites, and freestanding digital properties such as It also owns and operates the Digital Advertising Network. Based in Tampa, FL, CL Inc’s properties include the Chicago Reader, the Washington City Paper, Creative Loafing Atlanta, Creative Loafing Tampa, Creative Loafing Charlotte, and Creative Loafing Sarasota.

Among the best known of those properties is Washington City Paper, founded in 1981. Washington City Paper is known for its in-depth coverage of local politics and its sharp focus on food and dining, nightlife and entertainment, and arts and culture, and neighborhood life in the District of Columbia. Washington City Paper shared ownership with the Chicago Reader from 1982 until July 2007, when both papers were sold to the Tampa-based Creative Loafing chain. It is published on Thursdays.

About the Job
The Editor of Washington City Paper has overall responsibility for the content of the newspaper and its associated digital properties, reporting to the Publisher.

The Editor will work with the Publisher, Advertising Director, and Marketing Director to develop a strategy to help WCP attract and retain an audience of active, educated, and professional urbanites. He or she will be responsible for executing an editorial vision focused on key content segments such as restaurants, nightlife, neighborhoods, and arts and culture, and for providing in-depth coverage of the District’s local politics and personalities.

The Editor will oversee a staff of eleven full-time editorial employees and identify and make assignments to, and be responsible for the quality of, the coverage of more than twenty freelance writers and critics.

He or she will have significant management experience in digital as well as print media. In particular, the Editor will be conversant with various social media tools and platforms. Ideally, the Editor also will have experience covering local issues in the District of Columbia. He or she will be familiar and comfortable with managing financial budgets and have demonstrated leadership skills.

• Develop and execute an editorial vision focused on key content segments and local politics and personalities.
• Produce a newspaper and associated websites of the highest editorial quality.
• Interact with the Publisher, Advertising Director, and Marketing Director to assure that WCP’s content and business strategies are aligned to the extent possible without sacrificing editorial integrity.
• Manage launches of new features and sites.
• Contribute to the development of and operate within the Editorial budget.
• Find and develop freelance editorial and graphic talent.
• Lead and manage a team of intelligent and creative editorial staffers so as to encourage their professional development and growth.
• Recruit editorial staff from diverse backgrounds, races, and cultures so as to better reflect the diverse makeup of the District of Columbia’s population.

Desired qualifications:
• Bachelor’s Degree required
• 5+ years of experience in editorial management
• Knowledge of and experience in digital media
• An understanding of social media tools and platforms
• Highly self-motivated, proactive, entrepreneurial, and self-sufficient
• Ability to motivate and drive a team of intelligent, creative, and opinionated colleagues and direct reports
• Ability to work collaboratively with peers in other departments to realize WCP’s goals
• Experience as an editor in the District of Columbia

To apply, please contact, submitting a copy of your resume. No telephone calls, please.

*Stephens Media is looking for a Washington bureau reporter to cover Congress and the federal government for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its dailies and electronic publications serving Arkansas:

Stephens Media has just given the green light to restore one of our Washington bureau positions that was cut in a downsizing a year and a half ago.   We are looking for a reporter with experience covering Congress and the fed government to help us beef up coverage in several areas, including for our flagship Las Vegas Review-Journal and for our dailies/Websites in Arkansas,  whose Hill delegation is looking at  big changes with multiple retirements and a senator who is facing a tough re-election.

If interested, please contact

*The Chronicle of Higher Education in D.C. has an opening for a night copy editor:

With its forthcoming global Web edition, The Chronicle of Higher Education seeks a night copy editor with a minimum of five years’ copy-editing experience to join our hard-working team.

This 20- to 25-hour per week copy editor will work closely with other editors and reporters to produce well-written, must-read international and domestic online editions five days a week, along with a two-section weekly print publication and several blogs.

We want a copy editor with an excellent ear for grammar, style, rhythm, and voice, who also knows how to smooth copy, write inviting heads, and make news judgments about developments at colleges in the United States and around the world. The right candidate will be an enthusiastic professional who values accuracy, understands the difficulties of reporters’ work, and has a genuinely global perspective.

This is a night job in our Washington, D.C., office, with pay commensurate with experience, and health insurance. A second language, particularly Spanish, Mandarin, or Arabic; Web content-management skills; and knowledge of New York Times style are advantages.

Please send a cover letter and résumé describing your copy-editing and international background to:

*With a hat tip to (along with the next few jobs), you sporting types might be interested in an opening in Baltimore for a staff writer for Lacrosse Magazine:

Company: US Lacrosse
Lacrosse Magazine Staff Writer
Baltimore, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
March 29, 2010
Job ID: 1151244

US Lacrosse, the Baltimore-based national governing body of lacrosse, with over 300,000 members nationwide, is searching for a Staff Writer-Lacrosse Magazine. We offer great benefits, including 100% employer paid medical, dental, life and long-term disability.

About US Lacrosse: US Lacrosse provides a leadership role in virtually every aspect of the sport throughout the United States, and offers numerous programs and services to its national membership and more than one million lacrosse enthusiasts throughout the country.

US Lacrosse policy is determined by a national board of directors, the officers of which meet monthly to monitor the progress of the corporation. Men’s and women’s divisions under the board address issues specific to the play of each version of the game; councils within and/or between each division represent each constituency of the game; and committees throughout the organization focus on specific areas of operation.

General Description: Produce content for Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse that is distributed monthly to the more than 300,000 members of US Lacrosse.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities: • Work closely with the director of communications and associate director of communications to produce an outstanding magazine. • Proactively seek out interesting feature story ideas to improve the quality of Lacrosse Magazine. • Maintain relationships within the lacrosse community to help develop story ideas. • Assist the editor of Lacrosse Magazine with information gathering research, fact- checking, acquisition of supplementary materials and magazine administration. • Provide active, hands-on assistance and input in the editing and proofing process. • Provide content for • Routinely assist with maintaining — posting stories and photos, linking to lacrosse news, updating scores, etc.

Required Skills, Education and Experience: • Bachelor’s degree • Excellent writing skills • Print journalism experience • Strong knowledge of lacrosse • Requires weekend and evening work, primarily during the spring lacrosse season • Adherence to deadlines • Initiative to self-start/work independently • Familiarity with computer programs such as Microsoft Office and InDesign.

To Apply: Forward cover letter, salary requirements, resume, writing samples and references to

*Education Week in Bethesda is seeking a print and online editor:

Company: Editorial Projects in Education
Print & Online Editor
Bethesda, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
March 25, 2010
Job ID: 1150469

Print & Online Editor— Education Week

Education Week, the respected, nonprofit “go to” source for news and information on K-12 education, is seeking a creative, versatile Assistant Managing Editor to join a talented team of editors, reporters, Web producers, and others dedicated to providing first-rate print and digital content for education policymakers, frontline educators, and wider audiences. Education Week spans multiple platforms, including a print edition, a Web site at, a daily electronic newsletter, special reports, blogs, video, webinars, online chats, and live events. Applicants must be enthusiastic about using the full range of media tools and developing new applications for them.

Duties include managing beat coverage by a group of staff reporters; enlisting freelance contributors; conceiving, assigning, and editing stories; collaborating with other editors and with Web, design, and photo staffs; and helping develop ideas for webinars, chats, live events, and other projects. At least five years’ experience in a news organization, including editing experience, is required. The job demands keen news judgment, sharp editing skills, an ability to work effectively with reporters, and a knack for juggling tasks and meeting deadlines in a fast-paced but congenial work environment. Knowledge of education policy issues is a plus.

Salary is commensurate with experience and comes with excellent benefits. The office is located in Bethesda, Md., a vibrant suburb just outside Washington, D.C.

To apply: Send letter, resume, and work samples to or to Education Week, Dept. GC, 6935 Arlington Road, Bethesda, MD 20814. Equal Opportunity Employer

*And last but not least today, E&E Publishing in D.C. is looking for a reporter to cover water issues:

Company: Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC
water reporter
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
March 30, 2010
Job ID: 1151552

E&E Publishing is seeking a reporter to cover water for Greenwire and Environment & Energy Daily. The ideal candidate will be one who can break news on and off Capitol Hill and produce enterprise stories for our knowledgeable readership.

The beat covers everything water, from drought in the West to wetlands restoration in the South, including EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation. We want a reporter hungry to get the story behind the daily headlines about conflicts in California’s Central Valley or the Everglades restoration project. Creativity and the ability to develop story ideas is a must. Experience on Capitol Hill is a plus.

About us: At E&E Publishing, we pride ourselves on providing coverage that’s multidimensional, unbiased and indispensable — and delivering the goods several times a day. E&E’s emphasis on hard news has made it vital to decision-makers who track environment and energy issues. And as those issues have risen in importance globally, the number of subscribers willing to pay a premium for our publications has boomed. We offer our employees a competitive salary, a 401(k) plan, Metro passes, good health/dental and a fun, fast-paced work environment at a great Capitol Hill location.

Send resume and no more than five clips to Dan Berman at Deadline to apply is March 1. No phone calls, please.

Happy hunting!



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It’s not only what you say but how you say it Interviewing tips beyond the actual interview

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