How To Reply To Job Postings
Posted on 10 Mar 2002
by Brad Miller (beldamar)
Rated 3.42 (Ratings: 8)
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It can be very difficult to know exactly how to reply to a job posting. What to say, how to introduceyourself, and what to avoid. These are all major factors.
I used to have trouble finding qualified people to take my contracts. Not because they weren't out there,but because I didn't know what to look for. I used to excuse things like poor English and misspelled words. Not anymore! Spell check is a built in feature on almost every email client out there. If you don't know how to use it, why would anyone think you could do the work?
Check your Spelling
The first thing is ALWAYS check your spelling!
Spell check sometimes isn't enough either. Re-read your email slowly and carefully. Check for words spelleddifferently. If you spell "right" instead of "write" your spell checker isn't going to catch it. But the person reading it for the first time is.
Check Your Grammar
Secondly, check your grammar. You don't want to sound like you're a hick from the back hills that is uneducated.Here is an example: "I am to provide references and web sites for your review." What exactly does this mean? Is this supposed to be a question? If you make it a habit to re-read your emails before sending them you will be amazed at the number of mistakes you will find.
Another very important point is to make sure your email is not formatted. Never send HTML formatted emailswhen replying to a project posting. There are many people that hate formatted emails and it may cost you the contract. Before sending your reply, check your setting and be sure it is set to "plain text".
Now that we know how important it is to check your formatting, grammar and spelling, let's move on to whatyou should say. It is very important to let the project poster know what you can do. This doesn't mean sending your resume. Be brief and to the point. Here is an example:
My name is Brad Miller and I have been designing web sites for 5 years. You can view some of the sites I havedesigned by clicking the links below.www.somesite.com
If you can provide me with a little more information about the project I would be happy to provide you a quotefor the project.
At this point you may want to list a few questions you have about the project.
Depending on what type of job you are trying to get you may want to go into a little more detail. Pleaseremember that most of the time you will be responding to someone who knows all about the job and the credentials needed. So if it is a web design job, they really won't care if you have made brochures for some company. All they care about is, can you do the web design stuff.
If you have other skills and would like to let them know, do it in the second or third email. Afterthey feel comfortable with you they may want to know that you can also make brochures for them.
So you've introduced yourself and are ready to get down to business. It is now time to ask questions.Asking the right questions can make or break you. Be knowledgeable about the subject and ask simple yet vital questions.
There is always one question that needs to be asked; what is the deadline?
Beyond that the questions asked need to be pertinent to the project. Stay focused and figure out whatyou need to know to give an accurate quote. Generally, a project posting does not contain much information about the project other than what type of programs or languages are needed. If this is the case, ask for a complete description of what needs to be accomplished. Find out what the resulting goals are of the project.
Let's talk about goals for a minute. The goals of the client are very important. They have a vision and youpossess the skills to make that vision possible. A project is an idea, and you need to take that idea and turn it into reality. You're the solution to their problems. Be a solution, not an added problem.
Let's recap, check your spelling, check your grammar, check your formatting, introduce yourself but bebrief, and ask the right questions. What are we missing?
Make sure you include a signature at the bottom of every email. Useyour full name and include any web addresses that you personally own or maintain. And don't forget to put your phone number in there too. It is very important that they know how to contact you. I am more willing to give a job to someone that gives me a phone number and a physical address than someone that just tells me their name and expects me to grab their email address out of the "from" box.
Remember you are selling yourself not your skills. If I get a warm fuzzy feeling from your email I willmost likely award you the job.
Let's not stop there. We need to talk about communication. Communication is more important than anythingelse. When I have a project and I need to contract out some of the work I want an immediate response. I don't have the time to sit and discuss a project with 20 different people, so I am going to discuss it with the first 5 qualified people that respond. This, of course, is only valid for job postings that are email basedpostings from job lists and email lists. This would not apply for sites like Monster.com.
Communication doesn't stop there. You have to be on the ball throughout the duration of the project.Granted you can't check your email every five minutes of every day. You have to get some work done some time. But you should at the very least check it 5 times a day. Checking your mail doesn't constitute good communication you actually have to respond to them too.
Just following the items above will not guarantee you the contract. You will still need to displayconfidence and understanding. Showing confidence in your sentences let people know that you are willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Understanding the project and the situation will show you are knowledgeable and care enough to take the time to help.
Here is a checklist that you can use when replying to job postings.
- Check your grammar - re-read every email twice.
- Send plain text emails.
- Keep your replies concise and to the point.
- Ask knowledgeable questions.
- Good communication means replying to emails as soon as possible. Don't put it off.