The Art of Communicating with Employers

image of person emailingMany Northwestern students are at a pivotal point in their summer internship search. Whether it be that they are waiting for an invitation to interview, or waiting for an offer, the communication between the student and the recruiter/contact is key for a positive outcome.

Here are some tips to master the art of communicating with employers:

1. Timing is Everything

I recently received feedback from a recruiter that works in finance. This feedback brought to light the importance of when you email a thank you note or a follow-up question to your recruiter/contact. With work email being an essential way for most to communicate and often 24/7, avoid emailing a thank you note at a late hour (read 10pm-5am). This recruiter told me he will check his work email at all times of the night if his phone indicates he has a new message. He worries that it is something very serious or an emergency if an email comes after a certain hour. So, imagine his frustration when the email that came into his work email at 1am was actually a thank you email from a student.

2. Have a Detailed/Relevant Subject Line

I often suggest when emailing someone that you don’t already know to use the line “Northwestern Student Seeking Your Advice”, or “Northwestern Student Follow-Up”. Be detailed in your subject line but also not too detailed that the subject line goes past 6 words.

Also, if you are emailing and the topic of the email no longer relates to the subject line that you are using, take the lead to change the subject to help the reader be reminded of what you are communicating about. For example, if you email someone to set-up an informational interview and your subject line is “Northwestern Student Seeking Your Advice”, the contact replies using the same subject line that they can meet with you. The email you write back should possibly change to “Setting up our informational interview time”.

3. Avoid sending Attachments with No Body Text 

If you are applying to an internship or job and the instructions to apply include “email your resume (and cover letter) to this email address”. Use the body of the email to introduce who you are, tell them why you are applying and detail what is attached. This will show the recruiter/contact that you took the time to be professional and that you really are interested in the position. I’ve been witness to students only including the following statement “Hello, attached is my resume for your review. Thank you.” Avoid this because it’s likely your application was just deleted or moved to the “no” column.

For more great tips on email etiquette read the following article By Ritika Trikha, CareerBliss Writer on February 21, 2012-


One response to “The Art of Communicating with Employers

  1. This is great advice!

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