The jobs market has changed significantly in the last several years and it is now more competitive than ever as more and more people finish university and drop into a pool of equally talented graduates all competing for roles.

More emphasis is placed on making a great first impressions and more often than not in this day and age that initial contact is given by sending an email and attaching a CV.

It might all seem relatively simple, but when applying for a position or communicating with a potential employer it is vital to remember that it is a professional interaction and whatever you write will be scrutinised.

Some practices for email are the same as writing a conventional cover letter, but there a few different things that might help you to land a job sooner than you think.

Utilise the subject line

This part of the email is more than likely going to be the first thing anyone receiving your application is likely to read and will determine whether the body of the email will actually be read.

Some job applications will detail what they would like in the subject line, for example a job description number or your name for example so make sure you follow those guide lines to the letter. However, if they don’t make sure it doesn’t go to waste, as it can be the perfect place to highlight the job you are applying for and where you saw the advertisement.

Focus on key words used in job descriptions

Most companies will outline the type of skills and relevant experience they would ideally like in someone filling the role so make sure you try and work them in to your email.

Some employers will use applicant tracking systems to find and evaluate potential candidates – so including key skills might well boost your chance of being discovered. Don’t include key search terms if they do not apply to you as an individual though, as you’ll likely be found out further down the line.

Simple formatting is always better

It is always tempting to use some fancy font or colour with the idea that when it is opened you will stand out and be hired on the spot, however that is not usually the case. Use simple, easy to read text fonts and minimal formatting as much as possible.

You should always look for company guidelines – most have them on their website – for submitting applications and make sure you abide by them too. Don’t include attachments unless they are requested otherwise your email might get blocked to prevent spam.

If you’re a recent graduate and are keen to get ahead in your job search, speak with Discovery Graduates to find out about the support that can be provided