I got an email this week from someone who is looking for an opportunity to become a business writing teacher. The individual happens to live just a two-minute walk from my house. She introduced herself briefly, attached a cover letter and resume, and signed her email this way:
your unemployed neighbor,
Jane Doe [not her real name, of course]
Seeing Jane's signoff, can you guess my friendly advice for job seekers?
Friendly advice: Don't be overly friendly!
Even if a friend recommends that you contact someone (which was not the case with Jane), be friendly but professional–not informal. You are not writing to a friend or family member. Follow standard rules for business writing such as capitalizing the first word of the complimentary close. And use a standard close such as "Best regards"–not "Your unemployed neighbor." If you have doubts about your message, ask someone in your professional network to review it for you.
In Jane's email, she said "informality seemed more appropriate" than a formal business letter, since I live one block from her. But Jane was writing to me about the possibility of a professional job. Is informality appropriate in such a job-search message?
Do you have business writing advice for job seekers? Please share it.