The Scantily Tested Guide for a Successful E-mail Application Abroad (or Not)
DISCLAIMER: This guide for a successful e-mail application abroad (or not) – and when I say “or not”, I mean “or not abroad” – has only been tested on tall-ish, blond-ish girls, who enjoy games of twenty-one and inappropriate banter.
1. SUBJECT LINE: You must convince the potential employer to open the e-mail.
Unless the potential employer specifies otherwise, you must take care in creating a sufficient subject line for your e-mail application. If the studio does not have a “call for applicants” or is not overtly hiring, vocabulary such as; “intern” “internship” “job” “hire” “student” “assistant” “enlargement” “position” etc. will greatly decrease the probability of the e-mail being opened.* A subject line must be simultaneously professional, personal, and unspecific.
e.g. To the attention of Name Surname.
or if you don’t know the representatives name;
To the attention of Studioname.
*Note: If the studio’s website offers a multitude of e-mail addresses, you must use the suggested e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the main address, however, in order to increase your success rate by 68%, you must Cc the other available e-mail addresses simultaneously (email@example.com).
2. PHOTOGRAPH: You must convince the potential employer to read the e-mail.
A photograph inserted beneath the address – as in the people to whom the e-mail is addressed – greatly increases the success rate of the e-mail being read. When the potential employer can put a face to a name, the e-mail application is personified.** The photograph should be directly inserted, not attached, and must be professional.
**a picture is worth a thousand words.
DO: insert a photograph of making a model. DON’T: insert a photograph with a playboy model. DO: insert a photograph of a critique. DON’T: insert a photograph of the events post-critique. DO: insert a photograph of working in studio. DON’T: insert a photograph of sleeping in studio.
If the above is unclear, ask any available prof for clarification.
3. STATEMENT OF INTENT: You must convince the potential employer to view your documentation.
The very first sentence must include the mandatory information. Imagine that it is the only sentence that will actually be read.
e.g. Hi, my name is Name Surname, I am entering my fourth year at the University of Waterloo, School of Architecture and I am inquiring about a position between January and May 2015.
Furthermore, the reality of the situation is that an HR representative will be reading the e-mail application (with a checklist of technical skills). Thus, you must include a list of your technical skills.
e.g. I am proficient in; Adobe Creative Suites (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, V-Ray, Digital Fabrication (Laser Cutting, 3D-Printing), Physical model-making and drafting, and tapping my head whilst rubbing my belly.
Lastly, the potential employer must be directed to your additional documentation (formal cover letter, resume/CV, portfolio and/or website). You must note whether the documentation is attached or linked. “I can supply references upon request” is an appropriate way of indicating the existence of reference letters.
Think of the written content of the e-mail application as a first date of which you’ve performed a sufficient background check. If you’ve uncovered their love for grande, nonfat, pumpkin spice lattes with whip, you mustn’t outright say, “So listen, your Linkedin profile linked me to your Instagram page where I noticed that you love grande, nonfat, pumpkin spice lattes with whip!” No! You might however, express that you love the autumn coffee blends. They already know what they like about themselves, give them a reason to like you.
For more information on cover letter DO’S and DON’TS check out The 7 Deadly Sins of Cover Letter Writing.
4. DOCUMENTATION: You must convince the potential employer to send a response.
You must attend WASA’s Portfolio Reviews this Friday October 17th. The production of architectural documentation is subjective. Some potential employers expect a more formal cover letter, resume/CV, portfolio and/or website, while other potential employers employ office dogs in managerial positions. Your best bet is to envision yourself as the recipient of your own, and 348 additional, e-mail applications – what would you want to receive?
You must however, make sure that the conglomeration of all your attachments are under 5MB (in order for every e-mail host to receive them).
5. RESPONSE: You must convince the potential employer to offer you the position.
When a response is received from the potential employer, you must first celebrate because a response means that your e-mail application abroad (or not) was successful. Positive and negative responses are both indicators of a reviewed application. To reiterate: positive responses = good, negative responses = good, no responses = bad. When a response is received, you must reply to the e-mail. For a positive response, reply immediately with a set of dates and times to schedule an online interview. For a negative response, reply immediately with gratitude and a further interest in the studio – especially if a position becomes available. There are many opportunities to receive interviews after a negative response and the immediate reply places you first in line on the wait list.
DO: proof read. DON’T: misspell nnames. DON’T: misspell. DON’T: send an e-mail to one studio with another studio’s name in the body. DO: send at least 80 e-mail applications. DO: celebrate when you complete a successful e-mail application abroad (or not).
For more “Scantily Tested Guides” check out:
The Scantily Tested Guide for a Successful Co-op Experience Abroad (or Not)
The Scantily Tested Guide for a Successful Critique in University (or Out)