How to write an email to a potential employer
When searching for a job, you’ve got to get active – which will likely involve sending emails to a potential employer.
You may want to ask about any opportunities that might be available, the status of a recruitment process, or to confirm some essential details about when you start.
Whatever the reason for your message, the structure and format should be familiar to you if you’ve ever written a professional email before. If not, it’s time to start!
This article unpacks the process of writing emails to a potential employer. You’ll learn how to write effective emails to a potential employer and see an incredible 15 examples you can cut and paste or use as inspiration. We also provide some hints and techniques from industry experts to help you.
How to address an email to a potential employer
OK, so how do you write to a potential employer? It’s all about being professional, say communication pros.
A poorly written email won’t precisely harm your career, say the experts in the Harvard Business Review, but it won’t help.
In the digital world, it’s easy to lapse into an informal and (overly) friendly tone of voice that can frustrate potential employers. On the other hand, creating effective emails demonstrates how competent you are, says communications expert Jeff Su.
He talks about the “unwritten rules” of email etiquette, but we’re going to crack the code and write them down for you!
Tips for emailing a potential employer
Let’s start with some tips for emailing a potential employer. Use this as a tick list to avoid some of the common issues, errors, and unprofessional accidents that could affect your chances.
- Be professional and use a formal email format – When emailing a potential employer, it’s not a time to get funny or be too friendly. Instead, stick with the tried and tested format that we outline below.
- Replace “I want” with “I can” – So many people write emails that are full of “I want” or “I would like”. Remember, it’s not about what you want from them; it’s about the value you can add. Consider how the reader will receive your message and offer value, such as experience, skills, or commitment.
- Include an up-to-date resume (if you’re looking for a job) – If you’re applying for a role or prospecting for an opportunity, then be sure to include an up-to-date resume with your email.
- Include your contact details – In the rush to click send, so many people forget to include the basics – in this case, contact details! Always provide the correct email address and phone number. Also, if there are any constraints on your time (if you’re working and can’t answer the phone, for example), then include those in the email.
- Link to socials – LinkedIn is where the world’s workers go to connect and communicate, so always provide a link to your LinkedIn! If it’s relevant to your job, add Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest links (or other).
- Proofread (then read again) – So many emails are sent in a hurry. But spelling and grammar mistakes can make you look totally unprofessional, so proofread and check. If you’re not confident with English (or another language), use a spell checker and grammar checker, such as Grammarly (or get a friend or colleague to proofread).
Email format to employer
The email format to any potential employer must be 100% formal. Using a traditional structure and adopting a formal tone of voice protects you from upsetting or offending anyone.
You’ll also appear polite, professional, and exactly the sort of person they would want to work with!
1. Email to potential employer subject line
The subject line should be simple and clear to understand. Don’t try to be friendly or funny; just state what your message is about. Here are some examples:
- Experienced writer available – do you have any opportunities?
- Can you clarify my start date?
- New starter – vacation request
You’ll see that none of these tries to be smart or funny. Keep it simple and explain what you want.
2. How to start an email to a potential employer
It’s best practice to start each email with an introduction, explaining who you are and why you’re emailing. Even if you’ve spoken (or messaged) the person before, it’s still a good idea to do so. Here’s a simple example of how to start an email to a potential employer:
- My name is (your name), and I’m contacting you to ask whether you have any openings for a freelance writer.
This is a great way to introduce yourself and explain why you’re messaging. It also means that the person who receives the message can quickly understand whether it’s directed to them.
Once you’ve established who you are, you can get into the details and provide more information. Here are the next steps in this message.
- I’ve read your blog and downloaded your publications, and I love your tone of voice and style. I’ve been a freelance writer for 10 years, and I believe I could be a great addition to your writing team. Do you have any opportunities?
You can see how we’ve led with a compliment and notice we’ve not told someone what we want – but how we can add value. We need to validate your request and push for a connection.
- I’ve attached some examples of my work. You can see some of my clients on LinkedIn or view my portfolio online. If you want more examples or to chat, just let me know!
3. How to end an email to a potential employer
If the recipient has read this far, they will likely be interested, so provide your contact details. Here’s an example of how to end an email to a potential employer:
- If you want to chat further, you can email me back here, connect on LinkedIn, or call me on (insert phone number). I look forward to hearing from you! (Your name)
You can add some details here if you need to. You may not want someone to contact you during working hours, for example, or on weekends. Be as clear as possible.
Finally, traditional formal emails use “yours sincerely” or “yours faithfully” at the end. Thankfully, we don’t need to do this anymore – you can use a friendlier sign-off (thanks, many thanks, kind regards, etc.). Check out our samples for examples.
15 example emails to a potential employer
So, we’ve arrived, and it’s time to share some examples! Here are 15 sample emails to a potential employer, covering several (well, 15!) common reasons you’ll want to email an employer.
All these follow the standard format outlined above and use the tips and techniques we’ve outlined above. You can see how we try to offer value in each email example rather than focusing too much on what we want.
Read these for information and inspiration, but always edit, update and amend them for your audience (or it could get a little embarrassing!).
1. Sample email to an employer for a job
Sending emails to prospective employers to ask about opportunities is an effective strategy for finding a job. It demonstrates that you’re using your initiative, actively targeting potential employers and not simply waiting for them to publish opportunities online.
You’ll need to explain who you are and what sort of opportunity you’re searching for – as well as offer some explanation of how you can add value.
2. Sample email introducing yourself to a potential employer
Sometimes you won’t want to push about an opportunity, but you may want to introduce yourself to a potential employer.
This sample email introducing yourself to a potential employer will raise your profile (as long as you send it to the right person, so be sure to do your research).
3. Sample cold email to a potential employer
Cold emails to a potential employer are hard to write, but they are necessary. If possible, try to include a reference or ask a mutual acquaintance to introduce you to the person you’re emailing.
Don’t be scared, however, to send a cold outreach email, and just in case you need help, here’s a sample cold email you can use for inspiration when contacting a potential employer:
4. Sample email to a potential employer about another job offer
This can get a little tricky! If you’ve accepted a job but been offered another, you’ll need to do the right thing and let your prospective employer know. We’ll assume, in this case, that you’re accepting the other job (otherwise, there would be no point in messaging!).
It’s essential to be clear with your decision here, and if you’re accepting the other opportunity, say so – and do so unequivocally.
5. How to email a potential employer after applying sample
Sometimes, you’ll have applied but still have questions about the opportunity. For example, you may want to know about salary, benefits, holidays, parking (or anything else).
Here’s how to email a potential employer after applying; just be sure to tailor this sample to your audience.
6. Follow-up sample email to a potential employer
You’ve sent an employer an email, but you’ve not received a reply. So what do you do?
This follow-up sample email to a potential employer is a gentle reminder that you’ve sent a message (and expect a reply). Sometimes, your message may have gone missing or been added to the mass of unread emails. So one tip here is to send a follow-up email with a new subject line to ensure it’s not missed.
7. Sample email to a potential employer after an interview
Congratulations on securing an interview and getting through the process. You may have questions, have been asked to share examples, or provide a link to your portfolio.
This sample email to a potential employer after an interview can be edited to include whatever details you want. Always finish with an opportunity for a follow-up and contact details.
8. How to write a job rejection email to employer sample
Rejecting a job offer is a bold move, but in some cases, it is necessary. For example, you may have accepted another job, decided to stay where you are or found that the package isn’t as positive as expected.
You don’t have to provide details here; you could simply say no – but it’s professional and polite to at least give a short explanation for your decision.
9. How to email an employer about a job status sample
The interview and recruitment process can take weeks or even months – so you’ll need patience.
Here’s how to email an employer about the status of a job. It’s essential to strike the right tone here, respecting the integrity of the process while pushing for information.
10. How to respond to an email from a potential employer sample
Why would a potential employer email you? They may want to confirm they’ve received your application, invite you to interview, request further examples, or ask for a reference. In all these cases (and more), you can use this sample when deciding how to respond to an email from a potential employer.
11. Sample email to a prospective employer
This sample email to a prospective employer follows a simple structure that should enable you to adapt it. In this example, we’re asking for additional information on an opportunity, but you can adjust this sample as needed.
12. Sample email to a previous employer for rejoining
If you’ve found the grass isn’t greener at a new employer, you may want to approach your previous employer to understand whether there are opportunities to return.
Here’s a (non-committal) sample email to a previous employer for rejoining.
13. How to tell a new employer about planned vacation email sample
If you’re about to join a new organization, you must tell them about any planned vacation before you start. Here’s how to tell your new employer about a planned vacation.
14. Sample email to a future employer about starting
Agreeing on a start date is the last stage in the recruitment process. You can sit back and wait for a notification or propose a few dates – as we do in this sample email to a future employer about starting.
15. Sample email confirming the first day of work to an employer
This is a follow-up to the previous example. You’ve agreed on a start date, so it’s time to confirm it, stick it in your diary, and start figuring out the ideal first-day outfit!
So here’s a sample email confirming your first day of work to your employer.
Email template to a potential employer
If you can’t see a sample email to a potential employer that works, then you can use this email template to create your own.
Work through each stage and fill in the gaps. Be careful to strike the right tone of voice, and focus on how you can add value.
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Crafting an email to a potential employer is all about striking the right tone, following the format, and (above all) being professional.
In this guide on how to write an email to a potential employer, we’ve provided hints, tips and examples – but it’s up to you to put this into practice.
Remember, you’re emailing a potential employer but speaking to a real person, so think about their thoughts, feelings, and the personal impression they’ll build of you after reading your message.
Always aim to add value!
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