When email is your introduction

I got an angry note once from someone who’d applied for a job as editor at Collegewise and was “shocked and dismayed” that we hadn’t invited her to interview.  There were several reasons we’d passed on her, and one of them was the way she’d introduced herself to us in her email: 

“attached please find my cover letter and resume.  thank you”

No greeting, no capitalization, and some sketchy punctuation.  That’s not a good way to introduce yourself (especially when you’re applying for a job as an editor). 

This is a mistake I see a lot of high school students make during the college admissions process.  When an interviewer emails you to schedule a time to meet, or someone in the admissions office invites you to an event for applicants, whatever you send back is the way you’re choosing to introduce yourself.  That’s the first impression you’ll make.  You’d never go to your college interview while still in your pajamas and without even brushing your hair.  And yet a lot of kids think nothing of sending an email like:

“sunday at noon is good.  thank you” or “kevin mcmullin will attend the workshop” 

That’s just a sloppy, lazy way to communicate, especially with someone from a college.  Are you going to get rejected because of that?  Probably not.  But you’re doing absolutely nothing to help yourself, either. 

There’s no need to write a response like Hemingway.  But why not make a good first impression?


Sunday at noon at Starbucks sounds perfect.  I really appreciate you working around my soccer schedule and I’m looking forward to chatting with you.  Thanks so much.”

Kevin McMullin

Or when you’re RSVPing for an event:


Thanks so much for emailing me about the Bowdoin event on Sunday.  If there’s still room, I’d love to come with my parents.  We’re really looking forward to it. Thanks so much.

Kevin McMullin”

It’s not hard.  And enough kids get it wrong that you can stand out by getting it right.   


  1. Holly Giudice says

    Hi Kevin,
    I always enjoy reading your posts. You offer some wonderful and insightful information. I just have to bring a grammatical error to your attention. Your example should read: “I appreciate YOUR working around my soccer schedule.” The verb is appreciate and the noun phrase is “working around my soccer schedule”. You don’t appreciate “you”, you appreciate the working — which is a gerund here.
    This is just one of my many grammar pet peeves and I thought I’d share this with you to try to help you out.
    As always, I look forward to reading more of your posts.