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Get an EU job (part 2): Your job application e-mail settings


This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog


Whether you apply to work for an EU agency, a Brussels job in EU affairs, a temporary job at an EU diplomatic mission or elsewhere, you will almost certainly send your application via e-mail: providing a cover message (the e-mail body) and a CV attached. Sounds simple – except when your message is not even delivered to the future employer. How is that possible?

Most job applicants spend hours perfecting and fine-tuning their CVs while little attention is given to the e-mail itself. The most important issue these days is to get through the spam-filters: if your sender settings are spam-sounding, and your subject line is not perfectly on target, your application may not even get delivered, least will it be considered.


If you send your EU job e-mail from a free service like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail (given that you don’t intend to reveal your current employer or have your company servers keep a copy of your application), you must pay extra attention to the sender settings. Your display name in the “From” line should be “John SMITH” and not “Partyguy43” or “Tom” that goes fine when exchanging messages with friends but it’s unsuitable for business use. Similarly, your e-mail alias should show a serious image, preferably related to your name, such as instead of


As for the subject line, it is also a red herring for spam detectors. If you simply put “Job” or leave it blank, your mail is even more likely to end up unnoticed. Moreover, you want to call the reviewer’s attention to your merits, so why not write “EU affairs manager / Job application” in the subject line? Using a dash (“-“) or a slash (“/”) is always special and it already shows that you are familiar with the rules of official correspondence.


The body of the e-mail, in fact your cover letter, should be text-only. No images copy-pasted, no special colors, no flashing effects. Apart from having images blocked out by most company firewalls, this again can endanger the deliverability of your precious message. If you really insist on adding emphasis, you might use bold or italics settings, but only to a limited extent.


Lastly, when you attach a CV, make sure to convert it into PDF and not leave it as a Word file. Why? Not only because Word files are easier to be infected by viruses or so-called macros, but also because PDFs appear the same way on your prospective future employer’s monitor as on yours: nicely formatted, professional looking, and hopefully with a well-defined file name such as “John_Smith_CV_English_2010” for quick reference.


These are basic steps to take but they can go a long way…and may even get you a dream EU job!


Posted in Online EU Training

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