Job Search Etiquette Rules That Can Boost Your Career

Etiquette, as Emily Post once declared, is the science of living. It may seem stuffy and outdated to some, but having established social protocols can be helpful in unfamiliar situations. A job search, for example, is a time where it can be an asset to have guidelines to follow to make sure that you don’t embarrass yourself or lose a job opportunity because of something preventable. Here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind while you’re looking for a job:

E-mail Etiquette:

  • Use a professional email address with your name or your company’s name. Don’t send emails about your career from a username that involves your dog’s name or your favorite beach. A go-to email address template:
  • Don’t think of emails as an informal space. Keep your writing just as polished as it would be in a printed form of communication. Never use slang or abbreviations, however, incorporating your personality in your email is a good way to show who you are to an employer. 
  • Include an appropriate subject line, such as the position you’re inquiring about. This increases your chances of having your email opened. Additionally, include your name in the subject line so the hiring manager has an easier time finding your application.

Resume Etiquette:

  • Make everything easy to read by sticking to a standard font (Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica) and using a font size between 10 and 12.
  • If you are applying to an entry-level, junior, or associate position, respect your prospective employer’s time by keeping your resume to one page. Resumes for senior or executive positions can be up to 3 pages. Don’t include temporary work or jobs unrelated to the position you’re applying for.
  • Proofread your entire resume, once when you finish creating it, and once before you send it to an employer.

Cover Letter Etiquette:

  • Always send a cover letter. There are more people who prefer to have one than don’t, and omitting one is a bigger mistake than including one that isn’t wanted.
  • Address it to a specific person. With the prevalence of LinkedIn and companies getting involved with social media, this is easier than ever before to find the hiring manager or human resources manager.
  • Get to the point quickly. Don’t make someone read four paragraphs before you get to the point of what you can do for their company. 

Interview Etiquette:

  • Arrive on time. Never be late, and try not to be too early, as it’s possible that the person you’re interviewing with may have another meeting or task to complete before you arrive. In the age of virtual interviews, you don’t have to jump on the call as early. Enter the call 5-10 minutes to collect your thoughts. Popping onto the call 15 minutes or earlier can throw off your preparation because you have too much time to overthink. 
  • Your interview begins the moment you step into the building. Turn your phone off and be courteous and attentive to everyone you encounter. Treat everyone as if they were the CEO. 
  • When you shake hands, always use a firm grip and make eye contact with the other person. On virtual calls, do your best to look into the camera and not at yourself or the interviewer(s). Eye contact is incredibly important to connecting with people, and even more important when you aren’t directly interacting with them 

We hope these tips will help you get your dream job. Incorporating these tips in your job search will help you get past the applicants who are not as professional as you are, and get you one step closer to snagging an interview. Are there any other job etiquette tips you know of? Share them in the comments!

Want to learn more about how to ace an interview? Read our article on what interview mistakes to avoid:

8 Biggest Interview Mistakes to Avoid


Looking for more guidance in your job search?  Agency 8 Recruiters are ready to work with you to find a new job and meet career goals. We look forward to hearing from you! Contact us at 832.284.4191 or by email at

If you are interested in more HR and career advice, follow Agency 8 on our social media. 

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