These days, almost any job/scholarship advertisement requires potential applicants to submit their expression of interest via email or apply online. Most people do have some idea of how to send and receive emails but actually preparing a document and submitting electronically as required in the advertisements does require a bit of preparation and planning. Just like you would make photocopies and clip together all the required documents for a manual hard copy submission, electronic application needs be given the same care and attention. In this article I will show you how to do this in steps.
Step 1: Create Your Personal Email Account
First and foremost this is to create your own email account. Even if you are working, and have an organizational email address, I recommend you have a private or personal web-based email address which you can use for all your personal purposes. If you are using a workplace email, then you have to abide by their ICT policy when you use for personal purposes. Also, in many instanced, access would be only via the organization’s computer network. Therefore, it is necessary to have an email account for your personal use and it can be accessed from anywhere and any devices where there is internet connection. Example your smartphone. Although, there are so many web-based email services available on the internet for free, it is good to go with the top guns in internet technology (Gmail) from Google, outlook from Microsoft and Yahoo Mail. Go to your preferred web-based email provider’s website and sign up for a free email account. It won’t cost you anything except data credit on your mobile phone or internet connection device.
Make sure you use full name and your email address should be your name. Don’t use nick names and names with numbers and other symbols. Example, firstname.lastname@example.org is better than email@example.com . In this way, the recipient of your email will identify your email as it is from a decent person. First impression counts in job applications. Once you have registered your email, test it by sending a couple of text emails to your friends and write your login password safely somewhere for reference. In the event you forget your login details, you can always refer to your written record.
Remember to include your email contact in all official private correspondences, unless it is not necessary in a given circumstances.
Step 2: Take Note of the Application Submission Requirements.
Read the submission requirements of the advertisement carefully. Particularly pay attention to the following:
- Email address to submit the application to.
- Due date of the application.
- Any website links or email provided to get further information or download the job descriptions and etc.
- File format required (Example, except both word and pdf formats one type only).
- Name of the contact person in relation the applications and phone numbers if provided.
- Need to download and fill the application or submit as expression of interest.
- List of required documents.
- Read every line of information so you don’t miss any key information.
With this information in hand, you then prepare your application documents.
Step 3: Converting Your Application Documents Into Electronic File Formats.
Scan your important documents like Academic/School certificates, references, NID Card, Driver’s Licence and etc into electronic copies. Dedicate a specific flash drive to store those alone. Don’t store them on a flash drive you daily use for work and other purpose. These are your important documents so keep them separate and secure. Use this flash drive only when you need to. Also good to have a back up copy too in your PC or another flash drive.
If you are using paid scanning services like the ones provided by print shops in town, make sure you scan them in color and in pdf file format. Pdf (portable Document File) format is the lighter in size. Don’t scan them into color image formats like .png, gif or .jpg as they increase the file size. Some email services like gmail have attachment file size restrictions. The objective is to maintain print quality with less in file size.
Step 4: Write Your Cover Letter and Sign of Electronically.
This is the trickiest part. Common way is to write the cover letter is to print it and sign. Than scan signed copy again into pdf format. Certificates and other documents are permanent copies so it’s ok to scan once and store them. Cover letter changes for every application you would like to send. So it does become a problem, when you have to many scans for those cover letters. So, here is the way to do it in a much simpler way.
- Write your signature like you normally sign in any document on a clean A4 size white sheet of paper in the middle with a blue pen. Don’t sign big, small size like your normal signature will do.
- Scan that into a pdf form. Once it’s scanned, open it .
- Go to Windows Search box in your computer close to the Start button and type in “Snipping Tool” without quotes to open the free Windows cut utility software Snipping Tool. Click Snipping Tool from the search results pop up menu. This will show the Snipping Tool window (image below). Select the mode to Rectangular and click on New.
Windows Search box.
Snipping Tool window.
- Mouse pointer will turn into a small plus sign + . Now, you point the mouse pointer close the edge of the signature and without releasing the mouse move the pointer to square up the signature so it is within small square size that fits it. Then release the mouse. Snipping Tool with window will display the cut signature image. Click Save and name it as “Signature”. Now your signature is in a small image file, ready to insert in your cover letters to sign off. You can also use for other documents that needs to be signed off before emailing them.
- After you finish your cover letter or any document that you need to sign and email, simply put the cursor in the place in your word document where you want to sign off.
- Click on Insert==>Pictures on the Word tab. Look for your signature image file and click Insert to insert it. If it’s over size, click the picture and resize it to a desired size. The right-mouse and click Tight text wrapping Layout, to hold it steady in place
- Once you have inserted your signature and done the final checks of your cover letter and satisfied, click File==>Export and click Create Pdf/XPs button. Name the file and save it as your cover letter. Now you have a signed cover letter to email. By exporting as pdf file, you lock your signature and cover letter as one.
Step 5: Compile Your Documents Together as One File.
It is not a good idea to attach all your required documents into email as attachments. Because, depending on the recipient, he/she might miss one during download or during print. You don’t know how the emailed files will be handled. So think of it as giving them all in one file. So, if the application is an online application, it’s not good to upload all your documents separately. Zip them as all under one zip file name.
How to Zip Files together as one.
Window 10 Operating system has made zipping files and sharing more easier than before so you should do this with any personal computer running on Windows 10.
- Put all your files that needs to be emailed or uploaded on the online application platform into one single folder. (Certificates, references, cover letter and all).
- Open that folder. Once the folder is opened, select all files by pressing Ctrl + A on the keyboard together or press Ctrl key while selecting the files one by one, until all the files are select.
- While the files are still selected, go to the top of the Folder Window, click Share Tab and Click on Zip. Zip files will automatically create a zipped file.
4: Rename that zip file appropriate so it to make it easy for the person handing your email application to know contains your application, eg Zip file name Name should be clear enough to know the file is your application.
That zip file is e one you will email with as a single attachment when you email or upload if you are filling an online application.
Step 6. Email or Upload the Zipped File.
Now, you have only one zip file to email as attachment or upload on online as required.
Final note, don’t write what you wrote on your cover letter as main email message. Email message should be one or two lines only.
Hope this article is of benefit to you.