Has this happened to you? You write an email, press send, and then regret it immediately.
If you have ever wished you could stop an email, you are not alone. When you are seeking full-time work, contract opportunities, or temporary placements, you can get into an impatient state-of-mind. And sometimes that impatience translates into rash actions.
For example, perhaps on the spur of the moment, you decide to inject some off-the-wall humour in a covering letter because you think this will help you stand out from the crowd. As soon as you send it, you remember that unless you are applying to be a stand-up comic, you have to be professional, not funny.
Or maybe you are frustrated because you haven’t received a reply from a recruiter or a hiring manager. You sit at your computer and type out an angry email, demanding consideration. After you hit send, you realize that what is top priority to you is one item on a long to-do list for others.
Linda Stone, a leading researcher who studies human-computer interactions, says there is a reason we may act quickly, and without good judgment, when we’re at our keyboards. Her studies show that we often hold our breaths while cranking out emails. She calls this phenomenon “email apnea” – shallow breathing, or not breathing for a few seconds, while dealing with emails.
Doctors confirm that when we hold back oxygen from our brains, we react emotionally, and less professionally. We are more impulsive, and less reflective.
Our clients, the best companies across the GTA, have many stories about receiving emails from people looking for work who have asked them to delete an earlier email without reading it. That’s a sign that the sender didn’t take a deep breath before sending the original message. It doesn’t leave the hiring manager with a good impression.
The best way to avoid this situation? Stay clear-headed. Recruiters at The Bagg Group urge you to step back and breathe before hitting send. That simple act of slowing down for a few seconds can ensure you don’t send out anything that you’ll later regret.
Also, when you finish writing an email, read it over as if you were a busy hiring manager, who doesn’t know you. Is there anything in your message that could possibly be misunderstood? Recruiters at The Bagg Group say the best rule when you aren’t sure about whether to say something is: when in doubt, leave it out.