When Job Search Email Goes Missing

by Meg Guiseppi on September 26, 2011

job search email

Never assume that the email you’ve sent has reached its destination or that it has been read by the person intended.

Recently I opened an email with a scathing message from someone I didn’t know. She bashed me for ignoring her previous email inquiring about my services. Problem is, I never received her first email.

I immediately sent her an apologetic reply explaining that I hadn’t received the first email . . . that this happens sometimes for no apparent reason . . . that I always respond to inquiries in a timely manner. I expected an apology from her in return. What I got was another angry email denying that this could have happened, and reiterating how unprofessional I was to not respond to the first email.

She obviously didn’t believe me. Sometimes email never gets delivered to the addressee – it’s lost in space. Sometimes it lands in the addressees inbox, but spam filters grab it before the addressee ever sees or knows about it. Sometimes delivery stops dead, from one email message to the next with the same person. It’s happened to me quite a few times, when I’ve been the sender and the receiver.

Susan P. Joyce, Editor and Publisher of Job-Hunt.org, a top Internet employment portal, said in her article about email and spam filters:

Spam filters are not perfect. So a “good” message, like one from you responding to a job lead, may not be received. That’s called a “false positive”, and it happens with more frequency than you think.

Usually, you don’t receive a message letting you know that your message was not delivered. So you never know what happened to your message. You just don’t get a response.

In her article, Susan goes on to outline some do’s and don’ts to avoid spam filter traps. She also went on to explain how you can use this unfortunate situation to your advantage:

It is a legitimate reason to call an employer to check to see if they received your message. And, MAYBE, when you have them on the phone, you can –

  • Connect with a live person who will help you get that job, or
  • Ask when and where they post their job openings, or
  • Do a soft-selling job to get that interview, or
  • Discover the reason you didn’t get interviewed, or
  • Learn what are the “next steps” in their hiring process, or
  • Ask if anyone had a reservation about hiring you and what it might be, or…

Related posts:

Get Your Executive Brand Into Your Email Signature

How To Land an Executive Job in 2011

Executive Job Search: The Old Way (Networking) Still Works Best

photo by Sean MacEntee

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi September 27, 2011 at 7:49 am

You have a good plan, Nick. The surprise for me was learning that sometimes those emails don’t land in spam filters, and we never know someone has sent them. Follow-up after a few days or so is the key. If you don’t hear anything after sending an email, find out if the addressee ever received it.

Thanks for commenting!

2 Nick Gilham September 27, 2011 at 2:06 am


Great points. Technology is not perfect. I have caught a handful of legitimate messages in my Gmail spam folder lately. Checking my spam folders is now a regular, daily task for me.

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