According to statistics released by Statistics SA earlier this year, 6.1 million people are without jobs in South Africa. In the first three months of this year alone, the rate of unemployment had risen from 26.7% to 27.2%.

Risenga Maluleke, Statistician General at Stats SA says jobseekers are left discouraged and hopeless due to the rising rate of unemployment, especially among-st black women who are at a staggering 33.2%, the highest compared to other South African population groups.

“We have 2.9 million people who were discouraged job seekers and another 12.6 million people who are not economically active. This means that they are not working and they are not looking for employment for whatever reason,” Maluleke says.

If you clicked on this article, you are one of many South Africans who haven’t lost hope. Our series, Applications 101 will look at how to successfully apply, the right way — from what tone to use when sending an email, to how to properly follow-up on a job application.

Let’s get right to it.

Having proper email etiquette helps you avoid mistakes and misunderstandings in your emails. It also helps you communicate politely without mistakenly offending others, or making yourself look unprofessional when applying for a job. This is the right way of sending an application email:

Have a subject line

Include the job title you are applying for in the subject line — companies/ recruiters receive a lot of emails every day, so they might miss your email if the subject line is not specific. Some job adverts also have reference codes for their applications, so make sure to add the reference code in the subject line too.

Extend a formal greeting

When sending an job application email, use formal language to show that you are a professional. If the email address is not address to a specific person, include an overall greeting.

Get straight to the point

After your greeting, get straight into why you are sending the email. Mention the job position you’re applying for, where you saw the job application advertised, and also why you are a suitable candidate for the job position. End off your email body with referring the recipient to your resume attached, with the required documents, if any.

Sign off

In the final sentence, thank the recipient for reading your email, and let them know you will be looking out for their communication. Once you are done, remember to proofread the email, and attach your CV and the documents required.

Here’s an example of an application email

1. Greeting:

  • “Dear Ms/Mr (Surname)”, if you know who to address the email to

  • “Dear Sir or Madam”, or “To whom it may concern”, if you don’t know the specific person the email is addressed to

2. Body:

“Please see my CV and qualifications for the advertised role of Digital Administrator on Careers24. I would be grateful if I would be considered for the position because I meet all the qualifications and requirements, please see CV attached.”

3. Ending

  • “I look forward to hearing from you.”

4. Closing: choose one of the following:

  • “Sincerely,”

  • “Kind regards,”

After closing off, follow with your full name underneath, and add your contact details, eg:

  • Zanele Miya

  • Cell: xxx xxx xxxx

Application email checklist

  • Before you click “send”: always proofread (everything from the recipient's email to your spelling and grammar), and edit

  • Attach required documents

  • Remember everything you send is on permanent record, so be truthful!