You’ve found a post for the perfect job. The next step is to get recruiters to a) take you seriously and b) agree to an interview. Here’s a quick 7-step guide to drafting an email that will achieve both:

1. Be clear in the subject line: Make sure the subject line of the email states your intent – clearly. People get so many emails and they’ll ignore ones that seem unimportant.

2. Use a semi-formal tone: This is likely to be your first communication with a recruiter. Use ‘Dear’ and their first name. Saying, ‘Hi’ will undermine your professionalism.

3. Introduce yourself briefly: You don’t need to have a long paragraph to introduce yourself – they’ll ask if they need to know more. State your name, title, how you found them and why you’d like to be interviewed by them.

4. Move swiftly on: Keep your communication short – if the email is too long, they’ll lost interest.

5. Request an appointment: Suggest the best times for an interview, based on the time you have available. If they can’t make those times, they’ll say so.

6. Write a conclusion: A conclusion in an email isn’t like the ones you had to write for school history essays. They need to be warm but short.

7. Include your signature: Make sure your email signature is detailed and accurate (but not over the top). You’ll want to make it easy to contact you or look you up online.

You only have one chance to get that first critical element of virtual chemistry right. And if your introductory email is the first contact you’re making with a recruiter or employer, it’s important that you do it properly: it will determine whether you go from face-to-computer to face-to-face.