Whether you’re on the job hunt or on the job, e-mail is an essential component of your success. But despite being an important part of conveying a professional image, many people overlook (or don’t know about) e-mail “rules of engagement.”
Unlike personal e-mails, your professional digital communications need to follow certain guidelines to be effective. So before you hit the “Send” button on your next work-related e-mail, be sure to review this list of quick tips:
- Fill in the “To:” e-mail address last. Wait until you are completely through proofing your e-mail to fill in the recipient’s address. This will keep you from accidentally sending an e-mail prematurely – and save you from the potential embarrassment of typos or forgotten attachments.
- Be professional. Skip abbreviations, texting lingo and emoticons. Mind your manners and follow the basic rules of courtesy you learned while growing up – like using the words “Please” and “Thank you.” Keep your tone professional at all times, striving to come across as respectful, friendly and approachable.
- Create a descriptive subject line. Make it easy for your recipient to tell what your e-mail is about; otherwise, it may be overlooked or deleted.
- Address the recipient by name in the body of the e-mail. It adds a personal and courteous touch to your communication. Only address someone by his first name if he implies that it’s okay to do so.
- Avoid the following: USING ALL CAPS (it’s the written equivalent of YELLING!); over-using punctuation!!!!!!; HTML (not everyone can view it); forwarding unsolicited e-mail (not everyone will think it’s cute or funny, and you may wind up offending or annoying someone).
- Be concise, but thorough. Respect the recipient’s time by getting to the point of your e-mail as quickly as possible. Additionally, make sure you include all relevant information the recipient needs, to avoid a string of unnecessary additional e-mails.
- Use office e-mail exclusively for office communications. Work e-mail is official company property. If you want to e-mail friends or family, use a separate Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail account. Remember, your IT administrator and/or boss has the right to open work account e-mails at any time.
- Always use a signature line. Do not assume that the recipient knows who you are.
- Use your spellchecker, but don’t rely on it. Spellcheckers have their value but may not catch missed words, incorrect information, etc. Always proof your e-mail yourself before sending.
A final note to job seekers:
When you are applying for a job via e-mail, follow the instructions given to the letter. In general, you should copy and paste your cover letter into the body of the e-mail. If the posting asks you to send your résumé as an attachment, send the file as a .doc (Microsoft Word document) or .pdf (Adobe Acrobat file). Before sending the e-mail, send yourself a test message to make sure everything displays properly.
Looking for more great career advice?
Visit A.R. Mazzotta’s Career Tips. It’s filled with employment-related articles, training information and other useful information for Connecticut job seekers. Have a specific question? Contact an A.R. Mazzotta employment specialist today.