Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Essential Email Etiquette

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Not sure if you’re being quite professional enough in your online communication? Read on for some quick tips that will guide you through your next email encounter.

Be Timely
No one likes a pen pal who doesn’t write back! It is incredibly important to stay on top of your emails and respond in a timely manner. If you have a smartphone you should make sure that all of your email accounts are set up and that you check them often throughout the day. Every time you’re at your computer you should check your email at least once, and do your best to respond to messages within 24 hours.

Be Professional
Now that you are in college you should have a professional email address. As a general rule it should be made up of solely your first and last name. Yes, that means your 6th grade account “sk8rgurl4lyfe@aol.com” is no longer appropriate. Switch over to your Colorado.edu email address, which is perfectly professional or use a gmail or Yahoo account!

Use English
And by that we mean proper English. Correct grammar and spelling are crucial for employers, teachers and fellow students to take you seriously when sending an email. You should also write out words in their entirety because “Where R U gf?” no longer makes the cut! Also make sure to use spellcheck, capitalize and punctuate correctly.

Be Concise
The purpose of email is quick and efficient communication; so make your messages worth reading! Cut to the chase rather than droning on with an awkward introduction – the person you’re emailing will appreciate it!

Watch Your Tone
It is much more difficult to express tone via email than it is in person or over the phone. Don’t try sarcasm in your emails because your audience may not understand or appreciate it. Make sure that you come off as respectful, friendly and approachable. No one wants to receive an email that is rude or demanding!

Be Polite
Always address people you don’t know as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. or Professor. Only use their first name if they have already implied that you may do so. When signing your emails make sure to say something like “Best,” or “Sincerely,” and then your first and last name on the next line.

Whether you’re writing to a professor or applying for a job, email etiquette shows respect for the person you’re communicating with and could make or break your chance at being offered a position. Don’t miss your chance for some great opportunities because your email communication is less than professional. People will notice and will take you more seriously.