Thursday, August 4, 2011

The 5 Rules of Email Etiquette

Electronic communication has become the standard in today’s business world. Many people would rather send an email instead of making a phone call. However, in the job seeking and business community, you may be breaking some very important rules of etiquette in your email communications. Here are some general rules to help you ensure ALL your communication is professional and appropriate.

Don’t be too friendly or personal in your email.
No matter how well you know your boss, or how much you want to appear to be one of the team with that potential employer, business emails should always stay professional in nature. The tone of your voice, your sense of humor, and intent of irony does not always come through in an email. Before sending an email, read through the message and ensure the content can’t be misconstrued.

Don’t use email for sensitive subjects or when a phone call would be simpler.
Email is not the right place to have a disagreement with another person. You may come across as curt, unfriendly, or even angrier than you really feel – which may just escalate the situation. If you would not want anyone to read the contents of your email, it may be best to have the conversation face-to-face. If you find that you are emailing back and forth and not resolving the issue, it may be better to just pick up the phone and settle the issue.

Pay attention to spelling and grammar.
Professional emails are not the place to use the abbreviated “text language” that is so popular with texting or social media. Take your time when writing an email and check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar to avoid embarrassing mistakes. I once had a client who sent a post-interview thank you email after an interview in which they assured her a job offer would be forthcoming. Her thank you email contained a spelling error. No job offer was ever extended, she lost the opportunity due to a simple mistake.

Ensure your email address is professional. or are just a few of the emails I have seen on actual resumes in my career. Feel free to use whatever email you want for your personal correspondence, but always use a professional email address when corresponding in the business world. It is best to use something simple and professional that contains your name or first initial and last name.

Use the CC and BCC function properly.
The CC function, which stands for “carbon copy” should be used when you are sending a message to someone but also want to copy a few other people on the message. If you are sending a message to a large group of people, use the BCC – or “blind carbon copy” function. This will prevent you from sharing email addresses with a large group of people and will avoid cluttering the email with a large cluster of addresses.

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