If you have been emailing for any amount of time, you know the basics of email etiquette: Don’t use all caps because that denotes anger (if you’re that angry, compose yourself before composing an email), don’t send confidential information, and be especially careful before you hit “Reply All.”
Following the above advice should keep you safe from harm to your job or workplace relationships. Which means that you are ready to achieve the next level of email professionalism.
Here are some do’s and don’ts that will ensure that you present yourself in your absolute best light:
- Punctuate carefully. If you are trying to be emphatic, one exclamation point will do. Try to use more powerful words instead to convey your passion.
- Keep sentences short and paragraphs shorter. Be careful and brief. Separate paragraphs (and not too many paragraphs) to give your reader’s eye a chance to rest, and to ensure every sentence is read, rather than skimmed.
- Don’t write the whole email in the subject line unless you can make your point in a short, complete sentence (e.g. “Turn off computers this Friday”). For clarity, in the body of the email, write, “The subject line says it all.”
- Don’t send an email when a phone call or face-to-face meeting would be a more effective way to interact. For example, if the topic is very sensitive or very complex. Many advanced emailers keep to a three-exchange maximum and then go to a different mode of communication if the topic is not resolved.
Finally, and most importantly, re-read the email before you send it. Does it contain abbreviations you would find in a text to a friend rather than a colleague at work? Does it reflect the tone you intend? Can you anticipate how it might be received?
Advanced emailers have the right answers to those questions.
Sherri Sacks is a Career Coach for the JCS Career Center. The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment services to help job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment or change their career. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resumes, interview preparation, and connections to employers who are hiring. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.