By Mary Chickos
**Image by Eric Wynen/The Current. Be sure not to use angry tweetspeak when emailing your boss or professor
On January 29, in the Office of Career Services, Lynn Willis, a Career Services Coordinator, gave a professional development workshop about tips for sending professional e-mails.
Willis gave a basic list of questions one should ask themselves before sending a professional e-mail. Is my e-mail ready to send? Is my subject line clear and concise? While professional e-mails are an important skill to learn when they are sent to professors, employers and coworkers, they are not to be viewed like the e-mails sent to family and friends, which can be more casual. However, there are some necessary courtesies that improve the e-mail correspondence process, regardless of the recipient.
Always fill in the subject line of any e-mail. According to Willis, “Use a descriptive topic that means something to your reader.” For example, “Please review my resume.”
It is important to use a professional greeting with a title, such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Professor. “Hey Lynn” is not a professional greeting. If the e-mail is designated for a familiar individual, use their first name as you would in person or on the phone.
Do not use all capitals, since this can be interpreted as SHOUTING! Use of exclamation marks can be interpreted as anger.
Remember that for business correspondence, correct grammar is vital. Do not write long, run-on sentences, as shorter sentences are better for this type of communication. PLZ avoid text speak and excessive use of short phrases for business professional correspondence. It is important to be concise and stick to the point of your subject line. Write with action verbs, and use bullet points rather than long winded paragraphs. Signature blocks are commonly used at the conclusion of the correspondence containing name, title, company and address. For example:
Joseph G. Wilson, BSBA Finance
University of Missouri-St. Louis, Class of 2016
Edit and proofread everything before you hit send. An e-mail full of errors communicates sloppiness or lack of attention to detail. Read everything out loud to see if it makes sense. Proofread. Proofread again.
Be mindful of how many people are included in the e-mail. Be very careful when using “ Reply to all” or “Forward ” if the e-mail is intended for only certain people. Provide specified label attachments such as a resume with a clear, unique title “Jeff Jones resume,” rather than “January 29 version of my resume.”
Do not share too much personal information with people whom you work or have class with. However, this might be a wise business practice in all areas of life, not just e-mails.
Make sure there is a clear subject line in your e-mail. Stick to the topic related to the subject line. Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use an appropriate greeting.
Above all, be polite, respectful, and concise. Sending an e-mail tells the recipient more about the sender than what the body of the e-mail actually says.
For any further help with professional etiquette, contact Career Services. They can also help with resume and cover letter writing as well as interviewing and effective job search strategies. A career advice 101 series continues throughout the semester in 278 MSC. To reach the department, visit http://careers.umsl.edu or call 314-516-5111.
(c) The Current