Wood Words

Manners 2.0: Digital Etiquette Tips

As a job seeker in Middle Tennessee, there are so many ways to give yourself an edge over your competition.  You can dress for success, prepare for common interview questions and research the employer or available position.  Today, we’re going to review one more job hunt weapon to add to your arsenal:  great e-mail etiquette.

Despite being a critical part of conveying a professional image, many job seekers overlook – or simply don’t know about – e-mail “rules of engagement.”  Unlike personal e-mails or texts, professional digital communications need to follow certain guidelines to be effective.  So if the follow-up e-mail you send to a potential employer is polished and – yes – mannerly, it can actually help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting the job.

Before you send your next work-related e-mail, make sure it presents you in a positive, professional light.  Use these important tips to develop flawless e-mail etiquette:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Always use a signature line. Do not assume that the recipient knows who you are.
  9. 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 Wood Personnel’s Candidate Resource Center.  It’s filled with useful tips to help Middle Tennessee job seekers like you land a great job, manage your career, achieve a healthy work/life balance and more.  Have a specific question?  Contact Wood Personnel today.