Email Etiquette

There are many messaging platforms available for communicating with friends, professors, and definitely employers. However, email still remains a widely used form of communication.

Most public schools are just beginning to touch on teaching proper email etiquette to students and therefore most college students and adults in the workforce are unaware of how to correctly approach writing an email.

Here is a simple guide to the basic rules of composing electronic letters:

Include a clear subject line to let the recipient know what they are about to open and read. The subject line should include a concise and direct description of what the email is about such as “Meeting date changed” or “Question regarding yesterdays spreadsheet.” Never use a catchy subject line to get the recipient’s attention if it does not match the content of the email as this will make you less credible.

Use proper greetings such as a simple hello and the recipients full professional name name such as “Hello Dr. John Doe.” Never use slang like “What’s up” and so on as it makes you seem less professional. In addition, when addressing a group of people it is best to either call each out individually or address them with all incorporating nouns such as “Dear Colleagues.”

Introduce yourself even if you have already seen someone once before as they might not remember you form the first time you met. A good example of an introduction would be “Hello sir/madam, it’s John Doe, a student at the University of Kansas. We spoke at a career convention and I would like to follow up…” If you’ve never met someone before then your introduction should probably be a little longer.

Use an email signature and if you do not already have one then make one as soon as possible. An email signature is usually set up to appear at the bottom of an email with contact information such as an address and phone number. It helps when someone needs to get a hold of you quickly since you probably do not constantly check your email.

Check everything to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors and then check it again. The last thing you want to do is look foolish for misspelling something as important as the name of the person you are corresponding with.

Lastly, a good tip is to put in the recipients email address last to avoid sending an unfinished email and to turn on the undo feature available on certain email platforms which will allow you to cancel an email within a few minutes of sending if you do accidentally send one.