What You Need to Know About Email Etiquette

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We live in the information age. One of the basics of being a participant in this era of information is having an email. More often than not, it is easy to consider an email just as any other ordinary thing because it has become normalized. For instance, if one wants to sign up for anything these days, they are asked to provide their email and create a unique password. That is just one of the aspects of the importance of having an email. However, it is crucial to understand that an email is vital in various ways beyond just signing up for social media accounts and other websites. It is worth noting that an email is used for personal and professional functions. Most of the time, we enjoy using it for our personal functions. However, do you know that how you use your email for professional purposes differs from how you use it for personal purposes? I thought you should know.

Email etiquette is defined as a set of implied protocols on writing or answering emails in a socially or professionally acceptable way. The etiquette varies depending on whom one is sending the email to and differs for professional and personal emails. I am sure that we were all taught email etiquette in our high school English and as such, we at least know the emailing basics. However, we find ourselves forgetting the basics, and we are also unaware of the advanced uses of emails from time to time. Therefore, there is a need to be reminded about email etiquette, especially now when we are about to enter the job market and as we continue to live in a world that continues to be revolutionized by technology daily.

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Back to the Basics

Recently, I was part of an online discussion regarding professional etiquette. The moderator provided an example whereby he had asked qualified young men to apply for a sales and marketing position. Among the mistakes that he noted included emails without a subject, emails without body text, emails without introduction text, forwarded emails, and emails sent from unprofessional names. Notably, these mistakes form the basis of what this blog would address today regarding email etiquette.

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Email Identity Name

Picture this: You are the company recruiting personnel. You had initially advertised a job opening, and now, you receive emails from “Scoobie da Thug,” “Slim Jimmy,” “Tommy Lee Sparta,” “Quento 7,” and “James Brown.” You will likely read the email from James Brown because of the formal email identity name. The other names appear informal. Hence, as a campus student, you must take note of the name that appears in every email that you send. The name needs to be formal. Essentially, the name that appears in the email that you use for your formal engagements should have your official first name and surname (or last name) as asked during registration. The other funny names may be reserved for your informal emails. As a precaution, you may have two emails: one formal and the other informal. The formal email would be used for your official engagements and the informal email for your casual engagements.

Introductory Text and Body Paragraphs

This is the salutation part of the email. An email is not like the regular Short Messages Service (SMS) that you send to your peers. If you are composing a formal email, there needs to be proper salutation and not the “Hey,” “Hello,” or “Hi” that you are used to in everyday conversations. In formal emails, the official salutation that suffices is “Greetings?”

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The next line is often, “I trust that this email finds you well.” The third line then introduces the body text whereby you outline the purpose for sending the email. For instance, you may be informing your lecturer that you have attached an assignment; therefore, the third line would be written as follows: “Find attached a copy of the assignment titled….”

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Keep the Emojis Away

Remember that formal emails use official language and as such, remember to keep away informal phrases and other items used in communicating informally, such as emojis.

Signing Off and Signature          

Signing off the formal email follows some particular criteria. For instance, if you were applying for an attachment or a job, the line, “I look forward to hearing from you soon,” would be appropriate. Then the last words or the signature would be: “Regards.”

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Forwarded Emails

Remember, it is easier for an email recipient to know when you send them a forwarded email. In composing formal emails, avoid forwarded emails because it shows how “lazy” and unintentional you are when applying for a particular attachment or job. Every email that is composed needs to be deliberate. Notably, the requirements for one job differ from another, and as such, there is a need to compose specific emails for a particular position.

From the foregoing, you need to differentiate formal emails from informal ones. However, it is worth noting that onwards, most of the emails that you would be composing would be formal. Therefore, the earlier you acquaint yourself with formal emails, the better. Remember the format of composing such an email such as having a formal introduction, appropriate topic sentences for the body paragraphs, and sign-off as needed. It is only then that you could attract job interviews and also be regarded as having a good command of soft skills.

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