Here are few ground basics to be kept in mind before you hit the send button after composing an email.
1. Use a proper subject:
This is the most common complaint about a bad email. Never write an email with a subject such as “Hi…”, “Hello…”, “Help” etc,. Instead write an appropriate subject with sufficient information that gives a gist of your email. Such as “Job application for Junior developer by XYZ university graduate”, “Request for assistance in application for XYZ college”, “Regarding a correction in science assignment” , etc. Emails with subjects that give little or no information are more likely to be ignored by the reader. Any fairly busy recruiter or professor would receive no less than a hundred emails daily. They usually scan their inbox using the subject to answer the emails that sound important first.
2. Use a new subject for a new mail:
Do not abuse the “reply email” unless the purpose of your new email is relevant to the old one that you are replying to. If you wish to ask a new question or about something else other than you asked in earlier mails, consider writing a new email with a fresh subject using guidelines given above.
3. Avoid SMS lingo:
This is the second frequently committed error by students. How often do you send email such as these?
“Cn u plz consider my profile for d job?”
Such instant messaging shortcuts and sms shortcuts make you sound like a semi literate. Always write full words and complete sentences.
4. Avoid funky email addresses:
Before you send any formal email to an important person, be sure that your email id sounds formal. Never ever write to HR Managers with fancy email ids such as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Best bet would be to create an email id which includes your first name and last name. If you don’t have one, consider creating an email that sounds decent and formal.
5. Furnish complete information:
Ensure that your email has complete information about who you are and clear explanation about the problem that you would like to bring to the notice of the person that you are emailing. It is a good practice to mention your full name, your college name and its location, years of education in college, college registration number. Proofread your email and ensure that your email gives sufficient information for the person reading your email to be able to take action.
6. Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’:
Ensure that your tone is formal and humble. Use the magical words “please” and “thank you” where ever possible. As a rule of thumb use “please” to request for action on your problem and thank the reader when they reply back or take action on your problem.
“Please consider my profile.”
“Thank you for your response/action.”
“I’m afraid I won’t be able submit it on time owing to xyz reason.”
7. Follow up promptly:
Don’t take more than a day to respond to an email response from an important person. If you happened to miss reading that person’s email owing to lack of internet access or any other valid reason, promptly apologize for the late reply stating the reason if appropriate.
8. Don’t abuse font:
Always prefer a plain salted email to a colorful and gaudy email filled with fonts of different colors and sizes. Colorful font and design may look juvenile to the reader.
9. Check your spelling & grammar:
Run a basic spell check, manually proof read for misuse of similar sounding words such as their and there, it’s and its. Check your grammar, avoid major grammatical mistakes. Remember that email is a recorded conversation, it can’t be undone once you send it across.
Don’t type text in all upper case. Upper case is considered shouting in email. Try not to forget attaching the necessary attachments whenever you mention about the attachment that you are going to send along with your email. Read further on email etiquette.
So what is your take on email etiquette. Am I missing any important point? Comment below.