MAKENZIE CURTIS

Digital Marketer

Email Etiquette 101

Email has become a very common means of communication, there is an estimate growth to 333.2 billion emails per day by 2022. That is a lot of poorly typed words that give wrong impression and missed opportunities. Many of us just shoot out emails without a second thought, but let’s look at that a different way. If you were to talk to your potential boss or teacher would you be abrupt and even disrespectful to them when speaking to them directly? Most likely not. So, in your email you must also show your best qualities, to build a relationship of respect and stand out from the crowd with an incredible, respectful, well spoken email. Here are some tips.

P.S. When in doubt it is always best to side with professional over casual.


An email can make or break a potential opportunity for you so send and respond to them wisely!

Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR


Email Tips

01

With someone you are close to: There are very few etiquette rules for emailing family and friends even classmates. Slang, informal greetings, emojis, shorthand are all OK.

02

Difficult or emotional topic: Topics that are difficult to discuss or emotionally charged should be done in person or speaking over the phone.

03

Email leaves much to be desired in knowing the tone and intent of words you are trying to send across. Never send an email when angry or upset. Write your first draft and leave it for at least 2 hours when you have had a chance to calm down and revisit the draft. If you send when emotions or temper is high you are more likely to be misunderstood only adding to your frustration.

04

First meeting: the first time sending an email to a peer or a new acquaintance or peer the email should be more formal. Be sure to send a signature and a greeting. It lets them know you really did mean to send to them and shows them how you like to be addressed. It is an introduction after all, the show of respect always starts the two of you on the right footing. As you carry on your emails will fall into the good friend and family criteria.

05

Emailing Instructor: Your questions on an assignment should be clear. Check your syllabus and assignment instructions thoroughly before hitting send. Sometimes your questions are in the instructions and bothering your instructor with tedious emails is time consuming and unwelcomed.

  1. Also, avoid emailing questions about assignment right before they are due. Not everyone has time to check emails right away, may even take a day or two to read the email leaving no time to respond.  Best is to email at least 3 days before assignment is due.
  2. Your email should start with a greeting and address the instructor by their name (professional title and last name). Unless otherwise told use the greeting as stated.  State in your email which class you are referring to. The instructor has many classes. Be as detailed as possible in your question to avoid multiple follow-up emails.
  3. Use full grammatical sentences and do spell checks! Poor grammar and spelling does not show you to be an intellectual student.  Never use slang or emoji’s or try humour, not everyone shares the same funny bone and it is a professional email, this is not the place to get cute.
  4. Be sure to include a full subject line to be less likely lost as spam. Use a campus email address, if that’s not possible make sure your email is a professional address. Your first and last name and Gmail is best, do not use anything like partypant@hotmail.com! This is a professional email and should be like what you send a boss or potential boss.

06

Internship, job application, employer, professional atmosphere: These are professional and there is no place for emojis, humour, and must always be formal. Even when you develop a more relaxed rapport, even if you go out for drinks with your boss you must always keep your email and text correspondence professional, that person is your boss, don’t forget that.

  1. Subject line must be clear of intent of the email. Your email address must be a professional title such as JaneSmith22@gmail.com (insert your name and a number if your name alone is taken and use a Gmail email.) This is the preferred style of email.
  2. Always include a greeting such Attn: Dr. John Smith, M.D. Gender neutral is best, do not use the terms Miss, Ms., Mrs. or Mr. If they prefer you to use them, they will let you know in person at the interview.
  3. Check your spelling and grammar always! Use full sentences, clear content, full description to avoid repeated emails to resolve missed information, and respectful language. You want to impress this person after all right? Do not try to overly impress the employer using “big and fancy” words that you really don’t know how to properly use and in tern appear like an idiot. So, don’t be someone you are not. Be authentic and professional. Never use slang, emojis and jokes in your correspondences.
  4. Attachments: if you are attaching a resume and cover letter be sure your attachment file name is yourname.coverletter.pdf or yourname.resume.pdf this helps them to easily and quickly identify with who they are looking at and what it is before opening it. Don’t forget to have a professional go over your resume and cover letter BEFORE sending that to the employer. Too many opportunities missed due to spelling and grammar errors. This is a big deal!
  5. Be proud to claim your words, signature is important. You must sign your emails professionally.

07

Customers and Sales: Please do not fling out a casual email to a potential or regular customer an email that is filled with emojis and slang or shorthand text. This is disrespectful and it assumes you are on party and fall-down drunk terms with the customer. Your customer is your boss! I have ended countless relationships with companies because of this casual hap hazard communication. Always treat your customer and potential customers like they are your boss, with respect and professional correspondence no matter if they are being rude or not, you are paid to have better manners and patience with customers.