The way we communicate has been completely steamrolled by technology. “Selfie” was added to Merriam Webster’s big book last year and it’s hard to #expressyourself online without a hashtag. While “k thnx” and emoijis have become part of our vernacular, it’s important to remember when you’re communicating with employers, faculty and staff (and our office, hint hint), that your emails are professional and well-written. By professional, we mean grammatically correct, clear, and follow etiquette. A great email to an employer can leave a positive first impression, especially when you’re applying for an internship or job, contacting a company to learn more about their positions, asking a professor for a job reference, or emailing CCD to learn about the co-op program. Don’t just take it from us, though. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that written communication skills is one of the most desired qualities among applicants in all industries. So, here are some tips for writing professional emails:
- The subject line is there for a reason, use it! It can be as simple as a “Thank You” or “It was great connecting” or “Application for Client Services Position.” Always put something.
- Say hello and goodbye. Always include a greeting (Hello or Dear work fine) with the person’s name (Mr., Dr., Ms.) or if you are sending in an application and don’t have a contact, “To Whom It May Concern” is OK when all else fails. Make sure to include a closing – like “sincerely, best, thank you or regards” and your name and contact information. And please don’t ever use “hey”. Just don’t.
- You’re going to have to check your Nothing says I slept during high school English class like using the wrong there, they’re and their. Need some help? Check out the Writing Center or ask an English major (we love grammar).
- Read it out loud. It’s easier to proofread when you’re speaking the words. This will help you ensure what you wrote is clear.
- Don’t get emotional. Don’t use emoticons J in introductory or application correspondence.
- Double check your attachments. Make sure the resume, cover letter, etc is really attached and saved with an appropriate file name like doc or First Name Last Name application.doc.