In this day and age, there are a lot of methods of communication: texting, video chatting, messaging on Facebook. But let’s not forget about email. People use email all the time for all kinds of things, so it’s important to know what you’re doing. Here is a brief beginner’s guide to email etiquette.
Let’s start with an easy one. Emailing your friend. Just type however you talk. If you usually address your friend as “Big Tuna,” start your email out that way. If you typically converse with each other in Klingon, do it in your email. There really aren’t many rules when it comes to emails between buddies. Just say what you need to say.
Your Friend Who’s a Stickler for Spelling and Grammar
If you want to take the next step in your email etiquette endeavor, pick a friend other than “Big Tuna.” Maybe an English major if you’ve got one. A spelling bee champion. That guy who thrives on correcting everybody’s grammar on Facebook. Email that guy. You can be casual, but make sure you check your spelling and put the punctuation where it belongs. If you can successfully communicate with this fellow, you’re in good shape.
Your Potential Boss
Keep in mind the grammar and spelling you just mastered. This will be important in all professional electronic dialogues. In your hunt for a job, for example, being professional is key. And if you keep on using the wrong forms of “there,” “their” and “they’re,” you’re not going to look very professional.
Here’s an example of a bad email to a potential employer:
Yo dawg. I really wanna job with ya. I’m pretty good at workin’ & I gotta get some money n stuff. Thx. Big Tuna’s BFF
First of all, you should be giving the potential employer a resume or application, not just shooting them an email saying you want a job. Of course there are always exceptions, but in most cases an email isn’t the best first step in a job hunt. But if you are going to email the person, whether it’s to inquire about a potential position available or to follow up and thank him for an interview, keep it professional, concise, and free of slang.
Here’s an example of a good email to a potential employer:
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I am very interested in the position available, and I appreciate the time taken to interview me. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Thank you again,
Now you’ve landed the job. How are you going to address your new boss via email? Well, just take a look at number 3. Keep it concise, keep it professional, and keep it error-free. Just because you got the job doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to keep the job. Even if you’re comfortable with your boss and consider them a friend, don’t say anything profane, crass, or offensive. Don’t type twenty paragraphs. And keep in mind that this person controls your source of income.
Lots of exclamation points. Lots of smiley faces. And lots of saying “I love you.” That’s really all you need to know.
Your Friend’s Boss’s Grandma Who’s a Stickler for Spelling and Grammar
I can’t help you with this one. Like, I don’t even know why you’d be emailing this person. I can’t think of a scenario in which you’d be corresponding with her. So you’re on your own, weirdo.
Just remember who you’re talking to, what kind of impression you’re wanting to make, and the fact that sarcasm doesn’t always translate well via email. Keep it brief, keep it coherent, and keep on emailing.