#CrusaderIntern: The Goldilocks rule of email etiquette

MauraHume2_Aug2011_6x9Lgby Maura Sweeney ’07, Associate Director, Center for Career Development

The way you compose emails says a lot about you. Don’t believe me?

—-

i write email as if im txting a friend… i dont use punctuation correct grammar or spell check… and i look really immature and unprofessional…

—-

Hey Boss,
I use correct punctuaton, but I don’t bother to spell-chick and tend to write in run-on sentenses, which drives everyone I work with crazy but I seem like I’m to busy and important to notice, so I just keep doing it anyway because everyone I work with should already know how grate I am and that the rules dont apply to me.

-I

—-

Hi Boss,

I hope you’re having a great day.   I take the time to compose my email to you using well-thought-out sentences and clear ideas.  I don’t waste your time with either irrelevant or confusing information, but instead I provide just enough context so that you understand why I’m emailing you and can respond easily, if needed.  I come across as a competent professional that everyone wants to work with, even if I have only been on the job for a week or two.

Thank you,
Intern

—-

Are you convinced yet? The way that you compose an email matters.  Just like with Goldilocks, it shouldn’t be too long and it shouldn’t be too short. It should be just right– long enough to get your point across, but short enough that someone who’s busy can read it quickly and give you an answer.  You should use proper grammar, correct punctuation and spell-check.

Don’t fall into the trap of firing off emails without taking an extra second to proof-read and use the spell-check button (You simply click a button!  It doesn’t even take thought… or physical strength!) It’s easy to come off as rude, unknowledgeable and unprofessional over email.  If you’re having a hard time getting your point across in email, then pick up the phone or stop by your colleague’s desk and ask in person.  Do you need to email a client or someone you can’t actually talk to?  Ask a friend in the office to give your email a read.  A fresh set of eyes might be able to nix a sentence that’s irrelevant and derailing your point.

As an intern, you may not have a lot of industry experience yet, but as a Holy Cross student, you do have good writing skills.  Show them off by writing proper emails.  Your coworkers will be appreciative!  And you will be, too, when you leave your internship with positive recommendations (and maybe even a job offer!).

Comments are closed.