Email Etiquette…Do YOU have it?

I get about 60 emails a day. That’s right. 60.  As a career consultant that works with college students daily, I’ve seen a lot of netiquette violations.  I’ve included two real examples.

Exhibit A:


Mrs. Ledgerwood,
I was unable to attend the career fair yesterday (Feb 16) and I was wondering if you knew of when the next one will be held?
Thank you,
Firstname Lastname


The first problem with this is that the student addressed me as “Mrs.”  I’m not married and it’s awkward to have to tell someone you aren’t married.  Always use “Ms.” when you are unsure. The second problem is that this information could be found by looking on our events page which is prominently posted on our home page.  Take the time to try to find the answer before emailing someone. Lastly, include an email signature–name, major, email address and phone number.

Exhibit B:


Hi Laura,
My name is _____and I’m a Warnell forestry major. My mother said i should contact you if I ever need resume or cover letter help. I’ve attached my resume and a cover letter for a job I’m fixing to apply for. If you could look over those i would really appreciate it. Thank you
-FirstName Lastname


Anyone else having a hard time reading this?  The font is small and strains the eye.  Additionally, if you have never met the person you are emailing before, it is not appropriate to address them by their first name.  You should also ask yourself if your request or question can easily answered.  Do you think an email can really help answer if you have a good resume, cover letter, and how it relates to the job description? Remember the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  Sometimes certain communication mediums (i.e. email) aren’t appropriate.

Do I even need to say anything about the mother comment? Or the lack of a closing like “Thanks” or “Sincerely” before his name? “I” should also be capitalized when engaging in professional communications.

Before sending an email to an employer or really anyone, send it to yourself.  Ask yourself: is what I’m asking reasonable, easy to answer, and clear.  If it takes 5 paragraphs to answer your one line question, delete your email and pick up the phone.


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