Take it from someone 10 years into her career: I still proofread, edit, and consolidate the emails I send on a daily basis, just as I will with this blog. Why? Well, because I’m human and I make mistakes. SPOILER ALERT: So do you 🙂
I remember being a *bit* nervous to send my first email to my internship mentor years ago; I was so in my head, the outgoing email sat in my drafts for 2 days! I was worried I was asking too many questions, sounding too needy, and overall coming across as totally unprofessional. In retrospect, I probably should have stopped worrying so much, because my mentor responded without judgment and probably didn’t think twice about the amount of questions I was asking. Which brings me to my first point…
- Consolidate Your Questions
Don’t feel bad for asking several questions via email — afterall, email is one of the most effective means of getting questions answered these days. Whatever you do, don’t ask your questions randomly throughout an email. Instead, list your questions in the middle of the email to ensure no question goes unheard.
- Be Clear in Your Subject Line
You could basically write a tweet in your subject line, with the amount of characters you’re allowed. While I don’t suggest you bombard a subject line with information, I do encourage you to be specific in your Subject Line. And never, I repeat NEVER, send an email without a subject. That’s just silly.
- Pay Attention to Grammar and Punctuation
No one is going to take you seriously if you type like a toddler. NoNe Of ThIs, none of thisssssssss, and certainly NONE OF THIS in a professional email. Write full sentences, add commas and periods where necessary, and use spell check. Write out “you” instead of “u” and figure out your/you’re its/it’s & they’re/there/their’s.
- “Reply All” if More Than One Person is on the Email Stream
When you compose an email, you have the option to send that email to one person or multiple people. You can CC (carbon copy) or BCC (blind carbon copy) as many email recipients as you want. CC (carbon copy) means all recipients can see each other’s replies, whereas BCC (blind carbon copy) means only the sender and BCC recipient can see directly-received messages.
The point here: if someone sends you an email with multiple people copied (AKA CC’d), that means they want you to “Reply All” so everyone can see your response. Don’t just reply to the original sender, unless the original sender of the email asks you to do so.
- Attach Your Attachments First
When you include an attachment in your email, it can be anything from a Word Doc or PDF to a photo or video. If you plan to attach a file to your email, you should include an explanation about what it is. Take it from me: it is so easy to forget to add your attachments. Therefore, I suggest attaching whatever file(s) you plan to send once you compose a new email, just to ensure you remember to attach it.
- BONUS TIP! Include an Email Signature
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Google a contact’s information because they don’t have an email signature. At the least, include your name, title, company name (if applicable), and direct phone number in your signature. Address/Location, company website, demo reel, and a logo is also extremely helpful. And make sure your mobile settings reflect your desktop signature settings. No one’s impressed when they see the automated, “Sent from my Iphone” disclaimer.