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Career Confession: I HATE Unprofessional Emails

Non-capitalized subject lines, an improper greeting, the use of “LOL” or any other form of Internet/text message slang, emoticons, lack of punctuation, attachments with no content in the email body, and mass marketing emails that try to be personal but fall flat.

OK, I have been guilty of doing all of the above once or twice, but 99.9 percent of the time I avoid making these mistakes that would lead my colleagues to believe I’m either lazy or just plain uneducated. While I’ve been working with the same people for more than a year now, I am still pretty low on the totem pole and should show my true professionalism at every opportunity.

So why do I get emails from colleagues positioned below and above me, or from people whom I’ve never met, that say “Hey – here you go” or “Thanks times a billion gajillion 🙂 🙂 :).” I may be wrong, but the last time I checked “gajillion” wasn’t a word. And following the use of a fake word with a series of emoticons is just embarrassing, for you and me.

I’m starting to think that technology is making it too easy for us Millenials to forget we are indeed working professionals. Just because it’s OK to text a friend saying, “Hey girl, see ya in an hour,” doesn’t mean that’s also a good way to remind your client that you will meet them for coffee later.

Here are a few rules I keep in mind when sending emails to colleagues:

  1. Write a subject line that actually relates to the content of the email.
  2. Include a greeting. The reader’s name followed by a comma is fine and “Hi [reader’s name],” is acceptable for a more friendly tone.
  3. Keep the body content short and concise.
  4. When in doubt, use “Thanks, [your name]” or “Best, [your name]” to end your email. Simply leaving your email signature as a stand-alone sign off can be seen as unfriendly.
  5. Before sending, read the email as if you’d received it. Delete any content that could be seen as rude or abrupt, even if that’s not your intent.
  6. Be aware when you “reply all”. Does everyone on the chain need to read your response?
  7. Remember that writing in all-caps is seen as yelling. If your email is important, use the high-priority button.
  8. Never, ever use Internet/text slang or an emoticon. It’s like begging for someone to think of you as an uneducated, technology-consumed Millennial.

What do you think? Are my rules on point or too strict? If you have email pet-peeves, let us know!

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