By now most can use a PC, laptop,
pad, tablet, mobile phone or any of
the other devices supporting e-mail.
Yet most just slap something out to
meet a need and get it over with.
This is where so many people hurt
their opportunities for employment!
Whether we like it or not, we are evaluated on our communication skills when sending
our Resume and Cover Letter plus any subsequent communication, including the
e-mail that delivered these documents. This section is intended to offer guidance to
creating solid business communications to help you not only for your job search but in
your new position.
Quick Summary of Key Points
- Have a professional e-mail address using your name as you will list it on
your Resume. This helps avoid any confusion by company employees and
it burns your name into their mind plus makes things simple for them.
Some e-mail accounts will allow no, one or two "dots" in your e-mail address to the left of the "@" sign. Highlight your name more by using capitalization which makes your e-mail address easier to read.
The days of "SuperSurferDude", "BigHotSassyMomma" or "MegaDeath-587" as e-mail addresses are over as they raise concerns whether you are applying for a paycheck or a job.
Your name is now John Quincy Adams but you show it as John Q. Adams and you are going to use Outlook.com for your e-mail address. Show your e-mail address as John.Q.Adams@Outlook.com or JohnQ.Adams@Outlook.com as the alternative. Plus this makes you look more tech savy than you may be.
A value add: studies released in 2017 indicate the use of a Middle Initial in your name adds prestige or projects more intelligence. Think about it!
- Use a professional domain or service for your e-mail. Custom domains are great for ego but not so much for business and then you have the concerns about longevity and stability (will this be there forever and stay up forever)?
A fancy e-mail address that won't accept e-mail is a big negative to you.
- Is your domain going to be around for a while and will it cost you money.
Using your college e-mail address from a "name" institution? Stop your donations to the Alumni or other campus programs and your e-mail address may be shut down. Colleges and Universities are first and foremost a business and they want to see your money in their pockets.
- Do check your e-mail on a daily basis. Some of you are very diligent about checking every month or so. Not a good habit for someone in transition!
- In the rush go faster world many neglect a closing for their written or electronic communications. We want, we in fact need to build relationships with people to be successful yet we don't put a few kind words at the end of our communications, like "Talk to you soon", or "Thanks again for your help".
Read Why Your eMail sign-off is More Important Than You Think
OK, an e-mail address that we're worried about it surviving, right? Who cares!
You can get another one in 2 minutes, they're disposable bags for e-mail.
Short term, yes. Long term, absolutely wrong.
Over the years, and they will pass quickly, many people will have your e-mail
address who are friends, co-workers, neighbors, social groups, you name it.
Oh, most likely your Resumes, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others.
So you are thrust into a job search and need to call in some favors, right?
Want to guess how many changed their e-mail address like disposable bags?
You're big impressive contact list is now filled with invalid e-mail addresses.
Here are the risks you run and below how to mitigate these unwanted risks:
- You Internet service provider closes their doors or is bought out.
Those who close often see their e-mail address die.
Those who were bought out MIGHT keep the old e-mail domain or they
may go ego on you and insist you change to their domain names.
FIX: Use an e-mail from a BIG HONKING COMPANY that has staying power,
is unlikely to be bought out or go out of business anytime soon.
SUCH AS: GMail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc., etc.
RISKS AS: AOL, Netscape, etc.
Remember some e-mail services have the right to read your e-mails.
- You apply to many jobs and finally get an offer. You walk or run away from
your e-mail account and start fresh somewhere else. What are your risks?
A real example was someone had a dream job in their sights and applied. No
response came back for many months so they gave up. About 4 months
after they left their dream job starting call people trying to find him. They
wanted him for his dream job and NO ONE COULD FIND THE PERSON.
View your professional e-mail as an e-mail account for life. Why? Companies are still trying to run thin on employees especially after large layoffs. There are companies to realized they cut way too deep but could not hire any of them back. Solution: Consultant Position - Paid by the hour at more than they made before, perhaps an office perhaps expense money to setup a home office, working with people you know and at a rate you set with them as they were desperate. And a funny thing about Consultants - they tend to stay around until the next big crunch!
- You're proud of your college e-mail address and plan to use it forever. Some problem may arise like (a) a change in administration who says shut them all down, (b) they starting wanting big bucks for a prestigious e-mail address and you're reassessing the value versus the dollar, (c) you need to take a class at least once every 6 years to retain your e-mail address. Prestige is nice but knowing people will always have your reliable e-mail address is worth more.
- You hate spam e-mail. So create a "throw down" e-mail address and a general e-mail address for bills, magazines, periodicals, etc. This should help control the junk you get and the ones for bills, etc. is still kept from the general public.
As they say, you have options but think through these and the ideas above before rushing out and making a fast change to the world. For friends, family and business ... keep your e-mail safe and protected until you aren't with us anymore.
TIPS & TRICKS
These can reduce lengthy discussions and drive a clearer shorter message. Make
certain your attachment CAN be opened by the other party in terms of the tool you used to create it and if the other person has an older version that may not permit opening the attachment.
These, or numbered items, grab the attention of the reader. These can simplify complex matters into a few key points if the matter is not minor or complex. Use at the conclusion of your e-mail can help to summarize items for the reader, especially if these are for their "To Do List".
- Call for Action
If a response is required, use the last paragraph of your message to identify what is needed, when it is needed by and any duration and location or telephone bridge number if a meeting is required. Towards the end of your e-mail, placing your CALL FOR ACTION using bold capital letters gets the reader's attention.
- Contact Information
It is amazing how many e-mails can be avoided once the initial message is sent and understood. Insure you have your complete contact information at the end of your e-mail. Outlook provides a wonderful tool for a "Signature Block" where text, images and colors may be used for your name, title, e-mail address, mailing address, telephone, call phone and other contact means or relevant information.
Talking matters out is often efficient and effective in removing misunderstandings.
- Does this person know me?
If not provide a brief introduction to you, your role, and reason for communicating with them. This sets the state on which everything else you write is constructed.
This also avoids delayed or ignored messages as they understand the need to read.
- Get to your point
IF you message is urgent or a question, put it at the beginning of your e-mail.
Don't force your reader to read everything first. Call out anything that they should consider for their response after the question is provided.
- Minimal Words
Look for words you can remove or rephrase that reduce the word count. Common easy words to remove are "just" and "really" as these rarely bring value to your reader. Fewer words often creates greater impact to the reader ESPECIALLY if this is a Resume.
- Simplify words; shorten words
Communications should be direct and to the point. If you use "with the exception of" you should simply say "except". Use "so" versus "therefore".
- Story Time is Not Good
If something is not germane to your communication, remove it and save everyone time and potential confusion with TMI (Too Much Information). This can only delay action and risk misunderstandings.
- Subject Lines
Using limited high impact words, indicate the purpose of your e-mail. This could be "Need Your Approval", "Waiting Your Review", "Seeking Your Input", etc. Avoid legal words which may prolong their response.
- Too Kind, Proper or Emotional
Starting an e-mail with a formal greeting between friends or co-workers or asking about family or their last vacation is a waste of time for everyone. Simple gratitude is fine but avoid excessive remarks. And emotional icons have no place in any business letter.
- Z's Time
Let your e-mail sit for a few minutes while you focus on something else. Revisit the e-mail for a fresh look. You may be astonished at the increased brevity and impact in reworking it prior to transmission.
1) You make more than one point
Emails need to be short. If your objective is tell your life story or cover 7-10
different talking points, no one will read your message in its entirety.
Remember, your reader already has a full inbox of meeting requests and urgent
items. Don’t make them take more time than necessary to read your message.
2) You don’t know how to get to the point
Having more than one point is one thing. Not knowing how to arrive at that
destination is a completely different challenge. You need to really think about
the objective of your message. Once you find it, be clear, be concise, and get
to the point.
3) You are condescending
It always amazes me when I receive emails where the sender is trying to educate
me on a topic. I don’t want to hear your wisdom. I just want to know what you
need me to do now that I have your read your email.
4) You are a terrible writer
If you are going to write that novel in your email then make sure it is at least
5) You ask too many questions
Do all of those questions really need to be in your email? Perhaps you should
pick up the phone or set-up a meeting.
Source: How to Write Effective e-Mails by Scott Schwertly
Creating Custom Signature Blocks in Word for your e-mails
This is a time-saving feature you can create for your e-mails, including creating
multiple versions for Business, Family, Friends, Job Search and anything else. You
define the content, placement, font types, font sizes, font colors, any embedded
images, embedded links, etc. to create the image you want to present.
With multiple versions of Word in use, the smart way to find the tools to create your
Signature Block is by clicking on Help for Word, which is often the Question Mark
symbol in the upper right of the Word display. Use the keywords Signature Block
This will provide you options to the instructions. In Office 2013 it is the first entry
brought back. Because this has been a built-in feature of Word for at least a
decade, most people should find it available in their version of Word.
General Steps to Create a Profile:
- With Word opened, click on File along with the top left of the screen.
- Within the blue panel covering the left side of the new screen shown, click on
- In Outlook Options, click on Mail.
- Click on the Signatures button along the right side of the screen.
- Create a name for this Signature Block. You may create multiple Signature Blocks
to meet your e-mail needs where some may too formal and others inappropriate.
- In the large area towards the bottom, you type in what you want. You may use any Font Type, any Font Size, any Font Color, any Font Bold, Italics or Underline. You may use spaces to move text into positions of preference. You may add images
to add a splash or a signature (avoid from using your actual legal signature).
- Save your work. From here you can create another Signature Block or back to
things you were working on before.
- When creating your e-mail, you will have the option to specify which Signature Block to be used for the e-mail you are creating.