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TUESDAY TIPS - The Professional Email: A Rundown

posted by LIM College

by Caroline Burke, Career Advisor


Tuesday Tips

First: What constitutes a professional email?

Any email that impacts, discusses, or introduces work contacts or content falls under the professional umbrella.

Writing standards are constantly evolving. From the telegram to the tweet, new practices become the rule while old conventions fade into obscurity.

Today, the digital space has uniquely impacted styles of communication due to its scale, stretching across all boundaries in space and time. How many professional emails in the world are written while in pajamas? How many on the train? In a plane? Riding a hang glider?

We communicate because we want to hear and be heard. We want to connect with each other.

We must ask: How do we most effectively communicate within the cross-section of digital and professional spheres?

There are two primary aspects of writing to consider. The first is language and structure, and the second is tone.

Grammar is often reported by employers as the most immediate criteria upon which they grade resumes, cover letters, and, inevitably, emails. Using a spelling and grammar check is crucial for any and all emails because it gives us the chance to practice and improve. Taking care of capitalization, punctuation, spacing, and proper syntax shows effort. Effort is competency; effort enables connection.

Tone encompasses etiquette, kindness, and character. Can a request be worded as a question, rather than a statement? Can a salutation be included at the beginning and ending of the email? Does the writing embody graciousness? Being understood depends on our ability to understand. And ultimately, mutual understanding engenders mutual work.

Topics: Student Advice, Career Services