If you’ve just joined the corporate workforce, you are about to experience the joys of email overload. If you’re applying for a new role, keep in mind that the people receiving your application are drowning in emails too. Don’t be the person whose emails are always met with a groan, or even worse, deleted without being read. Here are five ways to make sure your online communications get the right attention:
Watch your subject lines: These are important, as they are the first part of any communication that your recipients will read, and may well be the only part if you don’t grab their attention. Think concise, informative, compelling – something that screams “Open me!”
Tone is important: Never write an email that starts with “Dear sir or madam.” Do your research about who you’re writing to, and keep the language personable. I’m not suggesting you use the same tone that you would in an email to a friend, but take care to sound warm and engaging. Instead of, “I need an answer to the question I asked you yesterday”, try something like, “Hi …, I know you’re really busy at the moment, but if you wouldn’t mind taking a look at this question for me when you have a chance, I would really appreciate it.”
Read more: How to earn respect from your colleagues.
Content is king: Keep all your emails short and sweet. State your requirement in the first sentence – busy people scan the first line or two to see if they want to keep reading, so be sure to ask for what you want up front. Here’s an example: “ Hi ..., I am collating the numbers for Tuesday’s event – if you could send me through the list of attendees by 4pm tomorrow that would be great, thank you.”
Proofread everything every time: If you don’t have the time to properly read over your message before you send it, don’t send it. Always make the time to use spellcheck and proofread everything before hitting send – a lack of attention to detail here can have a negative effect on the way your work is perceived.
Clear sign-off: Make sure you always end your emails with either a clear call to action, and / or a clear outline of what will happen next. Being clear is perceived as organised, capable and efficient – all traits you want to be known for in the office. Try something like this: “If you could let me know by tomorrow if that time suits you, I will make the arrangements, thank you.”
Knowing how to effectively use email may not be something you were taught at uni, but it is a skill you will definitely need in the workforce. Take note of these five tips to ensure your emails don’t go straight to deleted items.