Email Etiquette

There I was in my parents’ living room sitting lazily and stretching like a cat one Morning ago watching CNN with my Papa – thanks to the Eid Mubarak break. I was really not on the look out for any key feature or news but the spotlight captured my attention “Email Etiquette”. I got more interested.

I think it’s useful to share some insights on this before I get carried away with some ‘chores’ at Jobberman. Almost everyday I receive emails that sucks and make me wonder when people will learn how to communicate via email especially in the business sense.

#1: Lettering – According to the CNN review this Morning, someone recently got fired in Australia for always sending emails in ALL CAPS (Capital). The company had to let her go! If you send me an email in ALL CAPS, I instantly feel you are yelling at me. It is one of the most unprofessional ways of passing a message across via electronic format. ALL CAPS is a trend very popular with email scams, anyone? Have received tons of it that have lost count. You don’t want to send an email on behalf of your company and someone will think it’s one of those scams, do you? What I now do, by reflex, is to hit on the delete button. Emails in all small lettering is better to the ALL CAPS scenario anyway. Papa will prefer first principles like a Head Master – ‘Deji, ALL CAPS or small lettering emails is sending out the wrong impression, people should follow the basic rule of writing’. He was right after all. Why ruin your only chance of making a good impression.

#2: Length – One of the things that drives me nuts in an email is a lengthy one. Here is it, someone recently dropped me a facebook message about an international student conference and needed my help in connecting his organisation to a pan-African company based in Cape Town for Sponsorship. Frightened by the length of the facebook message, I asked him to send me a paragraph or two of what exactly they want from the company and what benefit(s) the company will receive in return. Unfortunately, his email was more of an ‘epistle’ after the ‘warning’. It’s is not actionable and the best I could do was to scan through. Highly effective and efficient people will say what they want in fewer words while not compromising the essence of the message. Few lines will do the job. If you need to write a rather long email, kindly limit it to 300 words maximum before the reader gets distracted. Less is more they say.

#3: Tone
– if you are sending an email to an employer or recruiter, it’s better you keep it formal. Remember, formal letters, NOEC – anyone? If you are sending an official email on behalf of your company, the same thing applies. Don’t be carried away and end up sending a note meant for a friend. You need to conduct business professionally. Avoid questionable colloquial phrases like “it’s like”, “as in”. It’s of no good, ok? Go straight to the point (concise) and set the right tone.

#4: Font: I still can’t reconcile why I simply love to hate a font like Comic Sans, it just looks and feels awkward. To start with, maybe sticking to Times New Roman (default font on MS Word) is ideal. Fonts should be easy to read, look and feel professional – and once you see one you know. Think about fonts like Verdana, Tahoma, Agency FB – size 10-12. You will never go wrong with any of these. I’m also quite conservative when it comes to experimenting with font colours – I will rather stick to the original black or sometimes I can go with blue. Imagine sending out an email with a yellow font, when we are not dealing with Cabs or Directory here.

#5: Email address: I have seen all kinds of email addresses from to finechic@rocketmail.coom that am not surprised at how bad it can get. If you are looking for a job for example, you will be hurting yourself by using these emails because 1. your email might end up in the spam section based on the ID: Orioro, finechic in this case. 2. the employer or recruiter will think and feel you might just not be ready for a job. The thing is real people will use real names for their emails, period. Remember, nobody will hire your resume, they will only hire YOU. If you fall in this category, open a new email address today e.g.

#6: As I close, still on email address: It’s simply unethical using your company’s email for personal reasons e.g. from running your private business to hunting for a better job. It’s only safe to have your personalized private email to address other aspects of your life outside work – it only make things less complicated. Imagine what can happen if your company should monitor your emails for a specified period and discover you are searching for career opportunities elsewhere.

Ok, I think that’s it. What makes up your own email etiquette?

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell