To ‘e’ (mail) or not to ‘e’ (mail) – that is a question!

Velta WorleyIf you are like me, you get a gazillion e-mails every day. You may even have multiple e-mail addresses that you respond to, such as a work e-mail account and a personal one. Workforce Solutions recommends that job seekers create a separate e-mail account that can be used while searching for work, which leads to the topic of e-mail etiquette. Is there such a thing?

It seems like I receive anything and everything via e-mail: some professional information, group e-mails that want you to pass it on, and other e-mails that are hard to decipher for a number of reasons.

I decided to google “e-mail etiquette” and discovered a variety of articles on the topic. Most of the articles were written very similarly, with just a few variations. There was even an Emily Post type post – remember her? Most of you are too young to know who that is, but Emily Post was an American author famous for writing about etiquette. Her great grandchildren continue her legacy of writing about good manners.

Based on my findings, below are seven tips for e-mailing. These aren’t rules or even guidelines, just some basic ideas that could be helpful for all of us.

  1. Be careful when clicking on ‘reply all’. Have you ever been copied on e-mails that had nothing to do with you and end up with 20 unnecessary responses in your inbox because everyone is clicking reply all? Be kind – it’s ok to respond to just the original sender.
  2. Spelling and grammar are important. I had a college professor that described how even one misspelled word is like having a neon sign “bigger than Dallas” in the center of your document that says “STUPID…STUPID…STUPID!” So before hitting the send button, check for any spelling or grammar errors.
  3. Exclamation Points!!!!! Some e-mails I receive have an exclamation point after every sentence! It’s irritating! Excalamtion points are typically used to show enthusiasm and excitement, but they don’t need to follow every sentence.
  4. Clean up e-mails before forwarding them. Forwarding e-mails to someone else is a great way to share ideas or relay a message, but be sure the recipient really needs to see all the information on the forwarded e-mail. E-mail chains can get lost in translation, so it’s ok to delete some of the information if needed so that the message to the recipient is clear.
  5. Lower case or upper case? Typing messages in all capital letters can be perceived as yelling. Typing messages in all lower case letters can look a bit careless or too informal. Use appropriate upper and lower case formatting as you were taught in English class.
  6. What’s your point? The subject line should indicate what you are writing about. It’s best to have one topic or subject discussed in an e-mail, instead of multiple concepts, which can be confusing. And oh yes, e-mails can be brief and concise instead of reading like a novel.
  7. Respondez s’il vous plait. Also known as RSVP, or hey, please let me know you got this! I send e-mails to a multitude of people, and when I don’t get a response I start wondering if they received it, or if it got lost in cyberspace, or maybe they… get the picture. Be courteous and acknowledge receipt of the e-mail even if it’s just to say you’ll get back with an answer or response later.

Hopefully you have not made as many e-mail faux pas as I have, but even if you have its okay. Workforce Solutions is here to assist you with questions about etiquette in your job search. Please visit for more information about our services and locations.

Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, with over 7 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.

Author: Blogforce

Workforce Solutions provides comprehensive human resource services for businesses and residents of the 13-county Houston-Galveston Gulf Coast region. Workforce Solutions helps employers solve workforce-related business problems and area residents build careers, so that both can better compete in the changing worldwide economy. Our Employer Service Division provides personalized service to help employers find qualified applicants for their jobs, build the skills and expertise of their new and current employees, and address human resource needs. We operate multiple community-based career offices in 13 Texas Gulf Coast counties to help residents get a job, keep a job or get a better job – offering placement, career counseling and financial aid services. We partner with the region’s businesses, educational institutions, civic organizations and community leaders to find solutions to current and future labor needs of industries that are vital to the region and its economy.

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