Congratulations! You got the job! Pop open the champagne and give yourself a pat on the back! Now comes the first 3-6 months where your work performance and standing with other supervisor (your fellow experienced employees too) will be considered as you move ahead with your new dream job. One of the ways you will be judged is through your e-mail message etiquette.
Here are a few pointers for what to do and what not to do when sending formal letters and replies through e-mail:
- Short, sweet and to the point. The shorter the e-mail the better. Whenever you have something important to report or issue to a superior at work, remember that however busy you are, they are even busier working on their own assignments and yours. An overly long e-mail looks unprofessional, unless that is how you were instructed to communicate, which leads me to my next tip and that is…
- Observe how your supervisor organizes his messages and emulate him or her. Part of assimilating into any company depends, in part, by how well you integrate your work habits to work with those around you. For instance, if you have a back-and-forth between another employee about edits over a document that he/ she is unhappy with, edit after edit, make sure to start and finish every message after his/her message set-up. If they address you with “Dear So-And-So”, than you do so as well, if they write in quick discreet sentences with periods instead of commas than try doing that as well.
- IMPORTANT: REREAD YOUR EMAILS ALOUD BEFORE SENDING. Remember, once you send a e-mail to your boss, or even just another co-worker, that message is gone forever to their inbox and if something confidential or possibly incriminating happened to be in that e-mail than there will be no reset button or time machine to undo the damage your carelessness caused. It will only take a minute or two to read your own e-mail messages outloud and catch something that shouldn’t be there. This also ties into the next tip where you should…
- Always proofread your e-mails. There is no way of getting around it. Just because your boss is lazy does not exempt you from making sure “its” and “it’s” is used appropriately and that “there” and “their” don’t get mixed up either. A good book to recommend, if you want your communication at work to be professional, is The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, by Susan Thurman.
- No emoticons or chat slang. If you want to keep your job than just don’t do it. Sry :(
If you follow these simple tips then you will survive your first few months on the job and as we all know, it gets easier from there. Good luck.