What happened to Email Etiquette?

What happened to Email Etiquette?

In a world where mobile technology is literally at our finger tips, it’s easy to forget that even though you’re sending a message from your mobile device, it shouldn’t always be the same format as a text message.  I experienced this yesterday, several applicants emailed me from their phone and it was as if we were texting each other.

I think these tips can apply to everyone, not just job seekers, however I am targeting you because your email mannerisms could be the reason you don’t get a call back, interview, or the job at all.  I’m adding tips for the workplace so that when you do land a job, you don’t jeopardize your reputation by making silly mistakes.

Before we get into content, let’s talk about your actual email address…Have a professional and appropriate email address. Email addresses can say a lot about how serious you are as an applicant. Something like gettingjiggy@yahoo.com will not go over well with most employers.  It’s best to create a new email account just for job search purposes.  Make sure the address you create is just your first and last name.  If you have to include a number, make sure it’s not the year you were born – you do not want to give away your age!

Texting versus Email Messaging

Texting has taken over the universe! We rarely pick up the phone to ask a quick question. If we do end up calling, we usually get screened over voicemail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called someone, and they’ve sent me a text message right back.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of texting – it’s a great way to communicate short brief conversations. However, I think that we are transferring this communication into other areas…such as email.  Typically job seekers are not texting employers, but sometimes messages can come across very similar.  Read through these tips to avoid some very common mistakes!

don’t use all lower case OR ALL CAPS…

All caps says to your reader that you are YELLING at them and all lower case comes across as lazy and unprofessional. Even if you are not applying for a ‘professional’ work environment, you still want to make the best impression on your communication skills!


I know we hear this all the time. But take it seriously and actually do it. I’ve been saved many times by doing this. It’s not enough to rely on spell check, actually read the message back to yourself and make sure that spell check didn’t miss anything (like the wrong word spelled right!).

Watch your …Your / You’re – There / Their / They’re – Its / It’s etc. These do not always come up on spell check or highlight as a grammatical error.  Read back the sentence and double check that it makes sense!

Tip: For Replying – Write a rough draft first in a new email, then reply and paste in the text. For new emails – always add your addresses last. This will save you from sending prematurely.


Most phones default your signature to something like ‘Sent from my iPhone’, etc. However, you can change this in your email settings and I recommend that you do.  Nothing fancy, just something basic so you can include all of your contact information in one place. Hiring managers receive a ton of emails so make it easy for them to connect with you. Here’s an example:

Thank you,
John Doe
Phone: 215-555-1212
Email: john.doe@gmail.com
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/johndoe

The Linkedin profile is of course optional, but if you have one definitely include the link!

To Reply All or not to??

Be careful with this one. If a Recruiter sends you and other applicants a message, do not reply all.  It’s best to reply just to the recruiter with your individual response.

However, within the workplace can be different. If you are sent a message from someone who is working within the same group as you and is communicating an update, or asking a questions – ALWAYS reply all. Don’t leave anyone out of the message – most likely they will need or want to hear your feedback.  Not replying all removes people from the communication and someone may miss an important update.

Prompt responses

I know it’s hard sometimes to get through every email – but make sure you reply to everyone. It’s just basic common courtesy. Make a goal to respond within 24 hours. Find creative ways to organize your inbox to prioritize your messages.

Ok calm down!

Use your Read Receipts and Urgency levels sparingly!  If you send over other email with a high priority, eventually no one will care when it actually is urgent. Remember the boy who cried wolf??  Only use read receipts when it’s absolutely necessary, it really just comes across as arrogant if you use it for every email (think about how your boss feels when they see that notification…) Plus, most email software has the option to say “No, I don’t want to send a read receipt” so you’ll never know if was in fact read.  If you really need confirmation – then ask for it nicely in your email and follow up if you don’t hear back. What’s wrong with “Would you mind replying so I know you have received all of this information?”.


For job seekers – just never use these.

In the workplace – use carefully. You never know where the email will get sent, and you also never know how the reader is absorbing the smiley faces…

Be clear, concise and to the point.

It’s pretty much a guarantee that long emails will not to be read thoroughly.  Get to the point!  Create a nice attachment if your email is longer than a paragraph so the reader can refer to it. State the most important points within the email. Tip – use bullets/bolded letters for items to stand out!

Wait it out…

Angry or sensitive about a situation? DO NOT send an email when you are angry!  Wait a day and decide if email is the best way to go. It’s probably better to pick up the phone or if you can, discuss the situation face to face with the individual. Remember, email is forever…

Be warm and inviting…

Always start your emails with a greeting. Hi or Hello and then the person’s name. It’s also nice to add a small pleasantry like “Hope you are doing well.” Do this before you get into the message content.

End your message the same way. “Have a pleasant evening” or a simple “Thank you” can go a long way!

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