Email as a Professional Communication Tool

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A timely article from Penn State's Career Planning News, Spring 2014 Edition:

In this era of text messaging, it is easy to forget that email should be considered a
more formal means of communication, especially when corresponding with faculty and
potential employers.In order to make a positive impression, follow these simple guidelines.

Use a subject that describes the message
A subject line helps the recipient understand why you are writing. It also helps the reader to prioritize your message without seeing the content, so make sure what you say makes the reader want to open it.

Include appropriate greetings
"Hey John" may be acceptable in a casual email to your friend, but should not be used
in a professional context. Start your email with "Dear" and end with a closing such as
"Sincerely" or "Thank you." Remember, email should be treated as the electronic
version of a hard-copy letter.

Write in complete sentences and words
Email is more formal than a text message. That means you should spell out all words,
proofread for errors, and use complete sentences, capitalization and punctuation to
convey your thoughts.

Be cautious of your tone

It is easy to misinterpret the intent of email communication, especially if you are sharing
delicate information. Take the time to craft your message so that it does not come across
as rude or insensitive.

Leave the virtual realm
If you find that emails are circulating, but misunderstandings are occurring, a phone
or in-person conversation may be faster and more constructive.

For further help with content, come to our Cover Letter workshop on Tues. Jan. 28, 2014 , 12 -1 pm in Library 305. Please register for this session so we will be prepared with appropriate numbers of handouts. Email cspector@psu.edu to register.

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