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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Gemrick’s Guide: Email etiquette students need to know

About this column: Welcome to Gemrick’s Guide. To prepare Cougars entering a competitive job market, this guide will help with the transition between student and professional. In this bimonthly column, I hope you’ll find my advice on résumés, internships and professionalism helpful.

Email: a technology that has existed for what seems like forever for the most of us. Everyone has an email address and everyone hits send at least once a day. Email is a large part of the corporate world and now is the time for students to learn email etiquette and how to craft an appropriate email. Lucky for soon-to-be professionals, I’m here to help.

The first part of an email is the email address itself. No one wants to exchange emails with h0tc0ugar85 or tooswoletyler. Make sure the subject line is brief, to the point and gives a clear idea of the reason the email was sent. Too long a subject line will leave your email unread, or worse, sent to the trash folder.

Dear, Hi, Hello

The worst opener one could start an email with is, “To Whom It May Concern.” Do a little bit of research to figure out who will receive this email, if possible. Either direct it to whoever one may think the email should go to, or start the email with, “Hi, Opinion Section of the Daily Cougar.” Just try to personally address whichever company or world domination organization one needs to reach (hopefully the former).

Always make sure to use the correct salutation. It’s incredibly embarrassing to get an email back from a Mr. Jones who is actually a Ms. Jones and continue what will inevitably be an uncomfortable back-and-forth conversation.

When it comes to salutations, make sure the contact’s name is spelled correctly. If not, they will correct it so one never makes the same mistake again. People can be sensitive about the spelling of their name. It’s best to not poke that hive.

Not so common sense

Check and read the email before pressing send. Become a big believer of the “No Typo Left Behind” program, and leave no mistake uncorrected.

Don’t use exclamation points like an over-caffeinated cheerleader. Those exclamation point abusers simply look childish and unprofessional. Express excitement through words, not by hitting the forbidden key repeatedly.

Beware of ‘reply all’

There’s nothing worse than unnecessarily hitting reply all and sending a response to 100 people. I take that back — what’s more embarrassing is if the response is inappropriate and unprofessional, only to have 100 colleagues read the response. Don’t be that person.

Confidential, but not really

Email is never really private. With a hit of a button, it can be forwarded to numerous unintended audiences. It can be printed, archived and saved even if it’s not intended to be retained. Never share anything that could be potentially damaging to one’s reputation.

Signing off

One should always leave a name and contact information. It’s helpful for the party on the other end, and they’ll never have to ask. Talk about convenience. Remain pleasant from the beginning to the end of an email because they can’t hear the tone of one’s voice. The last thing anyone wants is to offend their recipient.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]


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