Writing a Professional E-Mail

In this day and age, situations in which face to face communication is considered necessary are becoming less frequent. We live in a world dominated by alternatives such as texts, video chat, and Facebook.  Although each of these serves its purpose, the most utilized communication tool in the business world today is e-mail .  Composing an acceptable business e-mail is somewhat of an art that few college students learn before graduating. 

Let’s start at the top and work our way down. The first thing that anyone will see of your e-mail is the subject line.  The subject should make it obvious to the receiver as to why you are writing. An example might be “Application For Position XYZ.” People everywhere are busy, and with no subject line your

e-mail is more likely to get written off as having no importance. In retrospect, do not mark e-mails as “high importance” unless they truly are of high importance. That just gets annoying.

Next, we have the greeting.  The greeting should be the exact same as it would be in a cover letter.  Also, the overall feel of the body of the e-mail should be treated just as a cover letter or thank-you note would be, but keep it brief and focused.  Spelling and grammar checking are musts. Simple spelling and grammatical errors can be seen as unprofessional and careless, two things you do not want to convey.  Last but not least, re-read your e-mail carefully; the tone of e-mails can often be misinterpreted.

Another thing to watch out for when writing a professional e-mail is slang.  With texting and instant message becoming more common every day, written slang terms are used sometimes without notice.  However, “LOL’s” and “TTYL’s” and any other abbreviated slang terms are unacceptable in a professional e-mail, they tend to portray laziness and incompetence.

Lastly, the closing of a professional e-mail should include a polite closing such as “thank you for your time” followed by “Sincerely, John Doe.” This is more or less a statement of respect for the recipient’s time and attention.  After the signature, it is acceptable to put your e-mail, place of work, and contact phone number.

Many people think that the first impression they give someone takes place when they meet face to face for the first time, however, you can begin molding your first impression in an e-mail correspondence.  If these few helpful hints are heeded, you will be well on your way to doing just that.

For more information please visit http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/

Interviewing Tips

One of the most important steps in getting a job is, of course, the interview process. Your interview with a potential employer can make or break your chances of getting hired. You only have one chance to make a good impression, so here are some key points that will help you do so.

Understand your skill set. In an interview, you need to figure out a way to best market yourself and your many talents. In order to do this, it’s helpful to complete a self-assessment. It will be difficult articulating your skills to the interviewer, but it will be much easier if you take the time to review them with yourself first.

Know your employer. The person who is interviewing you belongs to an organization that is unique in its own ways. Knowing what the organization does before you go to the interview will show preparation on your part and will let the interviewer know that you are a serious candidate. Essentially, if they are taking the time to interview you, you should take the time to learn a little bit more about what they do.

Be able to assert your interest in the field you are interviewing in. Potential employers will ask you about your interest in their particular career path. Doing some research of the career online or in a library can help you to better answer that question, but don’t forget about the most important reason, yourself. Equating your interests and values with that of the career you have chosen is a great way to show an interviewer that you would be great for the job.

Practice interviewing. Whether it’s with a friend, parent, or teacher, practice really does make perfect. Have your fake interviewer ask you questions that would be frequently asked by a real prospective employer. Putting in yourself in an interview-like situation, even if it is fabricated, will prepare you for the real thing.

The last thing that is key to having a good interview is your appearance.  You cannot go wrong with business attire. Try to avoid flashy colors, low cut shirts, or wrinkled clothing.  Also, for women, don’t overdo the perfume or makeup. For men, a clean-shaven face with moderate cologne or aftershave is the best way to go.

To sum up, an interview is a very important part of the job process, perhaps even the most important. A first impression really sticks with a person, so it’s imperative that you make a great one. Spending time preparing and making sure you have a great interview is almost always worth it.


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