How to Compose a More Professional Email

How to Advance Your Career

By Matt Alderton

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Believe it or not, email is an art form. When you write one, everything from your email address to your font to your email signature sends a message. And if you're an applicant searching for a job, it's critical that the message you're sending is professional.

"It's the small details in written communication that might be undermining your message," writes U.S. News & World Report contributor Hannah Morgan of the career blog Career Sherpa. "One popular UCLA study found that 93 percent of a message is interpreted by the nonverbal components — in other words, your tone and body language."

Although body language is moot, the same principle applies in written communication: When you're writing an email, it's not always what you say that matters, but rather how you say it. With that in mind, follow Morgan's tips for composing an email that will — not hinder — your job search:

Use a professional font: "When you use an unusual or colored font, you may send the wrong message," Morgan says. "Your outgoing messages should represent your professional image; therefore, consider using a standard style such as Arial and black font."

Use an email address that is clearly and professionally you: "The email address you choose to use shouldn't be confusing, too personal or your family account email," Morgan says. "Your email address should contain your name, such as johndoe@xmail.com … Avoid using your birth date, numbers or information that would make your email difficult to recognize."

Don't use humor: "It's difficult to convey humor or sarcasm in writing; therefore, the safest bet is to avoid it," Morgan advises. "The same is true for 'LOL' or other modern acronyms or abbreviations used in texting frequently. These may get lost in translation and cross the line into being too personal or familiar."

Never use emoticons in emails: "Email is not the same as texting," Morgan explains. "Smiley faces or any other type of symbol used to convey emotion or feelings could be perceived as unprofessional. Therefore, avoid using them in all of your job search correspondence."

Use a professional email signature: "A professional email signature leaves a lasting and invaluable impression, and setting up one to appear in every message saves you time," Morgan concludes. "Your signature should include your name, primary phone number and job title, or work you're seeking. Adding your LinkedIn profile URL is certainly a valuable addition, as well."

For more tips, go to:

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/10/24/8-gimmes-you-need-to-include-on-professional-emails

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