Think before you send

Don’t fire off a note without taking the time to consider your recipient.

In the age of auto-spell check, it’s tempting to thumb out double-time memos with no regard for the art of spelling. Still, career counselors warn, your lack of SMS manners could cost you. “People are losing the art of putting together a complete couple of sentences,” says career coach Sue Thompson. “You need to consider to whom are you writing.”  

“It’s all about building rapport,” agrees Shirin Khamisa, founder of Careers By Design. If your e-mails are responded to with snappish, unpunctuated replies — no “Hey, how are you,” no “Nice to hear from you” — then you might, she suggests, keep your correspondence curt. “But if it’s a person who has a more personal touch, then I would reciprocate,” she adds. “Those niceties are very important in building relationships, even online — and especially online — because we need that glue to hold us together.”  

Older workers, Thompson notes, can be made uncomfortable by an overload of Web 3.0 abbreviations. “Baby boomers are going to expect a fairly concise, but formal e-mail,” she says.  And they’ll likely place a greater importance on spelling, she adds: “Some people will really consider your spelling, whether you know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re.’ Just respect the person to whom you’re writing. That’s what etiquette is.”

Personalize your signature

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, then a low-resolution headshot can’t hurt.  “Attach a small photo in your signature,” says Khamisa. “The next time you meet, you’ll notice a difference in how you’re received.”


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