Professional Etiquette

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

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If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

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If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

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Last week on "Ask J.T. Anything," I was asked about the right way to customize a connection request on LinkedIn. I'm a big believer in customizing every, yes EVERY, connection request. So much so, I wrote this post on LinkedIn to give you seven different ways to do it. So, no excuses!

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Are you making full use of your email signature to brand your candidacy as a job seeker? With a few tweaks, this simple tool can play a key role in sharing your brand with recruiters, companies, and hiring managers. Related: Why Communicating Through E-mail Is An Ineffective Job Search Strategy Because email is a primary form of business and job search communications these days, it is imperative to think about how your signature is marketing you. If you think about LinkedIn as your online brand “portal,” your email signature is one small but important pathway to lead traffic (recruiters and hiring executives) to you. Every email provider provides a way for you to sign-off at the bottom of your message. Usually available via your email system’s settings page, signature files can always contain plain text and can often contain HTML or images. The typical length for an email signature ranges from four to seven lines. A job seeker’s signature can contain any of the following as appropriate:

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Ever wonder why people don’t respond to your emails or why others might appear testy in their responses? If people often ignore your missives, you may need to examine the way you are communicating via email — perhaps the most important communication tool in business today. Related: Follow Up Tips: What To Do When Your E-mail Goes Unanswered Certainly, you’ve heard the disaster stories — the trouble that comes back to bite people who, in a snit, have committed words to email they would probably never speak aloud. These messages can get you in hot water in the boardroom as well as the courtroom. Not to mention the Twittersphere, if you’re unlucky enough to have an embarrassing gaffe go viral. But putting aside the outrageous cases — Here are 10 essential email etiquette tips:

1. Keep It Brief

No one likes to read on and on to get to the point. State your message concisely and simply. If you have a question, get to it quickly.

2. Use The Subject Line

Alert your recipient to what your email is about or you risk being ignored or relegated to the read-later (or never) list. Avoid using alert words, like Urgent, unless the matter really requires urgent attention or you become the boy who cried wolf.

3. Keep Them Few And Targeted

If you blanket someone’s inbox, you’ll soon be ignored. Save up several little matters to send in one email. On the other hand, if you have a matter that needs immediate attention, don’t bury it inside a laundry list of insignificant issues.

4. Be Punctilious, Not Slapdash

Edit your emails as if they were formal letters. Omit slang and overly familiar language.

5. Watch The Punctuation

Don’t use all caps for emphasis. Use 12 point type and proper punctuation, meaning capitalize the first letter of each sentence and use a period at the end. Then, proofread. (And please don’t use a ridiculous font.)

6. Consider Your CCs And BCCs

Don’t copy people on your email unless they need to see the message. And don’t forget to use the BCC field, particularly for emails sent to large groups. People don’t want their emails shared so widely. Hide the recipients’ addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) Field.

7. Think Before Hitting 'Reply All'

Sometimes people are copied on emails out of courtesy, but individual replies don’t need to be copied to everyone. It’s a rookie mistake.

8. Omit Any Silliness: No Emoticons!

If you’re trying to be funny, stop; business emails are not the place for this. Your recipients, frankly, may be in no mood for lightness and mirth.

9. Watch Your Tone

Without the benefit of facial expressions or body language, words are easily misinterpreted. So, keep your sentences simple and declarative. Keep the message focused and don’t go off on tangents.

10. My Personal Pet Peeve

Never add a link without indicating what it is — not in an age of über vigilance over suspicious links that threaten to take us to where thieves lay in wait to steal our identities. Not only should you not send an unidentified link — never open one either. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

E-mail Etiquette Matters During Your Career Search Improving Communication In The Workplace Why Communication Skills Matter For Young Professionals

About the author

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at or at (484) 278-5489.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

It’s no secret that millennials are taking the workforce by storm. In fact, in a recent study by Upwork shows that 45% of the current workforce is comprised of millennials, up 20% from 2005. Related: How Employers Can Retain Millennial Talent While the average age of employees is an obvious change in the workplace, one of the less obvious changes is the difference in office etiquette. A lot of this change is coming from the increased use of technology in the office. Millennials practically grew up with their fingers on a keyboard, and a cell phone in their hand, where older generations in the workplace are learning as they go along. Millennials have been known to text with their bosses, and tweet about funny things their co-workers say or do - something that Generation X or Baby Boomers would not have done (or had the option to do) as young professionals. While this change in etiquette isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is causing a bit of coarseness between generations in the workplace. “More than 60% of employers say they there is tension between the generations in the workplace,” says Dawn Stanyon in an article on Emily Post. “Fifty perfect or more of Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers alike perceive that their talents and abilities are not appreciated by the other generations.” “The perception of incivility seen in the workplace these days is heavily driven by technology,” said Tony Ventrice, CDO of Badgeville. “Technology is making us more productive, but it can also cause some rifts between generations.” According to Ventrice, millennials have a fair amount of power since they’re much more familiar with technology than Generation X and Baby Boomers. Since millennials ‘know more’ they feel that they’re entitled to new rules of etiquette, and from the perspective of an older generation, this can seem less polite. I think everyone can agree that working in an environment where you feel like you have to walk on eggshells every second of the day would be pretty lousy. So, how do you reach a happy medium between the generations in the workplace? Here’s a simple equation from Ventrice that breaks it down: When millennials understand that there is hierarchy in the workplace that has to be followed and managers understand how millennials function, and what they ultimately want from their job, then there is a happy work environment where tensions are low. “If both sides of the equation connect and understand each other, things are going to run a lot more smoothly,” says Ventrice.

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The art of communicating by email has become the norm nowadays. Most job recruiters now prefer sending and receiving emails, rather than making phone calls, because it’s easier to keep a digital record of contacts. However, by doing this recruiters get a ton of emails each day, and small email mistakes can instantly take you out the running for that new job. We don’t want that. Related: E-mail Etiquette Matters During Your Career Search Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter for a second. After opening up hundreds of emails a day, seeing mistakes in emails can instantly turn off him or her from reading the rest of your email. So, in order to avoid that, what do you need to do?

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