Today’s Work It Daily Challenge is to close your email for one hour. Email, while convenient, is also a massive time waster. Many of us spend hours in our inboxes responding to emails. As a result, our other duties are pushed off until later in the day. Worse, if you keep your email open throughout the day, chances are you get distracted every time a new message pops up. Again, this takes away from your actual work. Whether you get 300 emails a day or three, it’s important to chance your email habits so you can concentrate on your work and manage your time more effectively. Today, challenge yourself to close your email for at least one hour. Don’t leave it in an open tab, don’t check it, and disable any desktop notifications. Another trick you can do is to set designated email times during the day. So, for example, you could only allow yourself to check emails from 9-9:30am, 12:-12:30pm, and 4:30-5pm. That way, you can use the rest of your day to get other projects done. How long do you close your email for during the day? Do you have designated email times? Tell us!
I was recently the recipient of a group email from an administrator. You know the kind I mean…an announcement of sorts intended for an entire group. The message targeted 10 to 15 people who needed information that the administrator wanted to share all at once. The message itself was generic enough. At least from my point of view, the message was informational, and that was it. RELATED: Need some career advice? Watch these tutorials! Imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when a few minutes later, a long response popped up in my inbox as a "reply to all" even though the message clearly targeted the sender of the original message. The tone of that message was angry, and the writer was clearly miffed. It was the kind of message that didn’t need to be sent to the entire group, and in fact, in my opinion it was the sort of message that should never have been put in an email at all. In this case, the response was one that warranted a phone call between those two people. That wasn’t even the worst of it, however. In addition to replying to all, and thus sharing their upset with the entire group, this individual decided to call out an individual who hadn't been included in the original message! The information shared was both personal and derogatory. It had no place in that message, and again, would have been better said in person. It reminded me that sometimes even the most professional of us can make a mistake when it comes to email protocol. I know I have committed my share of faux pas. Early in the days of email, I made the mistake of sending a similarly inappropriate message disparaging an individual in writing. The message then landed in the wrong mailbox. I received a message from someone who had the same name as the person for whom I had intended the message. The recipient was kind enough to share that he was pretty sure he wasn’t the intended recipient of my email. Lesson learned: make sure you have the right email address AND be careful what you put in writing, even if you think you know to whom you are sending the message. Here are some rudimentary rules that I think everyone should observe when it comes to email:
1. Targeted subject line.Include the job title and a branding statement here.
Subject: Business and Financial IT Director: Initiative-driven Growth and Process Improvement
2. Opening statement.In the first one or two sentences, concisely spell out the obvious reason why you are writing. (Don’t make a hiring manager guess which position you’re applying for if it is a listed position, or which one you’re interested in if it is an exploratory letter.) Start the letter off strong by giving a solid example or metric that illustrates how your past accomplishments will be an asset to the employer in the future. Remember, you only have a few seconds to capture the hiring manager’s attention!
“Under my leadership, our operations department processed a 250% increase in claims volume last quarter – without an hour of overtime – through process improvements, greater team collaboration, and technology implementation. It’s with this track record of creating streamlined operations and amplified profitability that I would like to be considered for your V.P. of Operations position.”A word about name-dropping. It’s OK to respectfully mention the person who is referring you to apply. People hire people they know and like. Having an internal contact that can vouch for your professionalism increases your chance of an interview.
3. Bulleted body.Here you can substantiate your brand statement and garner interest by mentioning specific areas and accomplishments that correspond to the company’s needs.
Proof of my impact on operational efficiency and corporate bottom line:
- PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS – Slashed time to release new policies in half during first 6 months as V.P. of Operations.
- TEAM ENGAGEMENT – Boosted attendance of operations center staff by 75% within first 6 months with recognition and collaborative programs.
- TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION – Improved production 40% in billing department through modernization of technology and transitioning to paperless environment.
4. Conclusion.Don’t be shy here! This is the place to inform the reader, politely, that your cover letter and resume are not going to be the final communications from you.
“I welcome confidential discussions of how I may add additional value to MetLife. I will contact your executive assistant early next week to schedule a meeting. In the meantime, please see my enclosed résumé.”
5. Closing.Signing off with “Sincerely,” “Best Regards,” or “Thank you for your consideration” is a courteous way to end your e-note.
6. Name.If you have a common name, consider adding your middle initial or credentials at the end of your name to prevent identity confusion when an employer searches online for you.
7. Signature block.Include additional contact information to make it easy for someone to contact you: phone number, e-mail, LinkedIn URL, and other social media information. Also list any branding information, tagline, or website, along with any awards or notable accomplishments. Separate your signature from the e-note with a dashed line or symbols, like in this example: ========================== Jamie Johnson, MBA Cell: 920-555-1212 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/jjmba Twitter: @jjmba And just like that, you’re done! You’ve written a short and sweet summary of your interest in and qualifications for the job. And most importantly… you’ve likely managed to keep the hiring manager’s finger off their Facebook tab or delete key. Need more help? See cover letter and resume samples on my website to get ideas, or decide if you’d like a consultation. This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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About the authorKristin S. Johnson is a TORI award-winning, 6-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Can you imagine communicating without email? It is part of our everyday life and the way many employers receive cover letters and resumes from potential candidates. So, if you don’t know email etiquette, you’re in for a rough ride. Related: Follow Up Tips: What To Do When Your E-mail Goes Unanswered Even if you think you have it down, you should take another look at the tips below.