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Avoid these e-mail mistakes in college and professional correspondence


Friday, October 25, 2013

Everyone makes mistakes, but when they occur over e-mail, the results can be quite awkward. Whether you're reaching out to a professor about a homework assignment or inquiring about an internship, simple e-mail mistakes can make you wish you never clicked "Send." Fortunately, you can avoid common e-mail mix-ups by remembering these tips the next time you sit down to compose a message:

Always send from a professional account
By the time you get to college, it's likely you've had at least a few e-mail accounts, including one you created yourself and another your school gave you. Unless your personal e-mail includes your name or initials and nothing more, you're better off e-mailing professors and organizations from your school account.

While a nickname or inside joke in your personal e-mail address may have seemed funny at the time, it's likely to raise eyebrows among those who don't see the humor in it. According to Inc. magazine, messages from this type of address could wind up in a recipient's spam folder.

Know the recipient's gender
Alex, Chris, Hayden and Jordan are all names that could belong to a man or a woman. For this reason, you should never assume the gender of your recipient. Whether you're writing to an admissions officer about a school during your college search or a hiring manager at a company you'd like to work for, do some research before putting Mr. or Ms. before the name.

In an article for Her Campus, an online community for college women, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill junior Alex Gladu recommended doing an Internet search. Google the name of the individual and you could come across a LinkedIn profile or news articles featuring this person. You can also call the school or organization where this individual works and ask for clarification. Once you know the gender, you can return to your e-mail and avoid an awkward mix-up.

Insert the recipient's address last
When composing your message, never enter the recipient's e-mail address first. You never know when the message could get sent too early or by accident. You wouldn't want your professor or a potential employer to receive a half-written e-mail or one littered with typos.

To avoid this, focus on the body of the e-mail first and make sure to read it over and run a spell check on it. Only when you've taken these steps should you add the recipient's e-mail address and click "Send."

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