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How Not To Send Annoying Work Emails

December 20, 2013

One of the benefits of our partnership with GEICO is an exchange of resources and career advice. This blog is written by Shannon Smedstad, GEICO Careers Blogger, and the guide below will help any new graduate working for GEICO or any company begin their career on the right foot.

Not all of us have grown up with a prolific use of technology. The first time I sent an email was in 1995; I was a freshman in college at Shippensburg University. Today, email continues to be key means of on-the-job communication. Therefore, it’s important that students, early careerists and job seekers know how to craft a proper email.


1. Using all caps. Most of us probably know this, but RECEIVING AN EMAIL THAT IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS IS VERY ANNOYING. I was on the receiving end of an all caps email a few months ago and it literally hurt my eyes.
2. Saying hey. If you don’t know a person, well personally, then please do not start your email with “Hey, So-in-so.” This is particularly true if you are a job seeker sending an email to a recruiter or hiring manager.
3. Neglecting a greeting. The only thing worse than “hey,” is no greeting at all. If you are initiating a conversation via email with someone, don’t just plow right into it. Offer up a hello, good afternoon or at least kick it off with their name.
4. Exclaiming too much. Don’t you just love when people use lots of exclamations! It makes reading emails so much more fun! Especially when you use more than one!!!! Everything is so exciting today! Try to limit your use of exclamation points to one to two … tops.
5. Leaving the subject blank. The subject field is there for a reason. Don’t just include FW: or RE:. Write meaningful and contextual subjects. Give the recipient a reason to open, read and respond.
6. Writing with typos. Want to really annoy your readers? Use your, you’re, there, they’re and their incorrectly. Emails scarred with errors will not impress recruiters, supervisors or your co-workers.
7. Conversing via carbon copy. Having an email conversation with 10 people in the CC: field is a great way to annoy the masses. Email is not IM. Take it offline and have a one-on-one phone call or meeting.
Now, I am by no means the perfect email author. But, I am making a concerted effort to improve my email communication. One popular pet peeve that I will not let go of, even if it makes you cringe, is the use of emoticons. I happen to like them. 

This Harvard Business Review Ideacast from February 28, 2013 also offers advice on business writing and is worth listening to.

Ready to apply to a GEICO leadership program?
Visit Deltasigs can also connect directly with Debra Mienke-Pence, GEICO’s dedicated DSP recruiter, on either Facebook or LinkedIn.

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