Electronic Messages

Electronic messages are a mistake waiting to happen

Some practical rules for electronically submitted letters - emails and faxes, including electronic cover letters.
Electronic letters must generally be more concise than printed letters.  Cover Letters sent electronically must be significantly shorter.  Typically about half as long (Mulligan 2001).
Research indicts if user's cannot find the information they expect quickly, e.g. within the first few lines of the message, they will click away (Minelli 2001).
Business correspondence, particularly cover letters, should be compose off-line first, then sent:
  as an attachment; or
  in the text of the message by copying and pasting from a word processing program (generally strongly preferred because of viruses).  A strong word of caution, many word processing programs (Microsoft Word in Particular) will imbed hidden coding in the message which becomes visible when pasted in non Microsoft email programs.  Always send a copy to yourself, clean out the garbage and then send it.
Business correspondence should have the look and feel of printed business correspondence.
  break the text into paragraphs
  write real paragraphs
  use perfect grammar
  use complete words and sentences
  do not use e-slang
  do not use "emoticons" in business correspondence :(
  Be courteous - manners still matter - even in email.  Make sure to use please and thank you, appropriate titles, avoid excessive use of upper case and bangs (!!!) which may be considered rude.
  Keep business electronic mail, businesslike.  You do not know who will end up seeing it. Remember email is NOT private correspondence.  Email may not be protected by the same laws as postal service mail.  Email messages may be observed by server administrators or anyone who may have access to a particular computer or general email inbox.  Your email message may be printed and/or forwarded, even if the addressee is a personal friend or if the message is marked confidential.
Be reasonable
  Even though electronic messages are fast, the person you are contacting will probably see hundreds of messages.
  Do not expect an immediate response.
Article:  Critical Issues Behind the Electronic Job-Search
Some practical rules for professional email management
Email addresses and personal names
  Make yourself known to the receiver.  If your mail system allows the use of personal names, identify yourself, such as:  1234@xxx.com (Jane Smith)
  Make sure your address does not convey too much about you.  Your email address must appear professional (e.g. lustybunny@xxx.com or bigdonkey@xxx.com may not covey the ideal professional image.  By the way, these are both address names which appeared on resumes, the mail service provider has been alter to protect the innocent?); Consider a second email address used expressly for business correspondence - but if you do, make sure that you check it regularly.
  Subject lines are critical if you want someone to read your message.  Subject lines are often used to screen which mail to delete without opening because of suspicion of viruses If you are told to use a specific subject line, use it exactly as directed. Some people will use the subject line to sort messages and yours may get lost.
  Many mailers allow for signatures which will be appended automatically to your messages If you use one, make sure it contains your name and the correct contact information.  Make sure it is professional - e.g. avoid cute, offensive, political and "local" random strings added to you signature  If you do not use one, make sure to "sign" your name at the end of the message; 1234@xxx.com may not be sufficient to let the reader know the sender.

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