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Business Etiquette

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E-mail Etiquette

E-mail can often be your first - and possibly, your only point of contact with other people.  Practicing good business etiquette on the Web can make a difference between hearing back from an employer or not when applying for that perfect job.

"Think of your e-mail as a serious communication tool, not an excuse to forget about being professional, courteous or friendly," says Rohn Everson, Human Resources manager at Maintainer, Sheldon.  "Sometimes, even thoughtless little things can completely destroy what otherwise is a professional message."

What message does an e-mail address like bigman@xyz456.com, hotbunny@abc123.com, singlebabe@123.com send, he asks?  Those addresses are not professional, and could be considered demeaning and insensitive.  Most businesses don't want to convey that type of image, and applicants with these types of addresses will probably not be considered for employment.

Bryan Kooi, Human Resources manager at MEDTEC, Orange City agrees.

"I receive a lot of resumes via e-mail.  I see some very questionable e-mail addresses that make me wonder about the ethics, morality, and overall professionalism of the applicant," says Kooi.

Always provide a personal name if your mail system allows it - a personal name attached to your address identifies you better than your address can on its own, advises Everson.  For example, RobertAnderson@abc123.com conveys the sender as a professional person to be taken seriously a lot more than boblovesbeer@abc123.com

"Use a sensible personal name: 'Guess who' or other such phrases are annoying as personal names and hinder the recipient's quick identification of you and your message," says Everson.

Matt Ricke, a Sioux City-based manager with Manpower, considers questionable e-mail address as a "red flag - a reason not to hire someone."

He advises people to select a simple address, not one loaded with letters and numbers, and definitely not something odd or off the wall.  He understands that some people consider their e-mail address as a personal expression, but offers this cautionary advice to job seekers:

"If that's their image, they have to understand the consequences of those choices."  And sometimes, he says, the consequence is not getting the job.

Our society needs proper etiquette now more than ever, Everson believes.

"Good manners maintain consideration and kindness in our busy lives.  Knowledge of good manners can lead to success in life.  Appropriate conduct can make or break business deals, or determine the outcome of a job interview and promote good relations," says Everson.

The bottom line, according to all three managers, is to be professional.  Your e-mail address is a direct reflection of you, your image and your values.


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