Writing emails at work is probably one of those things you do every day without even thinking about it. Yet, if you’ve ever had a coworker say something embarrassing on an accidental “reply all”, you can quickly be reminded that the everyday act of emailing can quickly end your career.
Professional emails can be serious business. As much as you might want to fill your email with gifs, memes, and anything that reminds your office that yes, you are a millennial, having a job also means to need to show some sort of resemblance of professionalism. (If only your coworkers saw what you are planning on wearing to Coachella.)
Now, all office cultures are certainly different. I still believe that as a whole, if us boss betches want to be taken seriously (which we do, and we should be), we NEED to stay professional at work. I’m not saying don’t get a little loosey-goosey at your company’s holiday party. Go to town. Do some karaoke with your CEO at a happy hour. I support you.
But all in all, we should follow some basic rules to work emails. Here are five things you should never put in a professional email.
I have a problem where I abbreviate literally everything in my life. Just ask my boyfriend. He can hardly understand what I’m saying.
At work, limit those amazing abbreviations that keep your hands from getting carpal tunnel to a minimum. Your boss probably isn’t writing you notes that say, “SOS, TBH I need HH”, so you shouldn’t either. Write for the job you want, not the job you have, amiright!?
2. Sh*t Tons of Exclamation Points
I’ll be totally honest, my text messages to my friends look like I am yelling at all times. I use more exclamation points and emojis than I can count. What can I say, I am an excitable person.
But at work, keep your exclamations to a minimum. It comes off junior and unprofessional. It may seem totally foreign to literally put a period at the end of a sentence (because if we texted, “Okay.” everyone would think we were pissed), but it’s the reality. If you do want to put an exclamation point in an email, because it’s something REALLY exciting, put one. Just one.
3. Long-Winded Explanations
I heard the best piece of advice: pretend every email you write is being read on a phone. So fit your content into what someone could read in the screen of their phone.
If you have a lot to say, try holding a meeting. I know the idea of face-to-face communication is probably a horrifying suggestion at this point in our tech-savvy world, but do it. It’ll make a huge difference. You’ll lose any opportunity for miscommunication and probably get more done.
Look, I love a little office gossip as much as the next person, but if you are going to talk sh*t at work…KEEP IT OUT OF WRITING. Even a ping.
I’m going to tell you a little secret. Most companies (not all, but a lot) will track your keystrokes. If you are using a work computer, they probably know all of the crap you are saying. So if you are complaining, writing an email (even to a friend) with something you wouldn’t want your boss to read—don’t do it. Go get a drink and tell your friends all your juicy news then.
There’s also the reply-all issue. Have you ever gotten an email about you, to you? I have. It f*cking sucks. But it’s also unprofessional AF. Make your life easier and keep the gossip out of anything that can be read later on. You’ll thank me later.
Similar to gossip, your work email is not the place to complain to your boss, bitch about your job to your friend, or talk about how overworked you are. Remember that whole reply-all thing? Or the little keystroke monitoring? If you are in a company email, the company PROBABLY has access to your email. Don’t put yourself at risk just because you are dying to complain.
Although emails are something we are probably doing day in and day out, take these tips into consideration next time you are emailing at work. And if you don’t believe me, just look at how your boss emails. Or your CEO. I want you all to be in their position one day, so stay profesh in emails, K?!
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