Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Netiquette is the New Etiquette

Your virtual resume is your first step.
Summer is almost here and it can be a time when teens want to make their own money.

With today's struggling economy having an extra income can certainly help in many ways.  As school in Broward County will be coming to an end shortly, the time is now to start looking for a summer job.
Many jobs can be found online, however going into your community and networking is always beneficial. 

Today networking can be done both online and off.

As our lives become more and more involved with the internet, we have to become more aware of our web presence.

Netiquette, the etiquette of the internet, is of more importance now than it ever has been before. With online classes, online job profiles, and online dating, the way we conduct ourselves online impacts every aspect of our lives. In the online world, our communication skills are tested. The only means of communication we have on the web is through the written word, which can cause several complications. For this reason, it is imperative to communicate clearly and professionally in all online arenas. The following netiquette rules will guide a job seeker in the world of professional internet use.
  1. Be Professional: While this notion encompasses almost all of what we will discuss, being professional in email correspondence means more than the words you use and the tone you convey. Something as simple as the email address you use can mar even the most well written message. When sending an email on a serious matter it is important that you appear serious on all fronts. If the email address you are sending from sounds silly or joking, it will reflect poorly upon you and can demean your professional credibility. Now, we realize that this advice may sound dated. After all, who uses the email address surferchick22@something.com anymore? But, we believe that this notion is important enough to repeat, even if it is archaic. As a tip for today's users, sending an email to a potential employer from a dot edu or a dot org email address can give you more credibility. For one thing, using a school or organization email address proves that the educational or professional information on your resume is true.
  2. Evaluate Your Tone: Deciding on an appropriate tone of voice to use in internet communication can be difficult. Because emailing can be so impersonal, people can sometimes come off in a manner that is more informal or harsh than they intend. When writing an email from the comfort of your own home, it can be easy to slip into an overly conversational tone or a tone that sounds too direct when in writing. Because email correspondence is so quick and easy, people often send off their thoughts without properly reviewing them. Often times, people will send an email without reading it over and evaluating the way the language sounds when read by the recipient. For this reason, it is important to judge what tone is appropriate for that particular correspondence before you begin and read over the message when you are done to make sure that it accurately conveys the desired tone. When communicating with an employer about an open position or an interest in the company, it is always important to sound positive and friendly. Thank the individual you are emailing for their time and express that you look forward to hearing back from them.
  3. Use Proper Language and Titles: Another essential aspect of professional emailing etiquette is a writing a proper greeting. Be sure to include a greeting that is both courteous and official when conversing with any individual in any professional setting. Always address the individual you are speaking to with the appropriate level of formality and (though it may sound silly) be sure you have spelled their name correctly. Do not address them as you would a friend. For example, it is not appropriate to simply right "hi" or "hey" at the beginning of an email. Always address whomever you are speaking to with their official title (whether it is Dr., Mr., or Mrs.). If you are unsure of what the individual's official title is default to Mr. or Mrs. to be safe. If the individual replies to you and has used his or her first name only, then it is safe to assume you can call them by their first name. However, to be safe and remain professional, it may be wise to refer to that person as Mr. or Mrs. through all email correspondence.
  4. Use Effective Communication: This tip is key to all aspects of writing and (of course) takes some practice. Writing effective, clear messages can be difficult at first. You must be thoughtful and careful with your language. Try to be as clear and concise in your email correspondence as possible. Once you have completed your message read (and reread) it before you click send. Be sure to define and restate your words when you think necessary. Keep in mind that if something sounds unclear to you it will certainly be unclear to your reader. Within the same notion, be mindful of the words you use and the phrases that you write. As discussed earlier, it can be difficult to determine tone in writing, so if you use a phrase that is dependent upon inflection when spoken it is probably not the best choice for written correspondence.
  5. Ask for Clarification: Never assume you know the intention of an email if you are unsure. It is important to ask the sender to clarify anything that confuses you. As discussed earlier, it is easy to misinterpret emails because tone can sometimes be difficult to determine. If you think that you are misunderstanding something the other individual is saying or that you have misinterpreted their tone, just ask. It is always safer to send a quick email asking for clarification then it is to email a reply that you are not completely confident about. A potential employer will appreciate your responsiveness and maturity when dealing with confusion. Be sure to place the reason for confusion on yourself and not the sender. You do not want to come off as accusatory or blaming. A simple way to do this is to write, "I did not understand�", keeping the burden for the misunderstanding on yourself. Accepting blame also displays a level of maturity and confidence that is important within the professional world.
  6. Do Not Over-Send: While sending emails asking for clarification is important, it is also important that you use restraint when emailing. Do not clog an individual's inbox with messages that are not completely necessary. Be sure to reread the message you are having trouble understanding and make sure that you have no way of answering the question on your own. Although it can be difficult at times, you must consider that emailing is the same as having a face-to-face conversation. Every message you send is taking time from someone's day. You do not want to waste anyone's time or suggest to them that you do not consider their time valuable by over-sending emails.
  7. Write Appropriate Subject Lines: The subject line of an email, next to your name, is the first thing the recipient sees. For this reason, it is one of the most important (and most difficult) aspects of writing an email. It is important to convey a message in this line that is clear, concise, and informative. Give the recipient the bottom line of the message they are about to read without giving a complete summary of the entire email. Be precise and include details that allow the recipient to identify what you are talking about quickly and unambiguously. As a job seeker who is emailing a potential employer, never leave the subject line of an email blank. It is important to standout to the employer you are corresponding with. You want to grab their attention (in a professional manner) without looking too showy. Employers seeking new employees likely receive dozens and dozens of emails a day. Many will completely disregard an email sent without a subject.
  8. Use Proper Grammar and Spelling: It is endlessly important to use proper grammar and spelling in emails. Slipping into an overly conversational tone can be easy when communicating through email. While informal emails are fine when conversing with friends and family, you should always speak with potential employers in a professional manner. Messages that utilize poor grammar and have several misspelled words, demonstrate carelessness. If you do not take the time to edit your emails before you send them it will imply that you do not value the recipient's time. Quite simply, an email with poor grammar and bad spelling will not be taken seriously.
  9. Sell Yourself: Going hand-in-hand with using proper grammar and spelling, it is important to look good when seeking a job online. In today's techno-savvy world, many companies require job seekers to create an account or profile in order to apply for a position. In this profile, individuals should "sell" themselves to their potential employer. Your writing is the main thing that you will be judged by online (because, for the most part, it is the only thing available). Make yourself look good online by demonstrating professional writing etiquette. Be sure to display your strengths in these profiles. Also, it is important that any profiles that already exist online reflect you in a positive and professional manner. If you have a Facebook (or MySpace) account, be sure to make it display you in a positive and professional light or make it completely private and hidden from potential employers.
  10. Be Honest: While "selling yourself" in an online job profile is important to landing the position you desire, you must also be careful to remain completely honest. Because the world of the internet is faceless, it can be easy to fabricate information and think that you will get away with it. For many reasons, lying online can get you into more trouble than admitting your weaknesses (true in all aspects of life). Demonstrating your strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses shows a potential employer that you are willing and able to grow.

2 comments:

David Chiles said...

Netiquette, Internet Etiquette, is growing in importance. Your netiquette tips are excellent. Asking for clarification can prevent misunderstandings and using proper titles maintains order on the net. NetworkEtiquette.net

David Chiles said...

Netiquette, Internet Etiquette, is growing in importance. Your netiquette tips are excellent. Asking for clarification can prevent misunderstandings and using proper titles maintains order on the net. NetworkEtiquette.net