Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: email etiquette

The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about email etiquette.

Both Recruiters and Contractors Can Benefit from this Email Etiquette Infographic

We’ve all been in a situation when we sent or received an email that was perceived the wrong way. Especially when we’re in a hurry, it’s easy to unintentionally send a quick note that comes across as rude, delivers the wrong message, or is confusing. The result is hurt relationships or a miscommunication that results in nothing productive.

Both recruiters and contractors can be guilty of sending out emails that have not been thought out. Given the fact we all often use email for tasks as important as job searching, we should all take the time to review proper email etiquette and ensure we send only  quality emails. This infographic from the Business Backer will help you with just that. It’s quite thorough and provides dos and don’ts for every aspect of sending an email. Where can you improve?

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

How Recruiters Judge You before Your Resume

What an IT Contractor’s Email Address Tells a Recruiter Before They Even Read Their Resume

How Recruiters Judge You before Your ResumeA large part of a recruiter’s job is to judge people. That seems like a dream come true and quite natural for many people in this world, but recruiters have to strategically judge you. In addition to the basic math involved in reading your resume to see if your qualifications add up, they consider subtle details to see how you pay attention to detail, how professional you’ll be with clients, and how well you’ll interact with other IT professionals working on your project.

One of the first elements that a recruiter may notice is your email address. And if you have a back-and-forth email conversation with your recruiter, that personal branding element will continually appear in front of them.

An email address may seem like a trivial detail, but an article written by Jill Duffy at ITProPortal points out that it could speak volumes about who you are. According to Duffy, your address needs to follow 4 specific criteria:

  • Include Your Name in the Address: Your email address should include your name and, ideally, only your name. Try different combinations with initials, periods and hyphens until you find one that’s available. According to Duffy, you should avoid numbers at all costs, but if you must use one, keep it to a single digit.
  • Hosted by a Reputable Hosting Company: Free hosting services are fine as long as they are well-known ones such as Gmail or Yahoo, but also make sure it isn’t out-dated (Hotmail).
  • Do Not Use Your University or College Address: It’s great that you’re proud of the institution where you got your education, but it can send mixed messages to a recruiter. If the school is in a different city, they may question where you live, and they may also wonder if you’ve graduated yet.
  • Do Not Give Away Certain Information: It doesn’t matter how phenomenal you are at Dungeons & Dragons, DDExpert has no place in your address. Even if it’s related to your profession, for example JaneSQL@host.com, this isn’t advised. After all, maybe in 15 years, Jane won’t be interested in SQL jobs anymore. Similarly, Duffy says you should avoid birth years or locations in your address.

The complete post at ITProPortal goes into more detail and we recommend having a look if you’re interested in the topic. In the end, it’s important you see your email address from a recruiter’s eyes and when creating your email address, be in the mindset of creating it for life. This way recruiters, colleagues and clients can all contact you if they want to connect or need your services at any point in the future.

Before Sending a Rude Email, Ask These 5 Questions

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Sending a Rude EmailMost people don’t intentionally send rude emails to recruiters, clients or fellow independent contractors. As stress increases, time decreases, and tense situations arise, though, it’s easy to fire off emails that quickly send your recipients into a defensive mode, and leave you perplexed as to why they’re so sensitive. What is even worse, though, is that you can damage your reputation and chance of getting future IT contracts without even knowing it.

If you’re still scratching your head to determine why people are being put off by your emails, have a look at the list below. Next time you’re sending an email, especially one that’s potentially sensitive, take a couple of extra minutes to ask yourself these questions and ensure you’re not going to start an unnecessary conflict.

Did I start and end the email nicely?

Some emails should be no different than a face-to-face conversation (many should be an in-person discussion, but that’s a different post all together). If you walk into a client’s office, blurt out a bunch of comments, and then leave, without the slightest greeting or closing, you can bet they’re going to be lost and offended. Since the average person types 40 words per minute, “Hello” and “Thank You” should take you all of 2 seconds to write. Please don’t be lazy.

Did I include enough information?

A vague email can lead to terrible miscommunications that seriously hurts an IT project. Depending on how vague it is, it can also leave the recipient making their own assumptions about your mood. To solve this problem, start with a clear subject line so they know exactly what the email is going to say. In the body, ensure you let them know precisely what you need, why you need it, and include any timelines. Feedback should also come with some context.

Additionally, refrain from blank, or nearly blank, emails, especially when forwarding. Jeff Bezos’s famous “?” emails are effective at Amazon, but you’re not Jeff Bezos. Including context clarifies your tone and keeps out the guess work.

Finally, although it’s important to have enough information, too much fluff is also an issue. People are busy and don’t want to read your emails as you dance around a topic. Be polite, but be direct.

Am I making them do the work?

When you send an email that references another document or email, do what you can to prevent the recipient from having to dig it up (and possibly dig up the wrong thing). At the minimum, including the date range and recipients of an original email so it can be sought out is better than “Find that email from Jane where she talks about that thing.” For attachments, also copy and paste the information directly into the body of an email. Many emails are checked on mobile devices and previewing attachments can be a hassle – your recipient will appreciate being able to scroll rather than download.

Did I include negative undertones?

This is the most important question to ask. It happens when we’re in a hurry and for many of us it’s just a bad habit, but negative undertones are easy to include in your emails without knowing it.

First, look at the basic punctuation. DON’T YOU THINK WRITING IN ALL CAPS WITH MANY EXCLAMATION AND QUESTION MARKS IS RUDE???!!!!????!!!! We do, and so do your other recruiters, clients and colleagues.

There are also more subtle signs to consider. Negative words such as “don’t” can affect the tone of an email. “Try writing it differently” sounds nicer than “Don’t write it like that.”

Even who you copy on an email could cause unwanted tension if it is perceived as tattling or pointing out mistakes to belittle. Think about who you are copying and why it’s important for them to be included.

Am I straight up being rude?

As much as you think that that lazy team member or neglectful recruiter deserves it, very rarely is a rude email going to solve your problem. Avoid barking orders, being pushy, or harshly criticizing. Instead, ask questions and provide solutions. If the conversation is going to be rough, then pick up the phone or walk over for a face-to-face conversation.

The moral of the story is that independent contractors should never send a rude email. It’s easy to fall into the trap during busy times or when you’re under pressure. When you know you’re at risk, take a few extra minutes to review what you wrote. You can also try saving it as a draft and returning to it later or asking a friend to review it. Remember, friends don’t let friends send rude emails.