Email Etiquette GuideStudent Success Center&English Language Program
Etiquette: Basic Set-up Use your jhu email account for all academic andprofessional communication. Note that you canchange the settings on your account to reflect yourEnglish name, if you use [email protected] [email protected] Make sure your phone and computer are set toEnglish, otherwise your email will come through inanother alphabet and likely be sent to the spamfolder.吴越 [email protected] ?- need toupdate Make sure the response setting also comes fromyour jhu account. Otherwise, it could also go to aspam folder. You can set up a “signature” for your email.Include: Your full name, program,University/Company, Address, Phone and E-mail.See example below. Yue (Alice) WuMS Finance, Class of 2018The Johns Hopkins CareyBusiness School100 International DriveBaltimore, MD, 21202Mobile: (410) 821-4420Email: [email protected]
Subject LineEvery email needs one Be clear and specific about thetopic of the email. The subject lineshould be the main point of theemail. Do not include a greeting, such as“hello” or “greetings.” Use logical keywords so therecipient can easily search foryour email. Only use your name if you areapplying for a job. If someone has referred you fora job, be sure to use his/hername.
Subject LinesExamplesJob Application: Sally Brown-Marketing Associatecandidate Referred by Michael Scott for HumanResources AssistantInterview Follow up: Sally Brown following up onMarketing Associate position Marketing Associate interview followupInterview thank you: Thank you for the interviewIntroduction: An introduction: Nicholas BarnabyCatherine AndersonMeeting invitation: Management Consultants:Thursday 10:00amRequest for feedback: Feedback request by COB 3/24Requesting information: Inquiring about design services
GreetingsFor all formal e-mail communication use Dear Recipient’s Title Last name. Ifyou’re sending an email to your professor, Melvin Gordon, you would use thegreeting:Dear Professor Gordon,The titles “Professor” or “Dr.” are used for both men or women. If the person youare emailing does not have one of those titles, use Mr. for men:Dear Mr. Gordon,And when emailing a woman, use “Ms.” So, if you are emailing your advisor, SandraGreen, use the greeting:Dear Ms. Green,*Note: The title “Officer” is never used, unless you are addressing a police officer.Also, the email address is not necessarily someone’s full name. For example:[email protected] Dear gggreen7894Instead, it should read: Dear Ms.Green,
ClosingsAcceptable Closings forBusiness/Academic Email Best, Kind regards, Regards, Sincerely,Inappropriate Closings forBusiness/Academic Email Love, Yours/Yours truly, xoxo
ToneExample 1Dear Professor Bernard,I’m working on a project onminimizing the risk indeveloping property. I’d likeyou to look at it and give mesome feedback. Could youplease get it back to me bynext Tuesday? Thank you foryour time.Best,Ross GellarProblemsI’d like you to look at it and give me some feedback.This is not asking for help, this is demanding help.Acknowledge that the person you are asking for helpis very busy and that you understand they may not beable to assist you. Use modals to ask politely.Could you please get it back to me by next Tuesday?Remember, this professor has not agreed to help youyet, so giving him/her deadlines is not helpful. Whenexplaining the project you need help with, tell themwhen the project is due and which aspect of theproject you need help with. They can then decidewhether or not they have time to assist you beforethen.
TonePolite Example 1Dear Professor Bernard,I’m working on a project on minimizing the risk in developingproperty, which is due next Tuesday. If you have time, would youmind taking a look at it and giving me some feedback? I’m especiallyconcerned about X. Thank you for your time.Best,Ross Gellar
ToneExample 2Dear Professor Vance,I don’t understand thelecture yesterday aboutfinance reform. I want tomake an appointment withyou tomorrow at 12:00 soyou can explain it more tome.Best,JaniceProblemsI want to make an appointment with you tomorrow at12:00Appointments need to be requested. Ask politely ifthe professor has time to meet with you. Offer atleast two times that work for you to minimize thenumber of emails that need to go back and forth.So you can explain it more to me.This is not only demanding, but you are also blamingthe professor, implying that he/she did not explain itsufficiently in class.
TonePolite Example 2Dear Professor Vance,I’m still a bit confused by aspects of the lecture yesterday aboutfinance reform. Would it be possible to schedule an appointmentwith you this week to discuss it further? I am free either Tuesday orThursday afternoon, or Friday morning. Thank you.Best,Janice Lin
TemplateAbsenceExplaining LatenessExplaining an AbsenceSubject: Quantitative Finance 4/29Dear Professor Scott,I am writing to let you know that I willbe late for class because there is anurgent maintenance issue at myapartment now. I apologize for theshort notice; I will be at school by2:00PM.See you in class.Best,Monica GellarSubject: Appointment to discuss XDear Professor Beasley,I missed your class last week because ofan illness. I’ve already talked to some ofmy classmates about the materials Imissed, but I don’t think I completelyunderstand X. Could I make anappointment to meet with youtomorrow at 2pm or 5pm to discuss it?Best,Joe Tribianni
TemplateAppointment RequestSubject: Appointment request todiscuss XDear Dr. Watson,After reviewing my notes on yourlecture about X last week, I still havesome questions about it. I’mspecifically confused about Wouldit be possible to schedule anappointment sometime this week togo over it? I’m available Wednesdayand Friday afternoon this week.Thank you.Sincerely,Megan ChenSubject: Seeking advice on XDear Professor Myers,I’m interested in a career in X, and Iknow you worked in this field at MorganStanley for many years. If you have thetime, would it be possible to meet todiscuss your experience? I would likesome advice on what I should be doingnow to prepare for this career, and Iwould really appreciate any advice youcould give me. Thank you.Regards,Mike Wayne
TemplateFavor/QuestionSubject: Request for more idiomsmaterialsSubject: Request for investment summary feedbackDear Professor Halpert,I really like the idioms part of your lectureand I have recently finished the idiombook “Speak Business English like anAmerican.” I have really learned a lot ofuseful idioms. Do you have any furthermaterial regarding idioms? I wouldappreciate it if you could recommendsomething for me.Thanks.Best,Rachel GreenDear Professor Schrute,I am having a problem with the financial report I’mworking on, which is due in two weeks. I’ve alreadycompleted the forecasting portion, but I am notsure what should be included in the investmentsummary.Attached is my investment summary draft and therelated worksheet. I was wondering if you couldtake a look at it if you have the time and give mesome suggestions. I would really appreciate it.Thank you.Best,Phoebe Buffay
Before you hit “send” Did you spell the recipient’s name correctly?Misspelling the name of the person you are writinglooks unprofessional, particularly when thatperson’s name is part of their email address. Don’tuse a nickname unless the recipient has said it’s ok.Example: Don’t call “Patrick” “Pat,”unless he tells you that you may do so. Did you hit “Reply All” when you should have hit“Reply”? Does your email look like a text message? You don’t want to write an academicor professional email the way youwould speak or text. Double check tomake sure you haven’t used textabbreviations or shortened things like“going to” to “gonna.” Did you use the spell check function? Spell check will not pick up every mistake,so make sure you read through it as well! Did you include a subject line? Do you also have an appropriate greeting andclosing? If responding to a message, have you answeredthe questions that were asked? Failing to answer questions in a response,or asking questions that were answeredin the previous email, shows that youhave not taken the time to thoroughlyread the email. Were you angry or upset when you wrote theemail? If so, wait 24 hours (sleep on it) beforehitting “send.”
After you hit “send”Be patient!Follow-up: Remember, emails are not forissues that are time sensitive. Aphone call is better if an immediateresponse is necessary. If you have sent an email after5pm or on the weekend, youshouldn’t expect a response untilthe recipient returns to work.Many people do not check theirprofessional email accounts ontheir personal time.If you have asked for assistance, afollow-up email may be necessary. Waita few days before following up. Theymay just be working through a busyinbox!
Appendix/GlossaryCommon Abbreviations and TermsASAP- As soon as possible.FYI- For your information. Thisdoesn’t usually require aresponse, and is forinformational purposes only.COB- Close of business. (5:00PM)RSVP- This stands for the French phrase,“répondez, s’il vous plaÎt,” which means“please reply.” This signifies a commitment.Regrets only- You only need to respond if youcan not attend.
Appendix/GlossaryExclamation marks!!!!Explaining an absenceIn an academic or professionalemail, you want to avoidexclamation marks because theycan be misinterpreted as angry,immature or too enthusiastic.Exceptions can be made whenyou are praising someone (greatjob!).Do not “request a leave” or ask if it’s ok ifyou are absent.If you are sick, simply inform yourprofessor that you are not feeling well, orare “under the weather.” It is unnecessaryto include details of your sickness orsymptoms.Scheduled doctor/dentist appointmentsare not considered an excused absence.
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