Mail in the Coffin – The 101 on Leaving and Sending Messages

These days, the only thing showing up at someone’s office will guarantee you is a moment more awkward than waking up and realizing that you drunk dialed your Ex, and that’s while you were drunk with your current.

Your best bet to engage a company of interest is to either send an email or give them a buzz.  Neither will guarantee you success, but they each provide you an opportunity to personally make an impression without, well, meeting someone in person.  We at Urban Professor have some tips for either strategy you choose:

Droppin’ A Voicemail

Now, we know some of you are smooth talkers and think you’re the hottest thing since that girl’s hair that caught fire at that Diddy party.  You can pretty much sell yourself on the phone to any potential employer, right?  But what about leaving a voicemail?  Talking to someone is easy, but introducing yourself and proving you’re worthy of a call back in less than 2 minutes, is no joke.

Please, whatever you do, don’t start your message with, “Yo,” “Sup,” or “How you doin’?” (in your Wendy Williams voice).  Informal introductions get your message deleted, quick. Give a polite and proper greeting such as, good morning, afternoon or evening. State your name, and tell them how interested you are in their company.  But, avoid rambling on, a la “One time, at band camp…” speak clearly and complete your thoughts.  One Ron Artest is enough for the world.

Be enthusiastic.  The objective of leaving a voicemail is to get a call back, so be lively. Sound genuinely interested in the company, and then some.  Just don’t get too excited, we don’t need them thinking Plies is leaving a message.  Be certain to repeat your name at the end of your message and repeat your contact # twice in case they misunderstand.

Cut out the music playing on your personal voicemail.  A potential employer doesn’t need to hear Ciara telling them you love the way she rides it.  It’s a complete turn-off and will ensure you won’t have a voicemail left for you. Instead of Ciara, have a personal message from yourself.  State your name and politely ask the caller to leave their name, number and a brief message so you can return their call.

Sendin’ An Email

Here, you have a little more flexibility than if you were leaving a voicemail, but not much. Consider the first email you send to be your “electronic handshake.”  It’s your introduction.

First, be sure your email address is business appropriate.  This means “,” “,” and “,” have to go.  Something as simple as the first initial of your first name, followed by your last name will do.  This doesn’t have to be your everything e-mail address, just your professional one.  See “Throw Some STD’s On it.”

Once you begin writing your e-mail, avoid typing in all caps.  ALL CAPS INSINUATE YELLING and there’s nothing worse than an email written in all caps… except maybe Kelly Rowland’s lacefront.

Keep your email concise.  Most people don’t want to spend any longer than a minute or two reading an email, anything longer gets that little trash can icon clicked and it’s on to the next one, Jay-Z voice.

Lastly, signatures are important.  If you choose to use one, avoid anything obscene.  Try a favorite quote or Bible verse, anything that would give your email a personal feel. And, if you just want the plain old, email address and telephone number signature, that’s cool, too.

Hopefully, now that we’ve outlined these do’s and don’ts, you’ll have a greater appreciation for professional email and voicemail etiquette.  You’ll be much further ahead if you heed these tips and commit them to memory.  Otherwise, your mail may just end up in the digital coffin.