Tips From a San Diego College Tutor: “Job Skills: Office Communication”

Although college teaches students any number of interesting things, many practical skills students need to land that first real job are not learned in the classroom environment. Students who only spend their time in the classroom or in front of a computer will miss out on some excellent job skills that will help them get closer to a spot in the workforce regardless of their major. One of the most important skills is effective written communication in a concise, effective, and polite manner. One area where most new employees struggle is the all-important and often used office e-mail – talk to your San Diego college tutor for career tips.


Office Email Communication Musts:

Many new grads are unaware of how to professionally write a business email. Most students can easily write casual emails and text messages with abbreviated language to effectively communicate with their peers. However, once in the workforce this type of communication it will be unacceptable. The first thing to learn is how to write an office appropriate email (READ: “5 Steps to Acing a Job Interview”).

1.  Always insert a timely and easy to understand heading in the email

This will help workers and supervisors know if your email is pertinent to today’s work or if it can wait until their other 300 emails of the day have been read and answered.

2. Use the high-priority button with caution

It’s important to remember that the high-priority button is meant for things that are time sensitive within about 24 hours or for an immediate customer service or client service situation. Asking for days off or talking about something that will occur weeks from now should not be given a high priority flag. Most office workers can easily receive a hundred emails per day, and they will not appreciate emails given high priority if they are a non-emergency.

3. Use the language of the office

It’s important to use the type of language that the rest of the employees in the office adhere to until it’s clear where appropriate boundaries lie. For instance, if everybody else uses Mr. and Ms. to address their co-workers in writing, you should not be calling them by their first names. Additionally, if most emails are straightforward and offer a simple Regards or an auto signature, it’s best to conform to this while still new in the office. On the other hand, if the majority of employees and supervisors insert greetings and salutations such as Thanks so much for your help or Have a great day it’s a good idea to extend a friendly greeting in written communication (READ: “Extra Curricular Activities For Your College Resume”).

4. Know when it’s time to pick up the phone

Many people end up getting bogged down by endless back-and-forth emails that take up more time than they’re worth. At a certain point, it’s better just to pick up the phone and call the colleague at the other office location and have an actual conversation. Of course, if the co-worker is only two cubicles over, it’s a good idea just to walk over and talk to them in person.

5.  Keep colleagues up to date

If a new employee is asked to complete something that takes 72 hours, it’s important to let the team or supervisor know that the email was received and the task is being completed. If a confirmation is not received, supervisors may think the employee didn’t get the message or didn’t take it seriously. On the other hand, if it only takes five minutes to complete a particular task, it’s not worth it to fill a colleague’s inbox with a basic confirmation email. Simply finish the task and return the email when the task is successfully completed (READ: “Tips from a San Diego college tutor: Community College”).

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