If you are job hunting, want to communicate with those you do not know or have not met, addressing is very important. How you approach and address them via email can make all the difference in the world on how you will be perceived.
What is the proper way to address someone by email?
This all depends on your relationship and how well you know the person. Is the email personal or for business as well as the situation at hand.
If you do not know the contact very well or at all, always use the highest level of formality Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc. to start. Especially in business, you don’t want to get too informal too soon.
You will be able to tell when the other side is ready for a more relaxed tone by how they sign off their email or reply to you. Follow their lead and you will never go wrong.
Don’t Take Liberties
Avoid assuming how names are spelled. For example, I have those who do not know me who assume a premature informal stance and address me as “Judy.” I’m “Judith”. Those who know me know I am “Judi.”
If you knew me well enough to take the liberty of being less formal, you would know that. Then, there are those who continue to email me as “Judy” without taking the time to notice that is not how I spell my name.
What do you think that says about their attention to detail? Make sure that you are spelling your contact’s names properly. Spelling names properly reflects that you are paying attention and is basic common courtesy.
You also want to avoid the first name, last name trap. There are software programs that will insert names for you. When I get addressed as “Dear Judith Kallos” I know automation is at play. Who talks like that?
When I see this I know there is an automated process involved and the message is in no way truly personalized to me. Nobody in the real world addresses you by your first name and last name.
How you address your contacts will set the tone and level of formality. In addition, how you do so will lend to the perception of your level of professionalism, attention to detail and communication skills. All of which can help to contribute to positive relationship building.
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