Etiquette

We want you to be successful in the professional world as well as here at Lawrence, and knowing proper etiquette is a first step along the road to achievement. Below are some important tips on email, phone, meeting and workplace etiquette. Keep these things in mind as you interact with fellow students, faculty and staff, alumni and employers.

EMAIL

  • Tips for constructing a professional email to a potential employer or networking connection:
    • Have a relevant, short subject line.
    • Use professional addresses (Ms., Mr., Dr., etc.) until told otherwise by the contact.
    • Include the main point of your email in the opening sentence.
    • Employers and recruiters are impressed by crisp, succinct writing.
    • Avoid typos.
    • Know your audience.
    • Use proper grammar, including appropriate use of upper and lowercase letters and punctuation.
    • Do NOT use emoticons : ;) or acronyms (LOL, brb).
    • Don't use hard to read fonts or multi-colored backgrounds.
  • Tips for email signatures:
    • An email signature should be straightforward and to the point, including information that is relevant to the individual you are emailing.
    • Email signatures that are too long or include too many ways for someone to contact you can be distracting, confusing and unprofessional.
    • An example of a good email signature:

Karl Colman '17
Vice President of Anthropology Club
colmank@lawrence.edu

  • Be patient! Keep the organization's hours in mind when sending an email and waiting for a response. Many organizations are not open on weekends or after 5 p.m., so you may not get a response to a message sent during these times.
  • Respond to an email as soon as possible, generally 2-3 days maximum. Allow at least 2-3 days for someone to respond to you before following up.
  • Remember that email is not private; do not send confidential information via email.
  • Begin messages with a greeting: Hello (name), for informal emails or Dear Mr./Ms. (last name): for business.
  • End messages with a closing: Best, Warm Regards, Thank You or Sincerely and your name.

PHONE

  • Record a voicemail greeting that includes your name (and company if applicable) and ask that callers leave a message.
    • Example: Hello, you have reached Henry Wriston. I am currently unavailable, so please leave a short message and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.
  • When leaving a message for someone, state your name and number first (remember that some landlines do not have caller ID) and leave a brief message about the purpose of your call. Then repeat your name and number again.
    • Example: Hello, this is Beverly Jones and my number is (920) 832-6561. I am calling to check on the status of my employment application. If you could call me back at your earliest convenience, I would appreciate it. Again, this is Beverly Jones and my phone number is (920) 832-6561. Thank you.
  • When placing a phone call, make a few notes about what you are calling about and take notes during your conversation.
  • Every time you make a professional phone call, announce your first and last name and the purpose of your call.
    • Example: Hello, this is Olivia Ormsby and I am calling to set up an appointment for a mock interview with a career services staff member.
  • When answering the phone, state the company or department you work in and your name, and end with a question of how you may help.
    • Example: Good morning, Career Services, this is Mary Meany. How may I help you?

MEETING

  • Know the purpose of the meeting, prepare and participate.
  • Be on time.
  • Silence electronics and put them away.
  • Keep the meeting on task by avoiding irrelevant tangents.
  • Take notes, especially of the assignments given to you.
  • If there is a receptionist, greet them. Let them know who you are and who you are meeting.

WORKPLACE

  • Keep noise to a minimum; limit use of speakerphones, keep personal music low, don't shout between workspaces and be aware of the level of your voice.
  • When being introduced to someone, stand up, smile and make eye contact. Greet the person with their name and shake their hand.
  • Respect the privacy of others, both in their space and in community areas.
  • Respect personal space - stand at least 18 inches from someone when conversing.
  • Knock when requesting entrance to a cubicle or office (even if the door is open).
  • Take care of communal property (copiers, fax machines, kitchen equipment); fix what you are able to fix or alert the person in charge of maintenance when necessary. Always tidy up after yourself.
  • Don't eat other people's food or "borrow" small amounts of condiments without permission.
  • Avoid office gossip, rumor spreading and jokes at others' expense.
  • Don't make personal calls on the office phone or use your cell phone during work hours.
  • Use workplace computers for work tasks only - don't check your personal email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Observe the office culture to better understand the specific etiquette in your workplace.
  • Limit how much fragrance you wear. Consider allergies and close working spaces.

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