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March 2012

Make your emails work for you

My email account was hijacked. All 125 contacts were sent a bogus email about my being stranded in Spain. My credit cards were stolen, the embassy was no help, phones disconnected… Many recipients had never received such an email and were actually going to send money -- except the tip-off was the careless use of grammar, especially the last line: “Thanks and hoping to read from you soon.” Neglecting to proofread spoiled their plan!

The lesson here is that you want to take as much care with business emails as you would for a letter on linen stationery — even to your colleagues. Read it over two or three times before hitting Send. Using spell check is not enough.

Even though we fire off tons of emails, it's the carefully crafted and proofread ones that get the attention. Don't let your plan be spoiled by careless content!

Kathleen Martinek, former UNCG alumni career counselor, has more than 15 years of experience in career development and corporate management. She can be reached at















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