Is e-mail simply conversational?

In case you are still wondering if e-mail is merely conversational or something that can be held against you, the State of Wisconsin’s states that e-mail can be used against an employee. Remember that the next time you send out something that could incriminate you in the future.

I think this is a good time to reiterate my view of whether or not e-mail is conversational. I always believed that it is not, simply because it is written. Most people use it as such, though, and don’t realize that it reflects your character. Writing a message quickly and sending it with a few typos shows carelessness. Taking the time to review your message and ensuring its clarity demonstrates consideration and competency.

I think that this is especially appropriate now because there are many college students that are entering the job market for their first times. I hope they recognize the importance of double-checking their written and electronic documents before sending them off to potential employers. A list of typos on a résumé or cover letter can make the difference between getting an interview. Even when you type up and e-mail your thank you letter after an interview (which is acceptable today), a poorly written note can cost you your position.

And since I’m on the subject of writing, I just want to point out that writing things clearly are more important today than ever, especially with all of the technical devices available today. Most consumers today will not tolerate poorly-written instruction manuals when they’ve paid hundreds of dollars for a device. And a 10-page manual is less desirable than a single-page quick-install sheet. When a boss tells you that he or she wants a single-page summary of a specific topic and you feel compelled to turn in a 10-page paper, expect to rewrite it. That’s the real world, dude.