10 Tips to E-mail Etiquette

10 tips for better email etiquette - the confused millennial, millennial blog


E-mail etiquette is something that has been on my mind a lot lately…

…oh the things we think about when #adulting… 


Everything from day to day emails as well as mistakes made with email lists. I decided I needed to do a quick PSA about e-mail etiquette. It’s one of those things that I really struggled to learn as an early twenty-something, and often found myself crying and screaming:


I’ve totally thought about sleuthy plans to break into my bosses office and delete the e-mail’s too… whether it’s because I sounded dumb, forgot something, or wrote something full of typos and emoji’s, I’ve probably made every e-mail mistake in the book!

So a Quick E-mail etiquette PSA:

1. Proofread your e-mail, please for the love of whatever is holy on this earth! Make sure you’re words are spelled correctly (at least mostly: DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!), grammar is on point, and that you included whatever you said you would include (always double check those attachments!).

2. Be clear, concise, and thorough. Nothing drives me crazier when I get a really generic e-mail that is super vague and results in us having to go back and forth multiple times to get to the damn point! Whether you are e-mailing a boss, friends, or trying to pitch someone, please think to yourself “Is this the quickest and clearest way I can get my point across and convey all the relevant and necessary information?” IF you can’t quickly give me a “HELL YES!” then don’t hit send!

3. Make sure you have a signature. Nothing bothers me more when I can’t easily stalk you on your social media platforms or find your phone number for a quick question. Include your full name, website, relevant social media platforms, phone number, etc. I don’t want to waste my precious time stalking this information out, I will do it… but I will be cursing you the whole time.

4. If you are emailing a bunch of people, use BCC. Who here loves getting an e-mail with 50 people CC’ed and getting every single one of them replying with “cool!”, “got it!”, “thanks”? Not sure who? I’ll tell you: IT’S NO ONE. No one likes their emails clogged with useless or irrelevant emails. So if you are sending a blast out to everyone and they only need to respond to you then please us BCC and leave me and my inbox out of everybody’s replies.

5. Don’t send stupid chain emails. This isn’t AOL in the 90s or early 00’s. Read the previous statement in #4: Don’t clog people’s emails with useless or irrelevant crap. I don’t care that your first born will be taken by the cursed angel demon Damian if you don’t send this to five friends, because guess what, if you send me that, we aren’t really friends so you already F*’ed yourself!

6. DO Reply with a courteous “received” or “got it”. Just to double back to #4 where I talk about people responding “cool”, “got it”, or “thanks”…. I actually LOVE receiving these e-mails if I am the one sending the e-mail (In point #4, I hate it when I get those and I’m CC’ed). – But people have a lot of issues with e-mail being marked as spam (I’ve been one of them countless times because I use a masked dummy gmail), so PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOU RECEIVED MY EMAIL! Even if you aren’t responding in full at the time, just say “Great, thanks!” and I won’t keep pestering you.

7. Check your emotions. This is one of the toughest for me. I get really passionate when I write sometimes, and will actually have entire written arguments… who’s with me? I need to pause, take a breath, and check my emotions before sending most e-mails. When I was in the corporate world especially. I would even send them to my fiancee (screen shotted or copy and pasted into a text, never via company email!) to read it before sending to ensure I am being as diplomatic, professional, and polished as possible. This practice of proofreading one another’s emails has actually been really insightful and helpful. It’s taught us both about how people read tones and how to even clean up the email to be clearer and more concise (See #2). Maybe enlist an e-mail buddy or two? Just remember…

8. Don’t send stuff you don’t want seen or read via company e-mail! They own that ish! Seriously, your company is probably not reading every e-mail you send, but for safety sake, get into the mindset that they have an elf in the basement reading every e-mail waiting to tattle to master if you mess up (Yeah, I really just combined DJ Khaled and Harry Potter references in the same point… #WINNING!)

9. Choose an accurate subject life. If you are pitching someone, make it intriguing so they want to open it, if you are working with someone make sure it’s specific to the conversation. It should be memorable, as in “what keywords would I search if I was trying to find this email?”


Good subject line: “NYU Graduate, published author seeking content writer position”

Bad subject line: “Content writer position” (Where’s the intrigue? Why should I open this compared to all the others? How can I easily search this compared to all the others?)

Good subject line: “Summary notes from 6/15 Summit discussion”

Bad subject line: “Notes”

10. Set up a vacation auto-responder. If you are going away for more than 2 days, please use a vacation notification. Let me know that you won’t be responding to my emails, rather than me wondering if they are in spam or you’re ignoring me.


What are your email pet peeves or e-mail tips? Let me know in the comments!

Now that you’ve nailed e-mail etiquette, grab the guide to crafting your perfect 30-second elevator pitch!


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  • Greta Hollar

    My big email thing is to respond to all messages in 24 hours. I hate when I send an email and get a response a week or two later! I always try to be considerate when I receive inquiry’s and messages. Great post!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Totally agree Greta!! I always try to respond within 24 hours, but have definitely been falling short lately lol

  • Tori Moore

    Love these tips!! I can’t STAND when people don’t respond that they’ve read my email! It is one of my absolute pet peeves!


    • Same!! I feel like a crazy person when debating "is it time to follow up with them to confirm they got my email yet?!?"

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby

    • Totally agree Gabby! There really should be a class!

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby

  • Audrey Madison Stowe

    great tips!! I think email etiquette is so important to know!

  • Yvanne •

    lmao I’m dying at the sophia gif! It’s like you wrote this post for me! I’ll follow all these from now on.
    Yvanne | https://composedcollected.blogspot.com

  • Candice Nikeia

    I hate when people email me without doing BCC. I hate seeing everyones’ emails! Thank you for writing this! It’s so important for everyone to know what to do and not to do when it comes to emailing!

    xoxo, Candice

  • Alex Berger

    Proofread YASSSS!!! I have the hardest time coming up with subjects too. So hard!

    • Same! I used to have my fiancee write all my subject lines until I got better at it haha

  • Annaliese Lemieux-Kaplan

    OH my gosh- are people really still sending chain emails in 2016?!?! Haha!! Anyways these are good tips!

    xoxo A

    • YES GIRL! Mostly Gen X… hopefully they will be a thing of the past soon… although i do notice those terrible facebook chain posts now… #SMH

  • Kayleigh Adam

    Love these tips and tricks! I never thought about the subject line being more of headline!

  • Amy L

    I took a business communications class this summer an we’ve went over a lot of these topics during our class. Subject lines are always super tricky for me! Thanks for sharing these tips !!
    Amy | <a href="http://pastelnpink.com/">Pastel N Pink</a>

    • Thanks for reading Amy! So great that they actually started teaching this in some classes! I was so lost after college. I read through some old e-mail subject lines when I was entering grad school and the corporate world and shudder at myself!

  • angelica gill

    So cool, very nice post, and i learn a lot


  • Michaela Quigley

    Great tips!

  • Pick Your Beau

    This are such great tips for young professionals!

    <a href=“www.pickyourbeau.com">Pick Your Beau</a>

  • Jen Hayes

    Great tips! These are spot on! I especially find it frustrating when employees write emails that read like poorly proofread text messages. An office email should be professional!

    • Haha same Jen! Or the text smiley faces! It feels like my creepy uncle did it or something… just no. lol

  • Amanda Parker

    I really need to brush up on my email etiquette. I find it annoying when I get work emails sent to my personal email address as well. My personal time/email is MY time/space!

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 Stefanie O'Connell is a millennial finance expert and published author of "The Broke and Beautiful Life". Stefanie shares her advice for twenty somethings on finances and life. Before becoming a financial expert, Stefanie was an actress, and during the height of the recession circa 2009, Stefanie had a wake up call and decided her life had a new mission: #BreakingBroke. Since then she has been seen on countless publications and uses her experience and wisdom to inspire and educate others. - The Confused Millennial, Inspiring Millennials Series
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