It is that time of the year, camp directors around the country are interviewing staff. I hire over 125 staff members each summer which translates into even more applicants. As communication has moved almost exclusively online, I am running into problems dealing with young people and their poor understanding of e-mail communication. They lack perspective on what it is like to be a camp director getting e-mail from parents, staff, vendors, co-workers, etc. Yet their job this summer rests on them having good e-mail communication skills or they will be lost in the shuffle. Let’s face it, getting into college will be no different.
Here are my tips based on what makes me the craziest:
1) Use and e-mail address with your name: firstname.lastname@example.org NOT email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only is it more professional, it will help me find you when I search for you in the mass of e-mails I already have.
2) When you hit reply, include the message that I sent you. It will help me know what the heck you are replying to.
3) Sign your e-mail! I get e-mail from people with questions and I have no idea who they are. Put your name, e-mail address, and phone number at the bottom of every message.
4) Do not have your parents write to me! This is your job not theirs. If I am going to even consider letting you be slightly responsible for other people’s children I have to know you can make it through this process without a parent. You cannot bring them to work. I know they want to help but unless THEY are applying for a job I don’t want to hear from them.
5) Use a good subject line. If you are replying to an e-mail I sent – it is fine to leave the subject line I put in place. If you are crafting your own e-mail, make sure the subject line is informative. If it does not look like something I need to read it may get deleted.
Here is a great article on mastering e-mail overload with some additional tips.
Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload, Harvard Business Review
What tips do you have?