What to Write (and Avoid) in Work Emails to Advance Your Career

I was honored to be quoted recently by Daniel Bortz, a contributor to Monster.com, in13 things you should never write in a work email.”

Ah, the many thoughts and human interchanges that should never be reduced to email, and the myriad of ways you can be too casual (or not enough). Bortz captures a good many of them in his article.

Woman typing on laptop at workplace working in home office hand keyboard.

Conducting the interview for Bortz’s article, and reading it in print, brought me back to my former life as an attorney. At one point, I was tasked with reviewing a large set office correspondence. I skimmed through tons of emails. Thousands, in fact.

While the vast majority were innocuous – as boring as a string of indecisive lunch plans – I saw firsthand more than once how damaging certain private exchanges could be if they ever saw the light of day. 

A quick and poorly thought (or worded) email can do a lot of damage, while a strategic one can enhance your credibility and grow your career.

Bortz is not the first, nor will he be the last, to sound the alarm on the damage – indeed, at times, the unending vortex of negative results – that a quick and poorly thought (or worded) email can do. 

On the other hand, the goal with email is not only to avoid the downsides, but also to communicate, inviting others to respond and take action. So after you check out what to avoid in Bortz’s article, you can read what to include in mine: Four Steps to Creating Emails that Prompt Action and Get Results.

Anne Marie Segal 2019 Web Image Square #2 Copyright Barragan
Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author and resume writer. She works with executives, senior attorneys and other leaders to clarify and heighten their personal branding, increase their impact and accelerate professional goals such as Board or C-Suite candidacy, other leadership advancement, career pivots and job transitions.

Image above: Adobe Stock.
Image at left: © 2019 Alejandro Barragan IV. All rights reserved.

 

April and May 2019: Upcoming Events at Segal Coaching LLC

Teamwork

Thanks to those who joined the webinar I presented to The University of Chicago Alumni Association webinar. Here are the slides and replay, if you missed it or would like to review parts or all of the presentation.

If you are seeking out Board positions, straddling between multiple audiences or currently unemployed, check out the Q&A at the end of the webinar.

Here are some upcoming workshops, webinars and events in April and May 2019. Please click through each link for more information, and you may email any questions to knowyourself@segalcoaching.com.

Workshops

Leveraging LinkedIn®: One-Day Workshop

Friday, April 12, 2019

A unique feature of this collaborative workshop is the opportunity for group feedback on your writing efforts to further develop your ideas.

network abstract

Webinars

From Scratch to Finish: Crafting a Compelling LinkedIn® Profile

Multiple Dates: Tuesdays, April 9, 16 and 23, 2019

Getting More Mileage Out of the LinkedIn® Platform

Multiple Dates: Tuesdays, May 7, 14 and 21, 2019


Anne Marie Segal, executive coach and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expertwill guide the workshop and webinars with content-rich handouts and real-time advice. Her clients are executives, attorneys and board candidates,and she has written and reviewed hundreds of LinkedIn profiles.

Her recent Forbes article, “15 Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile,” is available here.


Photography Event

LinkedIn Headshot Photography Sessions

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Held in collaboration with the photographer, Alejandro Barragan IV.

Images above: Adobe Images.

 

 

Want to Know More About LinkedIn®? For UChicago Alumni and Guests: Webinar on Thursday, March 14, 2019

Is LinkedIn a platform that you want to make work for you, but you haven’t had time to figure out how to do that?

Do you struggle to write your LinkedIn profile?

Are you worried that you may be missing opportunities because you are not more active on LinkedIn?

Do you want to know how recruiters use LinkedIn’s powerful search features, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Asian businesswoman in formal suit working with computer laptop for Polygonal brain shape of an artificial intelligence with various icon of smart city Internet of Things, AI and business IOT concept


UCHICAGO WEBINAR

If you want to get up to speed quickly on a range of topics related to LinkedIn, I am presenting a one-hour webinar this Thursday, March 14, 2019, for The University of Chicago’s Alumni Association.

It’s called LinkedIn for Job Search, Networking and Career Building, and it’s free for UChicago alumni and invited guests (including you!) with the link.

Thursday, March 14, 2019
12:00 pm CST
Cost: Free

MindYourCareer_WebinarSeries

 

LinkedIn is simply the most powerful online tool for job search and career building today, and it keeps evolving. In this webinar, executive coach and writer Anne Marie Segal discusses how to build your credibility and opportunities on LinkedIn, including profile writing styles, job search tools and tactics, networking strategies, thought leadership and profile optimization in the age of artificial intelligence.

This hands-on presentation includes content-rich slides and handouts to illustrate advanced functionality and help you leverage the LinkedIn platform to move your career forward.

For more information or to register, click HERE.


MORE WORKSHOPS AND WEBINARS

For more workshops and webinars by Segal Coaching LLC, please visit: annemariesegal.com/seminars.

To view prior UChicago webinars, please click on one of the videos below:

 

 

First image above: Adobe Images.

Mind Your Career logo: copyright 2019 The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

I “Passed” My Kirkus Review! Master the Interview by Anne Marie Segal

Kirkus Reviews
“The most trusted voice in book reviews since 1933”

As an indie author, when you submit your book to Kirkus Reviews, you hold your breath waiting to hear what they will write. They are not the only voice, but they are quite an important one! Fortunately, I have good news to report! 

book-cover-design-front

Here’s what the Kirkus reviewer wrote about Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals:

“….integrating open-ended questions and self-assessment exercises into each chapter… is probably the strongest aspect of the book…”

“…a particularly helpful chapter discusses how to answer the toughest ones, such as ‘What are your weaknesses?’”

“One of the more valuable chapters steps through ‘nine common blocks’ and how to overcome them…”

“Throughout this book, Segal consistently offers positive, uplifting guidance while adopting an objective yet empathetic tone.”

“A self-directed, interactive manual that should benefit experienced and new job-seekers alike.”

To read the full review, please click here or visit: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/anne-marie-segal/master-interview.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, writer, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

Webinar Replay: Solve Your 20 Top Resume Challenges!

Thanks to those who attended my webinar today on 20 Top Resume Challenges. In this short half-hour course, I give you an overview of the major points you need to know to write a modern resume.

Here is the replay, and the slide deck and related Forbes article are referenced in the YouTube description.

Stop fighting. Start writing!

Image credit: Adobe Image

Writing a Book: What It’s Really Like

What started as a kernel of an idea six months ago – and was only 20 pages in late April of this year – will be a 220-page book on Amazon in a matter of days (or even hours).

I have had many friends, clients and other ask what it is really like to write a book. My answer here tends to describe the non-fiction world rather than how it would be to draft a novel or other fictional account.

shutterstock_275161592-book-writing

It is amazing, first of all. Truly breathtaking. If you like to write, it is like eating all the ice cream you ever wanted and never getting full. For anyone who has ever wanted to write a book, I highly recommend it IF –

you are willing to devote countless hours of your life and will feel energized that you did so.

Here’s only a partial shot of the number of drafts that I made over the course of writing Master the Interview. In addition to writing and revisions, there is quote-checking. And, if you are publishing it yourself, you need to leave time for cover design, interior formatting, title selection (and vetting), image selection (and more vetting), back-of-book blurb drafting and more. And did I mention tons of copyediting, unless you have someone you really trust to do it for you? Heck, I even learned how to code very basic HTML today to format the descriptions in my e-Store. [Update: I decided not to use the e-Store, because the minimum price of the book (that Amazon allows) would have been higher than I wanted. It will be priced at $19.99.]

interview-book-files
I saved dozens upon dozens of versions to not lose work and keep my momentum. I edited constantly in the final days before finishing the book, even while I was waiting for the car battery to be jumped by roadside assistance on a trip to Annapolis.

In other words, the writing is only one part of it, and unless you have someone (or want to pay, or get lucky to find a publisher) to do the rest, get ready to put in countless hours.

I self-published this time because I wanted to understand everything that went into the process. I am taking a risk. I know some people won’t buy my book because it doesn’t have a big name attached to it. Many more will, however, make the judgment based on the quality that lies within.

As an entrepreneur, I know that writing is an essential part of thought leadership, and I couldn’t wait to get my ideas out there. In addition, as a career coach, this book is directed to my clients first, as it will facilitate our work together. Those two factors played into my decision, and were it not for that, I may have gone the traditional route from the beginning, even if it meant that publishing would take longer and I would have less control over the outcome of the book.

Will I self-publish again?

Hard to say. This investment has certainly made me more nimble. I see documents in an entirely different light. The first time clearly must be the hardest, and now that I am over that hurdle, the learning curve will be easy. So maybe. It depends on what the traditional publishers offer, I suppose, based on the track record that I am able to develop this time around.

One of the things I learned most was to see the book as a BOOK and not a scattered selection of writings bound together with a cover on them. This was a huge disruption in my prior way of thinking and the only way I successfully brought the project to the finish line.

I used the function in Microsoft Word that lets you see multiple pages at once quite often, and I got used to looking at chapters in a new way. It’s essentially the 10,000 foot view, which helps you step back from your material. Not only do you see what you have written with a more detached perspective, but you also gain an entirely new sense of flow and clarity in your writing.

Two more great lessons from this experience were (1) putting words down onto the page, which forced me to have even greater conviction about what I was writing and (2) having the opportunity to receive direct input and suggestions from 50+ expert and industry sources and revise my thoughts and words based on that input. In that sense, the time I have spent on this project has paid me back tenfold already, regardless of how many copies are sold or other good things come out of having done it.

the-birds-eye-view
Here’s the bird’s eye view of editing your own work and seeing your book as a BOOK.

I am sure that I will have more to say in the future about book-writing. For now, here are my initial impressions in the final stages of publishing.

Last but not least, if anyone is considering writing a book themselves and wanted to know how to manage their time to do it, I would suggest creating a schedule with an end date (and finding a way to make it seem “real”). Then back up to the current date and plan out each step that needs to be done. For me, I first started writing a 20-page version, then I got my Table of Contents going, then I wrote more and went back to the Table of Contents. I continued this back-and-forth until the content was over 80% done.

Having a solid Table of Contents was absolutely key to organizing and completing the book.

I must have rewritten and proofed this book at least 20 times, and some parts needed more work than others. I also wrote a few chapters which did not make it into the final book. I estimate that, altogether, I spent 500 hours on this project over a half year of writing, so I spent 20 hours a week on average. It occupied my brain for many more. I expect that a second book will take less time, as I am sure that I did “heavy lifting” many times where none was needed.

How do you fit an extra 20 hours into your week? Early mornings, late nights, writing on weekends and generally prioritizing your writing above anything that is not truly necessary. Some weeks I wrote more, and other weeks I wrote less. The alternative is to spread everything out over a longer period of time – and I had initially budgeted 12 months instead of 6 months for this project – but I can tell you that writing is nothing if not addictive! Once you get into the thick of it, you may not want to put it down.

Thanks, all!

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, writer and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. Her new book, Master the Interview, is forthcoming on Amazon.com. For more information about Anne Marie’s coaching and resume writing work, please visit www.segalcoaching.com.

 

 

Leveraging the Pokémon Go Trend: Do It or Don’t Do It?

Young woman listening to music and walking along the street
Does she love the song or did she just find a PokéStop?

Pokémon Go

Can you ride the trend and retain your authenticity?

You can barely open a web browser without reading an article about Pokémon Go. In so-called breaking news, we hear reports of Pokémon Go breaking Apple download records, an inadvertent Canadian border crossing by teens playing Pokémon Go, police safety tips, and even the furrowed brows of Pokémon Go players in a border town near North Korea. Facebook carries Pokémon Go parodies, my favorite being Dena Blizzard’s Chardonnay Go, which has been viewed over 22 million times.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it depends whether you are someone who is more likely to use the app or write about it. If you are on the hunt, it means that you’re wrapped up in the latest craze just like many others, whether or not you actually derive joy from it. (And hopefully you do, since those hours in the day are yours to love or waste!)

Should you jump on the latest fad?

Businesswoman looking at phone while walking.
Where will our devices lead us next?

If you are involved with marketing and social media, the common wisdom is that you should post and tweet about trending topics such as Pokémon Go because this is what everyone is talking about. It makes you sound current. You turn up in searches. People devour news about Pokémon Go and drive hits to your site. In short, done well, it can provide a boost to your group of readers or followers because they find you (first of all) and, once you’re found, find what you are saying relevant.

You know instinctively, however, that if you aren’t careful, leveraging the latest fad can also make you sound like a parrot. So you should not simply find what is popular in the news and blast it out to your networks. What we hate most as readers is how the media, many Internet sites and others simply repeat the same news over and over, without any thought into what they are reporting or writing. As a participant in the online conversation, you need to add your voice, or you risk losing it. Leverage, yes, but artfully and with a purpose that is greater than self-promotion.

Your own voice must shine through. You risk losing your readership by parroting others rather than adding value.

What can you add to the conversation?

If you are someone who is working to be savvy about how social media can help you communicate your value proposition, you need to view yourself from the perspective of those with whom you are communicating. You will be most successful if you can determine how the latest news topics – Pokémon Go and otherwise – and other subjects can help demonstrate what you offer to your target audience. How can you dissect or elucidate a relevant topic in a way that resonates with your readers (and, in a business context, your clients) and brings them value?

Used strategically and thoughtfully, adding some popular culture to your communications will make your own message not only appear more relevant but actually be more meaningful to your audience. 

This strategy works for anyone, whether you are an app designer, CEO, journalist or corporate lawyer. A dry article about the legal implications of Pokémon Go will not garner a wide audience, of course, but quotes from a privacy expert on a hip Internet site certainly can. Used strategically and thoughtfully, adding some popular culture to your communications – i.e, discussing the things people love, fear, share and want to read in their leisure time – will make your own message not only appear more relevant but actually be more meaningful to your audience. 

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She is currently completing her first book, on job interviews, which will be available in early 2017. To join her monthly newsletter list and receive a preview of the chapter on value propositions, please click here and write “Book Preview” in the comments section.

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.
Image from Adobe Images.