In today's interconnected world, virtual communication is sometimes the only way to connect with others.
What is Netiquette?
The word “etiquette” refers to the rules of proper social or professional behavior. Denotes the proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.
When you add “internet” to “etiquette” you get “netiquette”, the guidelines for communicating online to reach meaningful and polite exchanges; from social media postings (e.g., on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc.) to more professional platforms and settings (e.g., LinkedIn, email communication with professionals, etc.).
For more information on netiquette, visit The Core Rules of Netiquette, excerpted from the book, Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.
Why is Netiquette Important?
How you communicate with others (in-person/virtually) shows a lot of who you are as a person and professional. In a virtual world, we typically communicate with others for the first time by e-mail (e.g., professors, instructors, advisors, and prospective employers). Good netiquette as a student and later as a DVM will help you start a good professional relationship with professors, potential employers, and, later, with your clients. Always be professional!
During your time at CVM, your official UA email will be the best way to communicate with your professors, staff, and other students. It will also be a great way to communicate with potential employers and professionals in the veterinary medicine field. Therefore, keep in mind the following information when writing your emails.
- Keep your email short
- You can be friendly and should always strive to maintain a professional relationship
- When reaching out to ask questions, ask yourself, “Have I tried finding the answer myself?”
- If you have a quick question, an email is a perfect way to get the answer but if you have several questions or circumstances that need to be addressed in different ways, requesting a meeting would be the most appropriate route; don’t forget to share your availability with the person you are contacting
- Use appropriate language; Remember, emails do NOT text messages (do not write “Hey, when r u free?”)
- Maintain the same standard of behavior and ethics that you would follow in a face-to-face context
- Be mindful of your tone and how that is conveyed in your writing style
- DO NOT USE ALL CAPS!
- Avoid coarse, rough, or rude language
- Observe good grammar and spelling
- For campus professionals (e.g., financial aid, bursar, etc.) you may include your SID number
- Be sure to state who you are, especially if you are reaching out to them for the first time
- Always include a subject line, ALWAYS!
- Use precise, concise, and descriptive phrases that tell the topic of the message
- Avoid using “URGENT!” in your subject line if the matter does not justify it (e.g., can’t meet application/homework/project deadline, can’t find a classroom, can’t make it to class, etc.). Note: If you have an emergency, please dial 911
- Use courtesy and address the person you are trying to reach (i.e., “Hi, Hello, Good morning/afternoon/evening, Dear”, etc.)
- When using titles, try to avoid Mr., Ms., and Mrs., and, if the person you are trying to reach has an academic degree or professional title, use that instead (e.g., Dear Dr., Prof., Dean, etc.)
- Look at their response to know how they would like to be addressed as
- f you still can’t find their titles, it is appropriate to use their first name
- Always use an email signature to let the person reading your email know a little about yourself
- What should you include in your email signature?
- First and Last Name
- Title and graduating class (i.e., DVM Candidate, Class of 2025)
- Institution and/or department (i.e., University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine)
- Email address and/or phone number (optional)
- Links to your LinkedIn page or other relevant sites (optional)
- A professional picture (optional)
- Your pronouns (optional)
- A notable achievement, award, club participation/role, etc. (optional)
- Always allow at least 24 hours (Monday – Friday) for a person to respond before following up or emailing someone else
- Most people on campus and in the industry deal with hundreds of students. Be patient!
- Did you get an automatic response email? Read it to see when the person you are trying to reach will be able to get back to you
- Did you get a response to your email? Great! Do not forget to respond and thank them for their time and for getting back to you
Social media has been a great way to bring together friends, family, and colleagues, as well as a channel to connect with new people. Nonetheless, keep in mind which platforms are used for professional content (i.e., LinkedIn) and which ones are for personal use (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) without forgetting that everything posted on all online platforms could get to potential employers.
Tips on how to keep social media professionalism:
- Be aware of your account privacy settings, especially the ones used for personal use
- If you would like to utilize platforms like Facebook or Instagram for professional networking, consider creating a separate account
- Join relevant social networking groups and take part in the online discussions
- Make grammar a priority
- Don’t post inappropriate photos, even if you make your account private, as Google images could pick them up and make your content available online
- Try not to post overly opinionated content, as it can offend potential employers and clients
LinkedIn is a professional networking website where you can display your work experiences, education, skills, and interests. It is also easy to communicate with colleagues, potential employers, and professionals to continue growing your professional network.
LinkedIn has become a popular platform for professionals to connect with other professionals and find job opportunities that are not listed elsewhere. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, sign up now! Visit LinkedIn to create your profile and start making connections.
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