7 common email mistakes to avoid

As an intern, it’s important to practice clear and professional communication in the workplace. Regardless of your industry or academic background, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to write emails during your internship. Whether you’re responding to a colleague, updating your supervisor, or reaching out to a client, it’s important to avoid some of the most common email mistakes.

Before you sit down to write out your next message, make sure you also have time to do a quick review before sending it. A final review will only take a few minutes, and can help to ensure your messages are clear, correct and professional.


common email mistakes

Here are 7 common email mistakes to look out for during your internship:

1. Spelling and grammar

Correct spelling and proper grammar are the first things you should look for in every message you send. Unfortunately, one of the most common email mistakes people make in the office is misspelling. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a grammar whiz to write a professional email. Read it through a few times before sending, and make use of the spellcheck function.

2. Using emojis

While it might be tempting to add smiley faces and other characters into your emails to emphasize a point, it’s best to avoid them in a professional setting. Skip these all together when writing emails to managers or clients. However, keep in mind that the same etiquette doesn’t necessarily apply to instant messaging platforms such as IM or Slack.

3. Excessive exclamation points

Few things make an email seem less professional than using lots of exclamation points. No matter how emphatic your statement, consider carefully whether an exclamation point is the right choice. Exclamation points are frequently over used, and can serve to detract from the importance of your message.

4. Missing signature

Setting a professional signature for the end of your work emails is particularly important when you’re emailing someone for the first time. Your signature tells the recipient a little bit about you, such as your position and additional contact information. In many cases, it also adds a level of legitimacy to your email, as signatures generally include the company logo.


common email mistakes

5. Hitting “reply all”

Hitting “reply all” on a message that should have had a specific recipient is an easy mistake to make. For obvious reasons, replying to the wrong people can cause issues in the workplace, and result in excessively long email chains.

6. Silence

Another common email mistake is silence. This is one that is very easy to make, because you might not always think or remember to respond to a received message. However, in most cases, it’s more polite to respond, even just to confirm that you received the message. A lack of response might be interpreted as rude or unprofessional.

7. Relevant subject line

The subject line is the first part of your email that the recipient will see. For many busy professionals, an email inbox is constantly full. A relevant subject line tells them exactly what you’re writing about, and how important the message is. Subject lines are particularly important when you’re writing to someone you don’t frequently correspond with, and might not recognize your email address.

Learn more professional development tips like these common email mistakes and more by applying now for our international internship program!






1. woman on laptop, by MadFishDigital, CC BY 2.0

2. wocintech (microsoft) – 93, WOC in tech chat, CC BY 2.0

3. Frau arbeitet am Notebook, by Marco Verch, CC BY 2.0



The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Maeve Allsup

Originally from Colorado, Maeve currently lives in Santiago Chile, where she writes about travel and professional development for The Intern Group. She studied International Relations and Communications at American University and loves travel, hiking and all things outdoors.
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