If you have an internet connection to read this blog, I assume you also have at least one email address. However, you may not use it to the fullest. Here are some tips to use email more effectively.

DO have a professional email address

130306_EQuest_053Make sure that you have at least one email address that is some combination of your first and last name. I would suggest doing this no later than your junior year in high school so you aren’t putting xxxPrInCeSs_SpArKlEs23xxx@hotmail.com on scholarship applications, résumés, college applications, or job applications. Having an ‘adult’ email address may seem boring, but it will be a lot less embarrassing in the long run.

DO check it regularly

Once you go to college, you will receive many important pieces of information by email. The financial aid office, your advisors, and your professors will probably not take ‘I didn’t check my email’ as an excuse for you missing an important deadline. Check your email every couple of days, and set up your smart phone to notify you of new emails if necessary.

DO reply in a timely manner

Some emails will require a response of some sort. Rather than just letting it sit in your inbox until you forget it, reply right away if possible. If you do not have enough time to send an adequate response immediately, send a quick reply stating that you received their email and you will respond to their request as soon as you can. This will let them know that their email didn’t get lost.

DO unsubscribe from promotion emails you don’t use regularly

It seems like every time I go shopping, I have at least one cashier asking for my email address so that the company can send me coupons. If you’re a braver person than me, say NO to these requests if you don’t plan on using their coupons regularly! Otherwise, just make sure you unsubscribe from any unwanted promotions or newsletters. Ask yourself if you’ve used or interacted with anything they’ve sent you in the past six months. If the answer is no, hit that unsubscribe button. Your inbox will thank you.

DON’T let your inbox get cluttered

Be ready to delete whenever you check your email. If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself these questions: Do I plan to reply to this email? Does this email contain important information that I will need later? Does this email have sentimental value? If your answer is no to all of those questions, delete, delete, delete!

DO check your junk mail

Although junk mail is a wonderful invention, it can also filter out an important email that you need. Check your junk mail once a week to make sure that it didn’t catch anything important.

DON’T reply to spam

I know it’s tempting to help that Nigerian prince with his money problems, but do NOT interact with spam emails. Do not click any links, do not provide any personal information, and do not reply. If a friend sends an email that seems ‘off’ in some way, contact them another way (text, Facebook, etc.) to see if they may have been hacked.

Email is an important way to communicate once you are out of high school, so maintaining a clean, regularly-checked inbox is essential. Do you have any more tips for organizing your email account? Leave them in the comments below!