Top 10 Communication Tips 2011 – #1

We do our best to keep up with the volume of inquires our office receives but the reality is that size of our staff and the number of inquiries/applications makes it hard to keep up.  In past years the blog has featured a top 10 list with the intent of helping applicants receive the most efficient service possible from our office.  We know you want answers quickly and we want to do everything in our power to make that possible.

Each year this list is updated in an effort to make communication with our office as easy and efficient as possible.  10 entries will be featured over the next couple of weeks and then compiled into a single entry for easy reference.

In reviewing all of the entries please understand this is not an attempt to  dissuade you from contacting our office, rather the hope is to provide information that will allow you to receive a response as soon as possible and avoid delays.

Number 1 – Always use the same email address when communicating with our office – this includes the email you use when you start your application. In addition we recommend NOT using an employer email address and always including your email address in the signature of your message (below your name).

It is common for people to have at least three email addresses:  personal, work, and school (e.g. an alumni account).

We highly recommend that you pick one email address and use it for your application and all communications with our office.  Doing so helps us to research your situation in the quickest and most comprehensive manner possible.  With several thousand people applying, just finding someone’s record can be a challenge.

The first thing I do when I start to research an applicant’s inquiry or question is to plop the email address into my search bar.  If all of the emails are from the same account the process is greatly simplified.

Also, I cannot tell you how often applicants email our office with a question and use a different address than the one on their application.  When looking someone up in our system  I do so by email address.  Thus if you email with a different address than the one you used when applying it takes much longer to pull up the appropriate application record.

From personal experience I recommend against using an employer email address. The primary reason is that if you are admitted to SIPA you are going to leave your employer and your email account will be terminated.  Using your personal email address will avoid complications that can arise when you might request an email address change.  While it is possible to update your email we have several software systems so it can take time and possibly lead to missed communications.

Do not be tempted to use an email address that you think will impress us.  For example you might feel that you should use your work email address because the company name is “impressive.”  Please use the email address that you consider to be your permanent address and one that you check frequently.  It is far less impressive to have to amend your record in our systems over time – consistency is what impresses us.  Plus, we will see your employment history in your resume.

The following are two bonus tips.

First, please include your email address in the body of your email – for example below your name (an email signature with your email address included is highly recommended).  Sometimes emails get forwarded to other parties and only the body gets sent along.  If I just get the body and the header is left off, we have no email address to respond to and this leads to delays while we try to track down email contact information.

From my experience this is a very common problem when people forward me emails from their Blackberry or mobile phone.  I cannot tell you the number of times a SIPA faculty or staff member has forwarded me a message and there is no visible email address.  So, just to make sure, I recommend setting up an email signature that includes your full email address.

Second, make sure to check your junk mail box every now and then.  Every once in a while someone will send me a message and it will inexplicably end up in my junk email.  I recommended that you add our email address to your “approved sender” list and check your junk mail every once in while to ensure our messages are not being sent to where you will not be able to view them in a timely fashion.