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How to Appropriately Use Email Functions to Send an Effective Mail

Updated on Dec 07, 2020 10274 views
How to Appropriately Use Email Functions to Send an Effective Mail

Lesson 4: How to Appropriately Use Email Functions to Send an Effective Mail

Table of Contents 

1. Understanding the email interface

a. Inbox.

b. Message pane.

c. Compose pane.

2. Common email terms and actions

a. Learn more about the compose pane.

b. Learn more about the message pane.

Course Navigation

Go back to lesson 1 - Basic Email Etiquette for job seekers
Go back to lesson 2 - How to Apply for Jobs Using Email.
Go back to lesson 3 - Tips for Landing Your Dream Job with A cold Email.
Jump to lesson 5 - How to Recall/Replace an Email You Sent.


How to Appropriately Use Email Functions to Send an Effective Mail

Hi, welcome to lesson 4 of the Email Etiquette Course. Earlier in this course, we have looked at 3 lessons so far, all of which has taught you; how to create a professional email address, how to apply for a job using email, and how to land your dream job with cold email.

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to properly make use of some basic email functions.

If you have already set up an email account for yourself after reading the previous lessons, then you sure have done a great job.

After setting up an email account for yourself, the next thing is for you to learn how to interact with the email interface no matter the email service you choose to use.

In this lesson, we are going to talk about how you can interact with the email interface including the inbox pane, the message pane, and the compose pane. Depending on the email service that you use, it may feel and look different, but they all function the same way.

We are also going to discuss various terms, actions and features that are used when sending or receiving email messages.


job search book

Understanding the Email Interface

Once you log on to your email account, you will notice that there is a lot of text, icons, symbols, etc. Have you ever wondered what each of these may mean?

As small as any symbol may look, it sure means something and it is good you know what all the symbols mean so that you can learn how to use your email properly. First of all, we are going to be looking at the inbox.


Have you ever seen or heard the word inbox before? So, what is an inbox? An inbox is simply an electronic folder where you will see/view and manage emails that you receive. Emails that you receive in your inbox are usually listed with the name of the sender, the subject of the message and the date received.



The next thing we are going to be talking about on the email interface is the message pane. Once you select a particular email in the inbox it will open the message pane. Once the message pane opens, you can read the message and choose how to respond with a variety of commands.



The compose pane allows you to write/create a message. You can click on the compose or new button from your inbox to open the compose pane. From the compose button, you will need to enter the recipient’s email address and subject. You will also have the option to upload files (photos, documents, etc.) as attachments and you can also add some formatting to your message.  



A compose pane will open once you click on the forward or reply button. Once you click on forward or reply, the text from the original message will be copied into the compose pane.


Common Email Terms and Actions

Once you start using an email there are some terms and command that you will need to understand to send an effective email. In this lesson, we are going to be using Gmail’s compose and message pane to illustrate the common email terms and commands. This also applies to Yahoo! And Outlook

The image below will walk you through the compose pane, this will help you learn more about the compose pane.




The text and icons in red squares are the different terms and actions in the compose pane that you have to learn.

“To” field

Anytime you send a mail, you’ll have to add a recipient to the “To”: field. (Recipients are the people you are sending the mail to. You would need to type the email address for each recipient. You would often add recipient to the “To”: field, but you can also add recipients to the Cc: and Bcc: fields.


“Subject” Field

The subject field is important in the compose pane. The subject should say what the mail is about. Keep the subject brief, but it should give the recipients a reasonable idea of what the message is all about.


“Cc” Field

“Cc” stands for carbon copy. You can use this feature when you send a message to a recipient that is not in the main recipient. This feature allows you keep the person you copied in the loop of things while letting the person know that there is no need to reply to your message.


“Bcc Field”

“Bcc” stands for “blind carbon copy”. It works almost the same way as Cc except from the fact that the email addresses in the Bcc field are hidden. This feature is useful when emailing a very large number of recipients or when privacy is needed.


“The body”

The body is the text of the email. The body of the email is written normally just like you would write a letter (Start with a greeting, add one or more paragraphs and then close it with your name and or signature.


“The signature field”

You can decide to create a great signature that will tell the recipient more about what you do. Signatures usually include a name and contact information, like a phone number, website, or professional title.



“Formatting Options”

The formatting options allows you to change the look and feel of your message to suite your need. For example, you can change the font type, size, colour, as well as include links to your messages.


“Attachments option”

This option allows you to attach files along with your email message instead of having to work on the files directly in the body of the mail. If you have worked on a file previously, you can simply attach them along your mail. Click the attachment button/icon to add an attachment with the email.



Many email services or providers include graphic emoticons (which is largely known as emoji’s) that you can add to your messages. Emoticons or emoji’s help you express your mood and convey the actual tone of the message.

“Send button”

The send button allows you to send you message as soon as you are satisfied with it. Click the send button or icon to send your mail to the recipient.



Just like we have talked about the compose pane and it’s different features, it is also important for us to look at the email message pane and its different features.

To have a better grasp of the different features we are going to be looking at in the message pane, you can open your email account and then follow the description in the screen shot and texts below. The numbers below will help you understand the particular feature we are looking at, so that you can follow up accordingly.



“Navigation menu”_____ 1

Most email providers will provide you with a navigation menu regardless of the email service that you use. The navigation menu helps you navigate different services including your contact list, calendar and more.

“Account Picture” _____ 2

The section where you will see your account picture will allow you see some options. When you click on your picture like the one above, you will see a drop-down menu that will give you the option to do the following:

  • Manage your accounts: This allows you to manage your other email accounts
  • Add another account: If you have created a new account, you can add it here.
  • Sign out: You can sign out of your account or accounts by clicking on sign out.

“Compose” ______ 3

You can use the “compose” or “new” button to create a new message.


“Inbox” ______ 4

The inbox is where all your received messages will appear. Your unread messages will appear in bold fonts so that you can easily see them.

“Drafts” ______5

Drafts are simply messages that you have written or composed but yet to be sent. When you are composing a message, you can decide to save your message as draft and finish it later. Depending on the email service provider that you use, some will help you save your message as draft automatically.


“Spam” ______6

Spam emails are emails that are sent without explicit consent of the recipient, spam emails are often referred as junk emails. Many times, these email are trying to sell a product or are just deceitful. There are various reasons why you may get a spam mail:

  • Maybe your email address was exposed during a data leakage.
  • Your email address was harvested by someone using a specialized tool.
  • Your email must have been stolen from someone’s contact list.
  • Maybe your email was randomly crafted.

Some spam emails are scam and they often carry viruses, so you may not want to read these messages. Your email provider will usually filter suspicious emails to the spam folder. If for any reason you receive a spam email in your inbox, you can always move it to the spam folder, which will help your email provider filter these message in the future.


“Trash” _______7

Just like the name sounds, trash allows you delete emails from your inbox by moving the emails to trash. Messages in the trash can be retrieved for a short time. Emails in the trash will get permanently deleted after a certain amount of time.

Some email providers like Gmail will allow you to archive your messages which moves your emails from the inbox and does not delete them.


Sometimes, when you open an email, you may see the option to: Click here to Reply, Reply to All or Forward. Now, let’s take them one after the other:



Anytime you receive an email, you can use the Reply command to respond to the message. The compose pane will show with the text of the original message copied into the body of the mail. The Reply command also allows you to reply to the person that sent the mail rather than everyone that was copied in the email.

“Reply to All”

This command always appear when you receive an email that is not only sent to you but several other recipients. When responding to an email that is not addressed to only you, you have to read the content of the email carefully to decide whether you want to reply to the original sender or all the recipients.

Many job seekers use the Reply All when they mean to just reply the original sender of the email.


The forward command is used when you want to share an email that you have just received with someone else. Instead of copying the content of the email into the compose pane, you can simply click on the forward button and insert the recipient’s email address.  


Once you understand the basic email functions and how to use them, then you are sure on your way to sending and responding to emails effectively.

The way you send and respond to emails can either make or mar your job search efforts.

This simply means that the better you understand basic email features and interface the easier it will be for you to search for and respond to job offers using your emails.

Hope you learned from this lesson, click previous to read the previous lesson and next to read the next lesson.








Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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