How to conquer email- The greeting (part one)


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Welcome to part one of the greeting email series. Here we will give you a few ideas on how to start off on your email, we hope that you enjoy this read.

The Greeting

Starting off an email can be one of the hardest tasks of writing email. You know the content you want to include, but you just don’t know how to get started. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Essentially, there are two situations that we run into. We’re either going to be emailing someone we know or someone we don’t know. Both can be awkward, I mean most of the time we aren’t emailing our friends, right? The question then is how to get started?

Emailing Someone You Know

It is always easier to start with the more familiar. In my experience, emailing people I know makes up about ninety-percent of the emails I write. Whether I am sending a message to one of my professors or a group of people in a club I’m in or someone I’ve met a few times at business functions, there are some general practices that help.

  1. Start with Dear, Hi, Hello…

I wish this was more creative, but there really aren’t that many ways to start off an email. I like to throw in some “Good Mornings” when I compose emails, but that is about as crazy as it gets.

  1. Address the person as they wish to be called

There is nothing quite as annoying as someone not using your preferred name other than I guess forgetting your name all together. Anyway the point is, if you know someone pretty well call them by what they would like to be called. For example, Mr. Smith who has gone to your church forever has asked you to call him John. He’s also sent you an email and signed off as John. In this case, he has given you permission and wants you to call him something other than Mr. Smith so you should respect that.

On the fill side of that, the same logic applies to someone who wishes to be called Dr. Morgan instead of Professor Morgan. Generally, someone you are well acquainted with will make their request known, all you have to do is honor their request.

  1. You can be less formal, but still be professional

When you are writing an email to someone you know, especially if it is someone you know really well, you don’t have to be as formal. Consider starting your email with “Hi” but don’t overuse it. You even have the freedom to be a bit more casual in your opening with asking about your contact’s weekend or if they have seen that latest basketball game. For example:

Dear John,

How was your weekend? Did your family have a nice time at the lake? I am working on this project, and I would like your help…

Part two of this series will be on how to start off your email to someone that you do not know. We will be posting soon!

How to conquer email- series


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Welcome to the how to conquer emailing series. We will be posting a series of tips concerning different areas of emailing. We hope that you learn a few things from this.

Best Practices for Professional life

Email has quickly become one of the best ways to communicate in college and in the professional world. It seems simple, right? Wrong. For many of us, email is a source of major stress whether it comes from the sheer volume of emails we receive each day or the avoidable necessity to compose them more frequently than we want to. In today’s day in age, there really is no way to avoid checking or using email, so we might as well bite the bullet and learn how to become the best email-ers out there. After all, there are so many unwritten rules about how to format different types of emails, how often you should sign-off, how to write a concise email without coming across as rude, and much more.

In this mini-series, the best practices of email will be revealed. Several articles on The Muse, Forbes, and other major business publications have written articles about how to master email. We’re here to help you put your best foot forward as you leap into that first internship or land your first job. We’ll cover the infamous greeting, signature block, email request, difference between emails and texts, and other useful tips and tricks.

Be on the look out for the next email series.

Follow up with Etiquette Dinner

On Wednesday March 1st, the Etiquette Dinner took place in Maas Auditorium from 5:00pm-8:00pm. It was an extremely successful event and gave students, faculty, and staff the chance to learn about the proper rules concerning etiquette from communications professor and public speaker Rob Pocock . There were 61 students in attendance, some of whom, along with a few of the table hosts, were asked about their Etiquette Dinner experience.

Caitlin Lindman, a sophomore who attended the Etiquette Dinner stated that,

I liked the Etiquette Dinner because it was a nice chance to mingle with other students and professionals. The table conversations were great, and it was fun to learn about one another as well as learn about etiquette together. The setting allowed you to feel comfortable and not worry if you made a mistake.

She also learned that,

proper etiquette is not about following all the rules, but making everyone feel comfortable and welcome at the table. Rob Pocock shared a story about the Queen of England and how she brought a poor man to eat at her table as the honored guest. He didn’t know all the do’s and don’ts of table manners, but she was gracious and made him feel at home. For me, it’s easy to get caught up in the rules and forget why we have etiquette in the first place, so this was a nice refresher.

Mark Brice of Student Development was a table host for the event. When asked what he liked about the Etiquette Dinner, Mark stated,

It was wonderful to get to know current Hope students, talk about career aspirations, and to learn a little bit more about how to build connections with others during the job search process. Our table had a lot of fun making some mistakes and learning best practices regarding fine dining.

Etiquette Dinner also taught him that…

…spoons all go along the right side of the plate… even if there are three of them.

If you didn’t get the chance to go to the Etiquette Dinner this year, make sure that you sign up for it next year, as it is always second semester.

As one last etiquette tip taken from the booklet given to participants at the event, always remember to “be concerned with others and not just yourself. Learning other points of view naturally helps you get ahead.”

Networking with Alumni


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Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for. – Christine Comaford-Lynch


Research has found that in today’s workforce, 60-80% of the people found their jobs through networking. This fact alone should motivate all job-hunters to start making and utilizing their connections – they could help you land a job!

There are over 32,000 Hope College alumni across United States and 80 countries. As a Hope College student you have the amazing opportunity to network and connect with a number of alumni who have different backgrounds, experiences and are very willing to help you.

Connecting with the alum is a great way to learn more about the real world. You may have the opportunity to speak to people who are working in the fields you are interested in, connect with people personally who may be a stepping stone towards a potential job after you graduate.

So how does one go about networking? Here are some useful tips from the Career Development Center’s website to help you get started:

  1. When you’re networking, always look for the next step in gaining information about your field. When casually networking, ask for an informational interview.
    Most networking begins through casual conversation. Strike up a conversation with the people you meet in your normal routine — you never know who may have an aunt or a brother or a colleague in your field.
  2. Remember to use the informational interview as an opportunity to gather information and seek advice, not to ask outright for an internship or employment opportunity. It is often appropriate, however, to ask the person you speak with for advice on ways you might pursue employment or internship opportunities in your field of interest and give specifics about your search.
  3. Before you jump into this valuable exercise, you will need to have a solid understanding of who you are (self-assessment) and a basic understanding of your fields of interest (career exploration) in order to answer questions from the professionals you meet.


Megan Fisher is who you want to talk to at the Career Development Center if you are interested in networking. We asked why she thinks networking with alumni is important and this is what she had to say:

I have 3 key points for why networking with alumni is important:

  1. The majority of jobs within companies are not posted. Networking helps open doors to new opportunities.
  2. Networking helps you get insight into a specific job, company and industry.
  3. Networking with alumni helps you get your foot into the door as you tackle the job interview process.

Now that you know the importance of networking and a few ways to go about it, you can book an appointment with Megan Fisher and get started.

Life After College

Life. After. College.

These three little words hold a lot of weight for seniors, especially those who will be thrust into their reality in a few months. For some, these words are exciting, full of potential and opportunity. For others, these words are concerning, implying uncertainty and unknown territories. Some students feel a mix of the two reactions, a little anticipation swirled with a little fear. No matter what you feel when you hear the words “life after college,” we can work through it together in sharing and encouraging one another through a community of students, staff members, and Holland community members who either have dealt with these feelings before, or are currently working through them now.

This is where the Life After College series comes in.

This six week series covers a variety of topics in each two hour session. The last three sessions focus on Wisdom and the Word, Friends and Fiancés, and Financial Faithfulness. Soak in the advice our experienced leaders are willingly sharing and speak candidly about your own experiences in these areas.

Life After College is held on the first floor of the Martha Miller rotunda every Wednesday from 3:00pm-5:00pm and Thursday from 7:00pm-9:00pm.

Senior Sarah Carpenter comments on her experience with the series, saying,

“The Life After College series has opened my eyes to new ideas and perspectives for post-grad life. I’m excited to apply some of the concepts that I’ve learned into my vocational experiences after I graduate.”

Life after college is a reality we will all need to eventually face, so take advantage of this great opportunity to prepare you mind, heart, relationships, and wallet for that next step of adulthood!

Etiquette Dinner – Learning How to Pass the Plate

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“Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” ~Bill Kelly

Have you ever wondered how to act, what to wear, or which way to pass the salt when an employer takes you out for a meal? If you answered yes (or even no!) to this question, the Etiquette Dinner on Wednesday, March 1st is the event for you! It is put on by the Career Development Center and will be held in Maas Auditorium from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

This event will not only give you the opportunity to learn new etiquette skills, but will also give you the chance to network among your fellow students, faculty, and staff who attend the event.

Rob Pocock, a professor in the communications department, is the keynote speaker for the Etiquette Dinner. He specializes in public speaking and public relations and is also an etiquette expert. During the dinner portion of the event, the topics he will cover will range from how to set a table to the appropriate conversations you should be having while eating.

During the event a three course meal will be served – soup and salad, spaghetti, and dessert. We all know how hard spaghetti can be to eat, and it is for this reason that spaghetti is picked as the main course. If you can learn how to eat spaghetti gracefully, you can eat anything gracefully.  You will also get the opportunity to learn how to set up your own plate and cutlery. The Career Development Center hopes that you can take these important etiquette skills and apply them other places such as: dinner parties, weddings, job interviews, and even in every day life.

We asked Amy Freehaffer, one of the table hosts at last year’s etiquette dinner, to tell us about the event and why she thinks it is important for everyone to try and attend this event at least once throughout their four years. She commented,

This is one of the best events that we do for the students. It is very educational and you actually take what you learn and are able apply it in the real world. Rob Pocock makes this event fun and interesting and when you leave you will be able to feel more confident and comfortable in formal settings.

In today’s society you are expected to have proper etiquette however there is no one really teaching it anymore, so this is a great thing for students to participate in. As a table host I was able to use what I had previously learned from attending the previous etiquette dinner and help those around me, which is something students can do in the future after they attend this event. I also talked to the students around me and explained why in formal settings you should not be around your phone at all. I always learn something new at this dinner and I absolutely enjoy it, I recommend that everyone should attend it!

Again, the Etiquette Dinner is on Wednesday, March 1st in Maas Auditorium from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. We hope to see you there!

Meet the Writers: Nicole Mutua


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“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be” – Joyce Meyer

Hey, I’m Nicole Mutua and I am part of the blog team alongside two other amazing people. I would love to introduce myself to you….enjoy!


I am 20 years old, which I always manage to forget. I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya for 18 years of my life until I up and decided I wanted to go across the ocean and come to Holland, Michigan to study at Hope. Seeing as I had never lived away from my family, traveled by myself or ever been to the USA, it was a pretty radical move. I think it was a pretty good move for me because I have learned that I can survive on my own and I have grown a lot as a person

I am now a sophomore and I am double majoring in Psychology and Exercise Science on an Occupational Therapy track. One thing that I loved doing on campus was volunteering at CASA, I absolutely adore kids and its a fantastic way to give back to the community. My two favorite things to do are going to Mizu Sushi on Fridays with my friends and binge watching Netflix shows that have three or more seasons.

They are two things that I will definitely regret if I am not able to accomplish. You already know that I want to be an occupational therapist but what you do not know is that I want to specifically work with children, eventually I want to be able to go home and offer my services to those who cannot afford it. I dream of traveling the world, being able to visits at least 3 countries on each continent.

Now you know one of the people behind the blog a little bit better and I hope you enjoyed getting a little glimpse of me.