8 Keys to writing a professional email

September 5, 2018

Last updated:

It’s important that your professional emails are clear and succinct. This is true whether you’re writing to a potential employer, co-worker, or client. A lot of communication is happening via email, often resulting in overstuffed inboxes. To make a good impression and get the response you need, take time to craft an effective message.

A good, professional email should have the following elements:

Clear, Descriptive Subject line

Write a direct and concise subject line that defines the purpose of your email. Examples include “Thank you for the interview,” “Follow-up items from yesterday’s meeting,” or “Application for [position name] – [your name].” A useful subject line will help your recipient find and focus on your email within their very full inbox.

Greeting

Greet the recipient by their first name and in a friendly manner. For instance, “Hi Susie” or “Good morning Susie”. It’s rare to address anyone as Mr. or Ms.

Introduction

If you’ve never communicated with the recipient before, introduce yourself in one sentence. If you do know the person, you can include a brief pleasantry. For example, “Thank you for your help with the xyz project,” or “I enjoyed speaking with you yesterday.” But you should keep this short so that you get to the point of your message quickly.

Body

Next, communicate your purpose clearly and concisely. Define your purpose and any actions you are requesting from the recipient as early in the email as possible. Then include any important supporting information, such as the timeframe you need a task completed by.

Make sure you break apart your paragraphs for easy reading. If possible, break apart action items or key pieces of information into bullets. You want to make the email as easy to read as possible while ensuring action.

Closing

Before you end your message, include a sentence expressing thanks or opening the door for any questions. Say something like, “Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions,” or “Thank you for your help.”

Ending

As with the greeting, your ending can be informal. The safest ending is just “Best”. A more formal ending would be “Sincerely” or “Respectfully” but these are only used in very formal communications.

Signature

And last but not least, the signature. Always add a signature at the end of your email with your name, company, title, and phone number so the person can easily search for you and get your information.

And one more thing…

Proofread, proofread, proofread!! You don’t want a perfectly worded and formatted email ruined with grammatical errors. There are many softwares and websites that can do this for you so this one should be a piece of cake (but still important!)

And with that, you are now ready to go out and send all the most well-crafted and professional emails.

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