Writing a professional email
Emails are one of the most common forms of communication these days, especially in business. Whether you are sending correspondence regarding a job prospect, a business referral, or any other business matter, email provides a quick method of getting the message to the recipient. It is therefore important to write a professional email message.
Just using the right email format can help you get your email the attention it deserves. And, as you know, many emails are reaching people’s inboxes today, so you need to make sure yours won’t be ignored because of a format, style, or… poor content. You can make sure your email is up to date and ready to send with the following steps and a sample email.
Components and format of an electronic message
Each email message has a specific format, which is as follows:
The subject line is one of the most important parts of your email message because it’s the first thing the recipient will see. If it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, they may not open the email. Also, if you use a subject line that looks too much like a clickbait, the email may be marked as spam. The best way to write a subject line is to simply state the reason for the email.
Here are some examples:
- Commercial reference request
- Referenced by [Name] for a business meeting
- Information interview request
The greeting is simply your greeting. If you know the person’s name and are writing a professional email, you should use a formal greeting, such as “Dear [name].” If you do not know the name of the person you need to contact, you can do a search to find out or write: “To whom it may concern”.
The body of the text
The body of your email will consist of one to three paragraphs following your greeting. You should follow a format to allow the reader to quickly understand the email.
Start by introducing yourself, who referred you, how you know the person or how you found out about the company/person. State your goal upfront, then expand on it concisely. Conclude with a “thank you” at the end.
The final section can consist of a few words or a few sentences. This is usually a single word or line that concludes your email and expresses your thanks. Here are some brief and longer examples:
- I hope to hear from you soon about our meeting. Thanks again.
- Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I hope we can meet soon.
Your email signature is your entered first and last name, followed by your company name, if applicable, on the next line. Also, it is optional to put a business phone number on the third line.
Tips for writing a successful email
These tips can help you get started on writing your emails:
Target the reader
It is important to know who you are addressing in your email. Knowing your target audience can help you set the tone for your email, whether it’s more formal or casual. It can guide you in your greeting and the way you present your information. If you know that someone you’re emailing is extremely busy, you might be able to make things easier by sending them the attachments they need to review.
Use the correct length
No one expects to read a two-page email. In fact, the more concise and brief your email is, the more likely you are that the person will read it in full. Get straight to the point and don’t get distracted by unrelated topics.
Make content scannable
If your email will be a little longer than expected, make it easy to digest by making it scannable. You can achieve this by making sure to use small paragraphs, bullet points where possible, and highlight critical information.
Don’t be vague or speak in generalities. Instead, give specific details about why you’re writing, what you hope to accomplish, what you want or need from the reader. The recipient will appreciate knowing the exact details of what is expected of them. For example, if you want them to write a business recommendation letter for you, be sure to include full details of where they should send the letter.
Use email etiquette
In addition to being courteous and addressing the recipient correctly, you need to think carefully when sending your email. While it’s not the same as a text message, you don’t want to send one late at night, on weekends, or on popular holidays. Instead, treat the communication as a phone call and send it during normal business hours.
This should go without saying, but be sure to proofread your email before hitting “send”. If printing it out helps you spot errors, do so. You can use apps like Grammarly that work with your other apps to check for errors.
Sample email message
Here is an example of an email message:
Subject: Employment Opportunity Survey – Beth Columbus
Dear Dr Stone,
The Richter Marketing Group is considered one of the best places to work in the United States. Your company’s commitment to providing employees with a flexible workplace is well known. I appreciate what my friend, Richard Jones, an RMG employee, told me about a company culture that promotes work-life balance while encouraging personal growth.
I wonder if you have any positions available for a hard-working professional with content marketing, on-page SEO, and branding skills honed through private industry and educational training. I will be receiving my MBA from the University of Michigan in June 2022. I would like to meet with you to discuss how my skills could benefit your business.
I have attached my resume for your review and am available for any additional information you may require. I look forward to speaking with you and learning more about your business. You can reach me at 555-234-5678.