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Emails are one of the most common forms of communication these days, especially in business. Whether you’re sending correspondence about a job prospect, a business recommendation, or some other business matter, email provides a quick method to get the message to the recipient – so writing a professional email message matters.
Simply using the proper email format can help get your email the attention it deserves. And, as you know, many emails land in people’s inboxes today, so you need to ensure yours doesn’t get ignored due to poor format, style or content. You can ensure that your email is up to par and ready to send with the following steps and example email.
Every 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 get the reader’s attention, they may not open the email. Also, if you use a subject line that sounds too much like clickbait, the email might get marked as spam. The best method for writing a subject line is simply stating the reason for the email.
Here are some examples:
The salutation is simply your greeting. If you know the person’s name and are writing a business email, you should use a formal salutation, such as “Dear [name].” If you don’t know the name of the person you need to contact, you can research to find out or write, “To whom it may concern.”
The body of your email will be made up of one to three paragraphs following your greeting. You should follow a format to make it easier for the reader to quickly understand the email.
Begin by introducing yourself, who referred you, how you know the person, or how you came to know about the company/person. State your purpose upfront, then expand in a concise way. Wrap up with a “thank you” at the end.
The closing section can consist of a few words or a couple of sentences. It usually is a simple word or line that concludes your email and expresses thanks. Some brief and longer examples include:
Your email signature is your typed first and last name, followed by your company name, if applicable, on the next line. Also, it’s optional to put a business phone number on the third line.
These tips can get your email writing off to a good start:
It’s 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 should be more formal or casual. It can guide you in your salutation and how you present your information. If you know a person you’re emailing is an extremely busy individual, you may be able to make things easier by sending necessary attachments for their review.
No one expects to read a two-page email. In fact, the more concise and brief your email is, the better chances you have of the person reading it in its entirety. Get right to the point and don’t get sidetracked on unrelated topics.
If your email will be a bit longer than expected, make it easy to digest by making it scannable. You can accomplish this by ensuring that you use small paragraphs, bullet points if possible, and highlight critical information.
Don’t be vague or talk 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 all the details of where they need to send the letter.
In addition to being courteous and addressing the recipient properly, you should give some thought to when you send your email. Although it’s not the same as a text message, you don’t want to send one in the late hours of the night, on weekends, or on popular holidays. Instead, treat the communication like 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 catch mistakes, do so. You can use apps like Grammarly that work across your other apps to check for errors.
Here is a sample email message:
Subject: Inquiry About Job Opportunities – 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, a RMG employee, told me about a company culture that promotes work-life balance while still encouraging personal growth.
I wonder if you have any available positions for a hard-working professional with skills in content marketing, on-page SEO, and brand strategy honed through the private sector and educational training. I will receive my MBA from the University of Michigan in June 2022. I’d love to meet with you to discuss how my skill set could benefit your company.
I’ve attached my resume for your review and I’m available for any additional information you may need. I look forward to speaking with you and learning more about your company. You may reach me at 555-234-5678.