When contacting a fellow employee or your boss in a work context, it is important not to make silly mistakes that imply unprofessionality or indifference to etiquette. You might be sending your cover letter to a potential employer, a thank you letter to a colleague who agreed to be a reference, or perhaps a resignation letter. They all should follow certain criteria. Read on to learn how to write and send a top-notch professional email message.
First, the subject line
Your subject line should be short and sweet and convey the purpose of your writing to this person. As a rule, the subject line shouldn’t start in on the meat of the email, it should be a sort of a primer for the person to know what they are in for, so to speak.
Now, a greeting
Even if you are writing a very short email, include a greeting. If you know the name of the person, include it. Unless you are on a first-name basis with the person, call them by their title.
Keep your email as concise as possible. People tend to skim long emails, so only include essential information.
Your font style
Avoid ornate or colored fonts; these simply distract the recipient from your actual message. Avoid overusing bold and italics as well, which make an email look cluttered. Do not write in all capital letters either; this comes across as angry or over-excited in email.
Do not include emoticons in a professional email; just don’t do it. No exceptions. Save those for personal correspondences.
Spelling and grammar
Just because you are writing an email does not mean that you should be sloppy about spelling and grammar. Edit your email carefully before sending it. An error-free message tells the recipient that your email should be taken seriously.
Sign off with a brief “Thank you,” “Best,” or another simple send-off, and then your name. Most email accounts let you embed a signature with your name, title, and contact information into every email. It is a terrific way to make each correspondence more professional.
Here are some additional tips, free of charge. Double check your message just to be perfectly positive that all these tips are accomplished. You might consider even sending a test email to yourself. Not only for records, but to see how it looks. Remember to check your email regularly. That is also part of being professional. Another tip. Some people recommend the “24-hour rule” when sending an important email because emailing is often done so quickly and without much thought. The “24-hour” rule basically consists of: 1) write it, 2) save it in drafts 3) and reread it in 24 hours before sending it off. Happy emailing!
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