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How to Write a Professional Email

Email is a primary mode of communication in the professional world because of its speed and efficiency. While many people are familiar with the basics of email, there are some aspects of professional emails that not everyone practices. Perfecting these aspects of your emails can help you stand out in any work or formal environment and help present yourself in a desirable way to colleagues or employers. There are many areas to improve in order to write an effective email such as: the subject line, grammar and language, and a complete signature.

1. Identify the Purpose of the Email and Write a Strong Subject Line

It is important to be aware of what you hope to achieve from any given email exchange before writing it. Whether you are writing a follow up to a meeting or networking with alumni or future employers, a good subject line can make all the difference. While it should be short and concise, a subject line should also be direct enough to catch the attention of the recipient. Try keeping the subject line to about five words with the most relevant words toward the beginning to increase visibility.

2. Identify the Recipient

While this is an obvious piece of information to be aware of, being aware of your recipient also includes who else should be included in the chain. For example, say you have been referred by an acquaintance to someone they know that you want to reach out to in order to seek out advice or to network. That email should obviously include your address to the new contact, but you shouldn’t forget to mention the acquaintance in the Cc line, as well as in the email, to identify how you found them. Cc is used when sending an email to someone who is being mentioned but is not a recipient, and Bcc is used to anonymously include recipients in an email so that they don’t see each other. This is generally used when sending an email to multiple people who might not know each other yet to protect their privacy.

3. Use Proper Grammar

When sending emails in a professional setting, there is a certain level of formality that is required. It is generally a good idea to avoid abbreviations or slang, as well as colored or exaggerated text fonts. Spelling and grammar mistakes are also a no-go and can usually be avoided by giving the email a good reread before sending. It can also help perfect the flow of your language to read the email out loud as if you are speaking to the recipient in person.

4. Signature

To close out your email, especially one where you might be expecting an email back, it is important to ensure your information is available. This can be done through signing your emails through a proper signature at the base of the email. Writing a signature is easy. A simple signature would begin with a line that includes your name, followed by a line that includes your title or, for college students, possibly a major, and finally a line that indicates your current organization, like a college. This signature can sometimes also include, for accessibility purposes, your email address, phone number, and/or a LinkedIn link.

Following these tips and practicing writing a proper email can help in making yourself stand out in a job setting. This can increase your chances of being approved by a company or gaining credibility in a professional setting. Email is a skill like any other and it can and should be practiced and perfected over time.

By Kristen Lopiano

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