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Being able to write good emails has become a necessity in every career. There’s no job nowadays where you can avoid writing emails or where this skill will not be appreciated.
It is indeed a skill, and as such, it can be improved.
I really doubt that anyone has ever written a good first professional email. Whenever you feel bad about your email style, just remember that there is someone out there who feels the same.
Good news for both of you is that practice makes perfect, and our guide on how to write a professional email will help you practice and become perfect.
There are many reasons for writing professional emails; a job application, a letter of resignation, a client email, or an inquiry email. Whatever your goal is, the first step to achieving it is to learn how to write a professional email. Your message might not be received if it’s not properly shared.
Without further ado, let’s see which steps you can take to make your emails stand out.
The first thing you should do before you even start writing a professional email is to understand the person you are contacting.
Ask yourself if that person is your point of contact – emails usually end up in someone else’s inbox, which is frustrating for everyone. When this occurs, it can take hours for your email to circulate the company and to land in the right person’s inbox.
A lot of time lost for nothing. So use all your research abilities to find your point of contact before you start writing your email.
After finding the right person, invest some time in understanding their role in the company, their (busy) schedule, and the approach you should take. Once you have figured out your ‘target group’, you can proceed with other steps.
First of all, you should know your reasons for writing a professional email.
Are you replying to someone else’s email? Have you already been emailing each other on some matter? Or is this the first time that you contact them?
If you have already been exchanging emails, then you have probably already set your tone, and you can proceed at the same pace. Be careful not to lose focus; your email messages should always have a purpose.
If, on another hand, you are contacting someone for the first time, invest more time in elaborating your purpose. It should be clear but still concise.
If you set your goal and determine your purpose right from the start, you are more likely to write a good professional email.
There are some events and topics that should be discussed in person. Some questions can be easily answered over a quick call.
Think twice before you decide to send an email – can this be a quick call? Should this matter wait for a face to face meeting? How will it affect my point of contact?
If you don’t decide on this before you start writing, you will surely realize it in the middle of your email. If it takes too much time, if it’s too long and detailed, if you are struggling to put your thoughts into words, then it might be better not to write a professional email at all.
Professional emails shouldn’t be too long. Period. Can we make this official? Thank you.
People can get very busy at work, and emails are there to help them do their job, not to steal their time. Have this in mind when you are writing a professional email.
How do long emails make you feel? What was the best professional email that you have ever received? I am sure it was concise, helpful, and informative.
There’s no reason why your emails should be any different. If they are, return to the previous point and see if you should even proceed with writing a professional email, or you should make a quick call.
The best advice I’ve ever received was to leave the ‘To’ section empty until I have successfully written my professional email.
I am sure that everyone has once sent an email unfinished by accident or without an attachment – which are the things to avoid when writing a professional email.
We are all humans, and we make mistakes, so it is understandable to make errors at work too.
However, if you want to have fewer mistakes with emails, you should consider leaving the ‘To’ section empty until you are all done with your message.
Subject lines are frequently overlooked, when in fact, they are the first thing your recipient will see upon email receipt. For that reason, your subject line should be catchy enough to grab their attention.
It should absolutely never be left blank because emails without subject lines are not at all professional.
Some people are so busy they immediately send emails with vague or suspicious subject lines into the junk folder. You don’t want that to happen to you. Your email’s purpose should be reflected already in your subject line.
Things to avoid in your subject line: ‘Urgent,’ ‘Please reply as soon as possible’ or ‘Read carefully before you reply’ Nobody wants to see this, it will automatically ruin their day.
Create a subject line that is polite and genuine. After all, it’s an introduction to your email. It should prepare your recipient for what’s coming so that they can get focused and ready.
Every professional email should start with a greeting. Either ‘Hello’ or ‘Dear’ can do, it depends on the relationship you have with your recipient.
Here are some examples of possible email greetings: ‘Hello James’, ‘Dear Mrs. Smith’ or ‘Hi, Maria.’ For more examples, feel free to contact your English tutor, and they will teach you how to use formal and informal greetings.
Chances are very high you can find the name of your point of contact online, so don’t be lazy and search on the company’s website.
‘To whom it may concern’ is not very popular, especially if the contact details can be found online. You will leave the impression of a lazy person who just doesn’t care enough.
If you are applying for a job and you don’t know whom to address it to, there are some alternatives that you can go for. Try starting with ‘Dear Recruitment Department’ or ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ – you will leave a better impression, and your chances of getting hired will increase.
Before you elaborate on your reasons, you should introduce yourself to the recipient. This is very important if you have never contacted the person before. Even though your name will appear on the email address, it is better to introduce yourself in the beginning of your email.
You don’t have to go too much in detail, but your name, your job title, and profession should be included.
“My name is Jennifer, and I am a content writer for a language learning platform. I have written many successful articles giving tips on language acquisition.”
Your introduction depends on the reasons behind your email. If you are applying for a job, you could introduce yourself and your skills.
On another hand, if you have already met the person you are writing to, write a brief introduction to jog their memory. If you are exchanging emails regularly, you can skip the introduction part.
After you have greeted your recipient and introduced yourself successfully, you can get to the main point. Why are you writing to them?
Let them know right from the start.
‘I am writing regarding the open position of…’, ‘I am writing to enquire about…’ or ‘I am writing to let you know that…’
After you have stated your purpose, you can proceed with elaborating your reasons further. Make sure your email stays clear and concise. Your tone should remain professional and polite.
When writing a professional email, you should aim for perfection in format too.
Divide the email into paragraphs so that it makes more sense to the recipient. You shouldn’t put everything in one paragraph, because it’s going to look a lot longer than it actually is. In addition, it might be hard to read it – people usually scan their texts, rather than reading them in-depth.
Similarly, avoid any symbols or unnecessary carets because emails are not the place for them. Professional emails should look clean and tidy, so be on the lookout for the font you are using too. Sometimes when you copy/paste, fonts can get messy. Make sure to format everything nicely in the end.
Every professional email should end with a kind ‘Thank you’ and ‘Goodbye.’
As mentioned on several occasions, people are very busy nowadays, so taking the time to read your message should be praised. There are many ways to do this, for example: ‘Thank you for taking the time to read my application’ or ‘Many thanks for your consideration.’
Closing remarks are not only a place to say thank you but a way to invite them to take action – reply to you, review your application or accept your proposal.
Your closing remarks could be: ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ or ‘If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.’
Lastly, finish with ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Best wishes’ followed by your name and signature.
As soon as you finish writing your professional email, conduct a quality check in the form of proofreading.
It goes without saying that spelling mistakes are absolutely frowned upon, but the good thing is that they are easily avoidable. Your email account should have this option turned on so that you can correct your mistakes as you go.
In case you are not sure, better safe than sorry, so double check in an online dictionary or copy and paste your entire email into a word file and conduct a spellcheck there.
Your grammar should always be spot on, as poor grammar leaves a bad impression, and your professional email should always aim to do the opposite.
If you need a hand, contact your English native tutor, who will gladly help you fix all mistakes.
This professional email tip might seem odd at first, but as soon as you try it out, you will realize how genius it is. It prevents mistakes to go by unnoticeable, which often happens when you are busy.
However, the fact that you cannot find any mistakes by yourself doesn’t mean they are not there.
Asking someone else, like your colleague or a family member to read and check your email will give you a second opinion. Not only that you will be sure that your grammar and spelling are perfect, but you will also know how your professional email reads.
Does it leave a positive impression? Does it sound polite enough? You will hear an objective view if you ask someone else to share their thoughts. You should always aim to accept constructive feedback and to understand it fully.
Now it’s the time to add your recipient’s email address. At this point, you don’t risk sending blank or wrong emails anymore. Of course, pay attention that you are typing the right email address because, again, if you miss one letter, your email might never arrive at its destination.
Remembering to follow-up will make you stand out from the crowd as a responsible person.
People can get very busy, so even if your first email was excellent, they might forget to reply. If you follow-up and check if they have safely received your query, the chances of achieving your goal are higher.
If you have a company logo, you should definitely consider implementing it into your email signature. You can add your phone number, email address, Skype account, and company role next or underneath. Adjust the email settings to add that signature at the end of all your emails.
Email signature designed this way is your electronic business card, and you will hand it out with every professional email that you send. It will come in handy to your clients as well when they need your business information quickly.
Don’t rush this professional email tip. Having your own email style takes time and practice, but it is very appreciated in the business world.
Your partners should be able to recognize your email style even if your name is not on it. It brings a feeling of uniqueness and integration because you will look genuine and very real — people in every area of expertise like to surround themselves by people like that.
Mistakes in professional emails are very common, but if you don’t learn anything from them, then you made a mistake for nothing. Every mistake is a tiny experience.
Remember that saying: “there is no failure; there is only feedback!’
Well, it goes for email writing too. If you forgot to attach a document, pay extra attention the next time. If you had a grammar error, make sure to learn how to use grammar rules properly.
Do a quality check. Proof your emails.
What you receive as a response to your email is also feedback. If your recipient didn’t take your message very well or got frustrated, learn from that too. Do better next time.
Of course, there are times when you write a perfect email, but the receiving end doesn’t have quite a good day. Nothing you can do about that. But if your emails are constantly getting bad comebacks, then invest some time in figuring out what’s the reason behind this.
We’ve mentioned this professional email tip before, but it deserves some extra attention. Try your best always to have the name of the person you are writing to. There are so many reasons you should do this.
You will definitely grab more attention than with only saying ‘Hello’. You will build a reputation for yourself and people will know you as someone who’s doing their research. You will build relationships with your recipients and clients. You will write great professional emails.
‘Replies to emails quick and regularly’ has become the most appreciated attribute you can get in the business world. People will trust in you, they will appreciate you, and they will choose you over others.
If you reply to your emails regularly, you will not only save your time and energy, but everyone else’s too. Don’t just drag things around. Reply even to say that you have safely received their query and that you will get back to them as soon as you have an answer.
If you want to learn how to write a professional email, you should also simultaneously learn new English words and expressions.
Business English skills are very valuable, so even if you are a fluent speaker, you should still work on them. It is still the same language; however the vocabulary and sentence structure are different. They are on a higher and more sophisticated level.
Your professional emails will blossom the more you invest in your English skills.
With time and practice, all these steps will become your routine steps. Even when emails go out of fashion one day, and we proceed to another dimension of communication, the essence will remain the same.
The mindset behind these steps is how the business mindset should look like. It is based on respect and good manners, both attributes that will never get old.
Take your time to learn how to write a professional email by perfecting each of these skills; don’t feel bad that it will take time and practice because it will be worth it. You will notice the difference in your relationships and overall your mood because being misunderstood causes stress.
Your message will always find its way, and your clients will appreciate you even more. Now go ahead and write that email following our tips and let us know your thoughts.
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