Email can help many different people communicate for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s used by friends trying to stay in touch, sometimes it’s used by family members, and often times it’s used by professionals in a business setting.
Though you may be able to write to a friend or family member in a friendly, informal fashion, you shouldn’t apply the same lightheartedness to your business communications. Whether you’re emailing your boss, sending a résumé, contacting a client, resigning from a job, or doing just about anything else in a business environment, your emails are a reflection of who you are as a professional.
To make sure you always look professional to those whom you email, you should always write in a clear, organized fashion. You can do this by remembering the following best practices for writing an email.
How to Write a Professional Email
- Always include a subject line. It can be short and to the point, but it should always be there.
- Open with a greeting. It can be a simple “Hello [Name]” but this modest courtesy gives your email a more professional slant than would simply diving into the heart of the email. If you know your recipient's name be sure to use it.
- Proofread for proper spelling and grammar. Nothing says “incompetence” like bad English and lazy mistakes, so keep up appearances by avoiding poor grammar.
- Avoid cute distractions. Colorful fonts, emojis, and excessive use of italics or bold are an absolute no-go in most professional settings. Save the pretty colors and smiley faces for more casual conversations.
- For that matter, don’t write in all-caps either. Not only is that unprofessional, a barrage of capital letters can also be interrupted as the writings of someone who is very angry.
- Close with a farewell. Whether it’s a simple “Thank you” or “regards,” ending on the right note is as important as opening on the right note. Consider setting up an email signature with all your contact information for good measure as well.
Skipping any one of these steps can make it look like you’re just hurrying to rattle off an email instead of spending the time to compose a thoughtful, professional message. While certain elements discussed here are purely about sticking to a business-appropriate aesthetic others serve a real functional purpose.
A proper subject line will let your reader know what he or she is getting into before opening your email, and proper grammar will make your email much easier to read and understand. Similarly, a well-designed signature can make it easier for your reader to identify and contact you. All of these factors will make your emails more efficient and effective, which can be quite important in today’s fast-paced business world.