By: Endia Hunt
You’re probably great at writing stories, poems, and essays, but have you truly mastered the art of email-writing? If you’re unsure, just answer the questions below:
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it’s time to learn the rules of email etiquette.
DO NOT be the person who sends out sloppy emails. You will appear lazy, unprofessional, and uneducated.
DO write clearly and always be sure to read over emails before sending them.
If you’re looking to master the art of professional email-writing, please review the tips below:
The Benefit of a Precise Subject Line
A precise subject line gives a short summary of what is mentioned in the body of an email.
DO NOT use vague descriptions. An email with a subject line that says “Hi” or “no subject” deserves to be ignored.
DO give a clear and descriptive subject line that will explain your exact purpose for reaching out. For example, if you’re emailing an application to an employer, your subject line should probably include your name and the job title.
Choose the Appropriate Salutation
What is the Proper Way to Greet People?
Use opening salutations to directly address the person(s) you’re emailing.
DO NOT address professionals by their first name unless they’ve given you permission to do so. Also, saying “Hey” is far too casual.
DO address people by their title and last name. When emailing employers, you will typically place “Mr.” or “Ms.” before their last name. When contacting professors, students should write: “Dear Professor (last name)” or “Professor (last name).” If a person has a PhD, it is also wise to address them as “Dr. (last name).”
However, if the recipient is unknown, you may address them as “Dear Sir/Madam.” If you’re trying to contact an employer, you should probably say something along the lines of “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Provide a Clear and Concise Body Message
What Should the Body of an Email Include?
The body of an email provides every bit of vital information.
DO NOT include slang, text message abbreviations, or emoticons in your message. They are both unnecessary and unprofessional. If you wouldn’t use slang during a job interview, then you shouldn’t use slang in emails. Also, save the emoticons for when you’re chit-chatting with friends. They are meant for casual conversation—not for business, academic, or work-related discussions.
DO be as clear and concise as possible. Get straight to the point and avoid writing lengthy emails. After all, less is more when it comes to writing.
Sign Off Politely and Professionally
How Should You End an Email?
The end of an email contains a closing salutation and contact information.
DO NOT use informal remarks like “bye” or “talk to you soon!”
DO use formal remarks like “Regards”, “Thank you”, “With gratitude”, or “Best”, followed by your signature and contact information. Your closing should never be too personal or too casual.
Take the quiz. (True or False)
Answer key: 1.) T 2.) T 3.) F 4.) F 5.) F
If you correctly answered the questions above, you’re on your way to perfecting your email-etiquette.
Endia J. Hunt