How to Write a Professional Email: Writing Guide, Email Examples [2020]

how to write a professional email

If you’re a new graduate or entering back into the workforce after time away, you may want to learn how to write a professional email. Writing a professional email requires following a few simple guidelines for ensuring your message contains the right information for your recipient to respond appropriately and in a timely manner.

When you write a personal email, you don’t have to give a lot of thought to your email. It’s about your personal thoughts or feelings and making sure the email recipient gets the message. When writing a professional email, you need to think before you write.

To ensure good business communication is being had, ask yourself these questions before you start the email writing process:

Knowing these in advance can help you articulate an effective email more clearly.

Writing Style

When writing your email message, the way you write is important. An informal email might contain phrases like “hey dude” or something you may say to a close friend when you see them in public. And a formal email uses punctuation, grammar, and professional language. Similar to writing a cover letter or resume.

The use of proper grammar and speaking in a professional manner is what makes your email formal. This is the most respectful way to communicate with someone who you might not know personally. Casual emails or personal emails are easier to write since you’re under the assumption that the other person will understand what you’re trying to say without much detail since they know who you are.

When inversely, a professional email is often written to someone you don’t know. Meaning it has to be written in a professional email format with strong grammar that is proofread before hitting the send button.

How to Write a Professional Email

Here is what you should consider when writing the perfect professional email. A professional email could be used for regular correspondence, sending a job application, resignation letter, or other professional needs.

Use a professional greeting: Mention the recipient by their first name or full name. For example, “Hi Ryan” or “Dear Ryan”. Using a professional reference using their name creates a strong first impression.

Use a clear opening line: State what your purpose of the email is in the opening sentence of your email. For example, “I’m emailing you to ask about our inventory needs.”

State what you need and why: What is the purpose of the email? Use your email body to create a request and make sure your recipient clearly understands the request. Highlight each important detail with clarity. And start transitioning your email body to your closing remark.

Close your email: Close your email using a closing line or request in your closing line. For example, “I would really appreciate a response by June 23rd as the deadline is approaching.” Use a closing greeting or salutation. Avoid an informal salutation like, “See you later.” Pick something like, “Thank you very much.”

Pick your email subject line: Once you’ve written your email it will be simpler to pick a descriptive email subject line. Be descriptive and make it short. But something that will stand out in their email inbox. For example, “Regarding our meeting last week”

Keep your email short, under 250 words if possible. Shorter emails have higher response rates and save your recipient time.

Your Email Signature

A professional email signature can be key to great email communication. List your phone number, company name, job title, social media presences like LinkedIn or Twitter. And keep your email signature short.

Here’s an example:

John Jacob - 665-837-9857 - Apple, Inc - linkedin.com/johnjacob

Professional Email Examples

Below are professional email examples you can use as an email template when writing your professional email.

Example Professional Email to Your Boss or Manager

Now that you know what a good professional email should look like and a bad professional email should look like, let's write an email to your boss together. Below is an example where you ask your boss or manager a question about a project you have been tasked with.

Subject line: Regarding research

Hi Dan—

I’m working on the Oasis Project and I was wondering if there was any research on the Synergy client? I looked through the shared folder you sent me but couldn’t find anything.

I appreciate your help.

Thanks so much Dan,
Patrick

In this example, we show appreciation to the recipient in advance, which indicates that we have a request which might take the recipient some of their workday in order to perform the task. In situations like these, it’s always best to be sincere and ensure that the recipient wants to help us.

This is an effective email message because:

Example Email Requesting a Meeting

This is a frequent email that you’ll send as a professional, a request for a meeting. This request could be to external parties (recipients outside of your business) or to internal parties (your colleagues and coworkers). In both instances, your email strategy is roughly the same.

Here is what that will look like.

Subject line: Meeting request

Hi all—

We’ve had some back and forth by email and I thought it would be helpful if we got together to discuss the Oasis Project. I have a few touchpoints that I think could make it worth our time.

Let me know if Thursday at 3 pm works for you.

Thanks so much,
Patrick

In this example, we propose a time for the meeting, which happens to be our ask. This is an effective email because it gives context to what might happen in the meeting and why it might be important to attend.

This an effective email message because:

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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