Did you know around 330 billion emails are sent every single day? That’s nearly 4 million per second. In a world full of spam, ignored, and poorly-written emails, it’s necessary for your emails to be professional and concise. Whether you’re applying for a job, emailing a professor, or scheduling an appointment, it’s vital to get your point across as simply and professionally as possible. By identifying your goal and keeping your message concise, your emails will stand out among the millions sent every second.
The three main parts that are essential to consider when writing an email are the header, the body, and the closing. The first step is to address your email. The “To” section is the main person you are writing to, this is where you would put an employer or professor’s email. Then, you have the option to add other email recipients under CC or BCC. The difference between the two is the people in your CC can be seen by the other recipients, while those in the BCC can not be seen. While you don’t need to add CCs or BCCs, it may come in handy in group projects or if you want to include other people.
One of the most essential steps is to establish the subject of your email. The subject line is the part of your email that determines whether or not it gets opened at all, which is why you should indicate exactly what your email is about without the recipient having to open it. For example, if your email is following up on an application you submitted, your subject line should say something specific such as, “Following up regarding blank position.”
Now that we’ve addressed our audience and established a subject, it’s time to start writing.
The beginning of your email should start with a greeting such as Dear, Hello, or Good afternoon to serve as an introduction to your email.
Once you’ve greeted the reader, the next step is the body of the email. In the body, you’re going to introduce yourself, address the purpose of your email, and specify what you want. For example, let’s say I’m writing to Professor Kellerman with the goal of getting a letter of recommendation. To introduce myself, I would write something like, “Hello Professor Kellerman, My name is Emma Shukla. I took your Intro to Public Speaking course last year. It was a very challenging subject for me and I was proud of the ‘A’ I received in your class.” This would refresh Dr. Kellerman about who I am and where he would know me from.
Next, I address the purpose of my email. “I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school and I am trying to gather a few letters of recommendation.” This clearly states the purpose of my email in one sentence and allows me to explain why I am writing. The final body step is the call to action. “Would you be able to write me a strong letter of recommendation for my application?” This question gets straight to the point and allows the recipient to know exactly what I am looking for from them.
After writing the body of your email directly and concisely, the next step is to sign off with a professional closing.
In the case of this email, I would want something to wrap up and conclude my message. “If there is any more information you need from me please let me know. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.” This statement can vary based on the purpose of the email but it essentially completes your thought and thanks the reader for their time spent reading your email.
Once you’ve wrapped it up, it is time to end with a salutation such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards.” After the sign-off write your name or signature along with any information that is relevant to your recipient, such as a phone number or job title.
Now we have our email written. Before we send it the last and possibly most important step is to proofread. By simply proofreading your email, you can avoid miscommunication and demonstrate diligence to your recipient.
Now you have a professional email that covers all three main parts of writing an email. The three parts of writing a professional email are: The Heading which includes your address lines and subject lines, the body of your email: including the greeting and message, and the conclusion of your email which includes the closing, salutation, and signature.
Whether you’re applying for a job or asking a teacher for a letter of recommendation, I hope this demonstration will encourage you to take that extra step toward professionalism in your next email that could score you that job, win you that promotion, or get you that letter of recommendation.