Email Message Greeting Examples

Tips for Crafting Emails That Get Read

woman writing email on laptop at table
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According to, the average employee allocates about 25 percent of his day to slogging through hundreds of emails. While some people needs a brush up on basic email etiquette, others make mistakes simply because they're overwhelmed with the sheer volume of communications. 

During your job search, you'll likely send many, many emails, including cover letters, thank you notes, and messages to job search-related connections.

In these emails, you'll want to avoid making embarrassing errors (such as misspelling someone's name). You'll also want to make sure to write notes that get a response. Read on for information on email etiquette, along with advice on how to craft a greeting.

Tips on Crafting Effective Emails

Strive for clarity in your subject line. Choose something direct that identifies the purpose of your email, like "meeting time changed" or "quick query about your proposal." Avoid dangling a carrot with a teaser like "I need to inform you..." that tries to lure the reading into open the email to get at your intention.

People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line, so choose one that clearly states your purpose.

Use a professional greeting. Include an appropriate greeting for the circumstances and recipient. There are greetings that are acceptable in an email which are not used in a regular letter, and greetings that are used for both.

Choose a greeting based on how well you know the person you are writing to and the type of message you are writing. For example, if you are writing someone you know, "Hi Jim" is appropriate. "Dear Mr./Ms. Smith" would be appropriate when applying for a job or writing a business letter.

Avoid opening an email with "hey" which is very informal and generally not used in the workplace.

Also shy away from "Hi folks" or "Hi guys," even if the nature of your email is relaxed.

Here are some examples of greetings to use:

  • Dear Firstname Lastname (this works well if you don't know the gender of the person you're writing to)
  • Dear Firstname (when emailing someone you know)
  • Hi Firstname (When emailing someone you know)
  • Dear Mr./Ms. Lastname
  • Dear Mr./Ms. Firstname Lastname
  • Dear Dr. Lastname
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Human Resources Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager

Add the email address last. If you don't have the option to unsend an email, add the address last if you tend to have a quick trigger finger. Insert the recipient's name only when you're sure the email is ready to go.

Avoid the old "reply all" error. Watch your trigger finger when hitting Reply All. Consider whether everyone on the list really needs to read what you have to say. Also be mindful of older emails in the chain that perhaps you might not want someone on the Reply All list to see.

Go easy on the humor. Humor can be hard to discern in an email since your tone won't necessarily shine through. Without body language, facial expression, or cadence, humor can fall flat or even unintentionally insult a reader. Play it safe and leave it out.

Proofread! Don't make the mistake of thinking that people will forgive typos in informal emails or that mistakes are to be expected if you're typing on your phone. You may be judged harshly by mistakes in your email, especially if they're rampant. Don't rely on a spellchecker which can often choose the wrong word for you — proofread your emails just like you would an important document.

In particular, always check and double-check that people's names are spelled correctly. 

Don't use emojis or emoticons. More and more, email messages are coming to resemble text messages. Workplace messages now sometimes include "thumbs-up" emoji or smiley faces. Even though they're becoming more common, avoid emojis and emoticons in formal correspondence. (Tip: If your email greeting uses a last name, that's a sure sign you should leave off emojis and emoticons.) 

Remember that email lasts forever. Think twice before emailing something personal or confidential, firing someone via email, disparaging someone, or answering with anger. 

Those kinds of interactions might better be done in person. The twenty-four hour rule is a good one. If you're not sure whether you should send the message, or not, wait until the next day to decide. Another good rule of thumb: Don't write anything in an email that you wouldn't be willing to have shared publicly (in a deposition, say, or on social media). 

More About Writing and Sending Email: Email Etiquette Tips for Job Seekers | Letter Salutations and Greetings