How to Write a Professional Email

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hit Send

How to Write a Professional Email
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For many years now, people have been predicting email's demise. While it's true we use other forms of communication like texting and social media to "talk" to our friends or send quick messages to our colleagues, we still use email, especially for work-related communication. It is also the primary means of contact when you are applying for a job. It is as important as ever to know how to write a professional email.

Email may be your first point of contact with someone and therefore, your first opportunity to make an impression. Take great care in composing your messages. Make sure to answer these 7 questions before you hit the send button.

Is My Message Error Free?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Proofread your email message until you are certain it is free of spelling mistakes, errors in grammar and typos. Grammarly.com has free tools, including an extension for the Chrome browser, that can help you.

What does my email address say about me?

Are you using a personal email account? When you signed up for it, you may have chosen a user name that isn't exactly business-like. An address that is suggestive, childish or cute is okay if you are  using it only to send messages to your friends and family. If you need to write a professional email, sign up for a new account that conveys a business-like tone.

Try something that uses your actual name. Use your first and last names; your first name, middle initial and last name; or some combination of those. Never send your professional email from chickybabe@mymail.com.

Are the name and email address in the "To" field correct?

When you begin typing a recipient's name into the "To" field, most email clients will fill in the rest of the name.

If  a name in your contacts begins with the same letter you typed, you could easily end up with the wrong name in that field. Imagine what trouble might arise if you are looking for a job while you are still employed and a hiring manager at a prospective employer has a name that begins with the same letter as your current boss's name. How embarrassing would that be? You want to make sure your message reaches its intended destination ... and that it doesn't reach an unintended one.

Have I used the proper title to address the recipient?

While first names are often okay to use in business settings, it's usually preferable to use a formal title like Mr., Ms., Mrs., or Dr. and the recipient's last name when you are communicating with someone for the first time. If you are unsure whether you can use a first name, don't. It can't hurt to be formal. For a hint about how someone with whom you already have an established relationship prefers to be addressed, look at how he signs his messages before you decide whether it's alright to use his first name.

Does My Tone Convey My Message Well?

As the saying goes, "It's not what you say but how you say it." When you speak to someone face-to-face, there is less room for misunderstanding than when you try to convey the same message in writing.

This is because the reader can't see your facial expressions, read your body language or hear your voice. Make sure your message is polite and sounds friendly and that your intended meaning is clear.

Is My Message Simple But Not Cryptic?

When you write an email you have to strike a balance between including so much information that you confuse the reader, and including too little, forcing her to guess what you're trying to say. You want make sure your message is precise as possible without leaving out information you want your recipient to see.

Have I included unsolicited attachments?

Many people won't, and shouldn't, open attachments they aren't expecting because computer viruses are often transmitted in them. Before you send an attachment, make sure you get your recipient's permission. For example, if you want someone to look at your resume, don't send it as an attachment unless you ask first or have been instructed to do so.

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