[Infographic] How to Write a Professional Email

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We’re all used to writing emails in our day-to-day life, but professional emails require a different approach than those we write to friends and family.

Taking a little more care when writing a professional email can deliver far more polished and effective communication.

For today’s young people, Generation Z, email is probably something they have rarely – if ever – used. Most likely, it is reserved exclusively for communicating with older people. Understanding the norms and standards of business email, therefore, becomes a priority for school leavers.

Some UK employers have reported that school leavers lack basic skills and are particularly underprepared for the world of work. However, the problem isn’t limited to school leavers.

Older generations can also benefit from brushing up on essential business email etiquette. Whether you are writing the cover letter for a job application, a sales proposal to a new customer or an internal email to colleagues, don’t jeopardize your professional reputation by making mistakes.

So here are a few tips from Business Optimizer that will help you succeed.

Style Essentials

Spelling: Errors like spelling mistakes can really undermine your communication. If your email client doesn’t include a spell check functionality, use a third-party tool to check spellings for you.

Format: Keep formats and fonts simple. Fancy fonts and colors have no place in a business email. Try to avoid using bold or italics unless absolutely essential. In doubt, refrain.

Case: Don’t use capitals – it is likely to be interpreted as shouty or angry, which is never appropriate in a business setting.

Emojis: Again, no. Emojis have no place in a business email.

Content Essentials

Subject Line: Keep it simple and relevant, so the recipient can see at a glance what your email is about.

Greeting: Even if you are only writing a short email, always include a greeting in a business email. And do use your recipient’s name, if you know it.

Concise: Get to the point, don’t waffle. The longer your email is, the more likely your recipients are to skim read it.

Closing: Do end with an explanation of how you wish the recipient to respond or a summary of subsequent actions.

Sign off: In very formal emails, use “Yours sincerely” if you know the recipient’s name and use “Yours faithfully” if you don’t know their name (for example, if you have started the email with Dear Sir/ Madam).

For emails that are less formal but still in a business context, for example to colleagues, “Kind regards” or a simple “Thank you” are fine.

Signature Line: Include your name, job title, company and contact details.

Proofread and check: Before you send, read through your email in full. Check that the email is conveying everything you want it to say and doesn’t contain anything liable to be misconstrued. Do one last check for grammar and spelling and eliminate errors.

Following these basic guidelines can help to ensure that your emails create the best impression with would-be employers, business contacts, and your colleagues.