CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 16, 2013
version 3, draft 3

Professional Email Etiquette

Emails have become a highly important means of communication as they are widely used across all industries worldwide. This method allows individuals and companies to communicate through an efficient and fast medium. Most business entities engage with emails in order to communicate, providing goods and services to consumers as well as sharing information across the globe.

Following correct and professional email etiquette is important as it not only portrays you as an individual but it also represents the company you are employed by. There is certain protocol that needs to be followed in order to maintain professional relationships with other businesses through an email medium.

Subject of your Email

The first aspect of an email is the “subject” line; this indicates the nature of the email in one sentence or a few words. To highlight your email to its recipient, it is advised to keep your subject to the point and short, for example: “Job: Legal Advisor 9980” – this subject would immediately indicate that the email is in regards to a position the company is recruiting for. Due to the vast amount of spam emails that are generated, the email would not be missed due to its specific reference number and position title.

Addressing the Recipient

The next step is structuring your email body; it has to begin a certain way, introducing the main subject and concluding it in an appropriate manner, such as a professional signature. In order to start your email, individuals must decide upon the correct salutation to the recipient. In the case that you know their name, “Dear Mr. Smith” is simple and effective; however in the event that you do not know the name or gender of the recipient, the email can begin with “To Whom it May Concern” – this is a vague yet polite way of addressing the individual.

Main Body of the Email

Keeping the main body of the email short and to the point is vital as it is likely that the recipient will skim this email to get to the main point of it. It is advised to use bullet points and short paragraphs with double spacing to ensure that the reader is engaged throughout the email. Depending on your email subject, bullet points are the most effective way of highlighting various options, questions and alternatives. If you have attached documents to your email, it is important to reiterate this to ensure that the reader opens them.

Ending the Email

The manner in which you signoff the email should be polite and professional. If the email is requesting information and feedback from the reader, thanking them in advance is a common feature at the end of an email. In the event that you are providing the information and answering question, it is recommended to end the email with a general note on the information being helpful is adequate.

Your Signature

The signature at the end is the last part of an email, this provide information regarding the sender – their name, job title, company and address. This information incorporates the details that a receiver would require in order to reply appropriately to the sender. Keeping the tone of the email professional is vital to ensure that the email is taken seriously and replied to in due time. 

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