How To Write More Professional Emails

As college students, we’ve all been made aware of the importance of professional communication, especially as emails are strongly the most popular form of this. As a business student who has also interned the corporate world, writing a good email becomes second nature. It’s true that most adults know to include an appropriate greeting, and proofreading, etc. However, I realize that not every academic department places the same emphasis on the same subjects. Therefore, I wanted to share a few, less-obvious, emailing techniques that I’ve learned over the past few years!  

  1. Include a descriptive, yet concise subject line 

ALWAYS include a subject line. Friends ask me to look over their email before they click “send”, and often, there will either be a blank subject or a vague one that doesn’t explain what the email content entails. A good subject has enough information to tell the recipient what the rest of the email will be about but isn’t so long that it wastes their time.  

Example: “Marketing Internship Phone Interview Follow-Up” would be a good subject line.  

  • Develop a signature 

A signature usually includes your name, your position within a company/organization, and contact information, such as phone, email and even address. It will show up at the bottom of every email you send and is helpful for the recipient’s reference. Additionally, it makes you look more legitimate and professional.  

  • Maintain a conversation thread  

Just like texting, you can maintain a conversation thread with someone via email by simply clicking the “reply” option. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen instances where people will create a whole new email that could’ve been sent under the same thread. Emails are easily lost, seeing as most professionals receive over 20 a day. Create a new thread only if a good amount of time has passed since your last interaction with the recipient, or if what you’re communicating is completely different than the conversation in the existing thread. 

  • Only send professional emails during appropriate times  

This almost goes without saying, but unless it is an absolute emergency, or the recipient has previously stated that they welcome late-night messages, do not email your professor or boss at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night; it makes you seem unprepared and even inconsiderate. Even if you know they’re awake, it is recommended to wait until business hours to hit “send”.  

  • Check your inbox often 

Most people have more than one email, and it is very important to stay on top of them. For example, I have three, and my notification alerts are turned on for all three. It is impressive when you reply to someone’s message in a timely manner. It shows that you are organized and that you care! Besides, after reading an email, and if you know you won’t need it in the future, you can delete it. That way, your inbox remains organized and clean.

Simel Koussa

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