Writing a Professional E-Mail

In this day and age, situations in which face to face communication is considered necessary are becoming less frequent. We live in a world dominated by alternatives such as texts, video chat, and Facebook.  Although each of these serves its purpose, the most utilized communication tool in the business world today is e-mail .  Composing an acceptable business e-mail is somewhat of an art that few college students learn before graduating. 

Let’s start at the top and work our way down. The first thing that anyone will see of your e-mail is the subject line.  The subject should make it obvious to the receiver as to why you are writing. An example might be “Application For Position XYZ.” People everywhere are busy, and with no subject line your

e-mail is more likely to get written off as having no importance. In retrospect, do not mark e-mails as “high importance” unless they truly are of high importance. That just gets annoying.

Next, we have the greeting.  The greeting should be the exact same as it would be in a cover letter.  Also, the overall feel of the body of the e-mail should be treated just as a cover letter or thank-you note would be, but keep it brief and focused.  Spelling and grammar checking are musts. Simple spelling and grammatical errors can be seen as unprofessional and careless, two things you do not want to convey.  Last but not least, re-read your e-mail carefully; the tone of e-mails can often be misinterpreted.

Another thing to watch out for when writing a professional e-mail is slang.  With texting and instant message becoming more common every day, written slang terms are used sometimes without notice.  However, “LOL’s” and “TTYL’s” and any other abbreviated slang terms are unacceptable in a professional e-mail, they tend to portray laziness and incompetence.

Lastly, the closing of a professional e-mail should include a polite closing such as “thank you for your time” followed by “Sincerely, John Doe.” This is more or less a statement of respect for the recipient’s time and attention.  After the signature, it is acceptable to put your e-mail, place of work, and contact phone number.

Many people think that the first impression they give someone takes place when they meet face to face for the first time, however, you can begin molding your first impression in an e-mail correspondence.  If these few helpful hints are heeded, you will be well on your way to doing just that.

For more information please visit http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/

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