Learn to write an impressive formal email while starting off your career
Do you need a structured email? If you’re used to sending informal emails to friends and family, you may not know how to write a formal email at the beginning of your professional life.
No worries. Don’t be afraid. Lots of people get confused while sending formal emails at first. That’s why I am writing this blog to help you all making your professional life a bit easier.
Now, the question is, when should you write a formal email?
If you are sending an email to someone you don’t know well, formal emails are the first options to consider. Similarly, to maintain business ethics, structured and formal email are also the correct options to consider, especially if you have to send an email to your seniors. Now, here’s a twist, you might be confused if you are required to send a formal or an informal email. In such a case, sending a formal email will always get you to the safe side. Professional email writing plays a vital role in successful organizational and formal academic communication. Now, let’s get in-depth about the subject matter.
What is Structured or Formal Email?
Typically, a formal email is sent to someone that you are unfamiliar with or to someone in power. For instance, you could send formal messages to your professor, elected officer, or even a business company via email. Moreover, if the environment in your workplace is formal, use your superiors’ and your colleagues’ formal email address to send your email unless you are given a particular email address.
Many workplaces today, are moving towards a more casual environment nowadays, which often leads to informal email culture. In case if the employee is not sure about the proper code of conduct in such workplaces, they should inquire about writing emails in detail avoiding any informal communications.
Some Tips for writing impressive formal emails
Use an appropriate Email Address
As a professional, you should be able to create a professional email address. Taking an example in Gmail, it would be very unprofessional if the emails are received from addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. In fact, some companies also find such email addresses as unethical. So, it is preferable to use an e-mail address with credentials such as firstname.lastname@example.org or e.g. email@example.com. Thus, make sure you always have a formal, short, and easy to read email address.
Furthermore, if you are studying things like Programing, Architecture, Virtual/Visual Art, Graphic Design, Software Engineering, UX/ UI, etc. (courses that need a portfolio), it would be more beneficial if you build your online portfolio (a website) and a professional email address. With this, you can highlight your work and your knowledge or even start working on different projects.
Create an Email Signature Block
Who says that an email signature is not necessary? An email signature will help you stand out from the crowd and you can do it on most platforms for webmail.
In case you are applying for your first internship in an organization, then as a student, you can include your name, school, mobile, email, and social media in your signature form. Similarly, if you are working on having a designation, then your name, your designation, and your department name should be included. Also, you need to make sure to use LinkedIn as social profiles as it looks professional.
Write Follow-Up Emails
While you start your career, building connections can make a huge positive impact on you along your journey. However, following up with people is the essence of making real connections. You can write a follow-up email to the people including trainers, participants facilitators, etc. with whom you would like to connect within the next 48 hours after attending an event with them.
Imagine you are writing an email to a head person or person with a higher position than you had met in an event, seminar, party, etc.
Example subject lines: Following up from XXXX / Great to meet you at XXXX / Follow-up for the conversation on XXXX
It was nice meeting you yesterday at XXXX. Thank you for sharing ideas on XXXXX, and I am really interested in XXXXX.
It would be great if I could have a coffee catch-up with you and learn more from you. I am keen and available to meet you on next XXXXXX, XXXXXX or XXXXXX (it’s better to give more than one option). Please advise me on the time and the location if you are available to meet.
Thank you once again and hope to hear from you soon.
Note: If the person did not reply to you within two weeks, you can send another email.
I hope this email finds you well. It was nice to meet you at XXXX.
I was thinking about the conversation we had at the XXXX. I wonder if there is a chance we can catch up in person. I am available for a coffee catch-up on date XXXXXX, XXXXXX or XXXXXX.
Alternatively, I am available for a call at XXXXXX. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
If the person still does not reply, then it is time to move on!
Handling Introduction Emails
One of the easiest ways to connect with people is by submitting introductory emails. It’s always nice to communicate with others when you find someone who is benefited from your connections. It helps to build your personal brand and to establish a better network relationship.
Example subject lines: Introduction to XXX from XXX
I would like to take the chance of introducing XXX(to introduce) to you. XXX is … (e.g., his/ her background, the work he/ she is doing, the potential value he/ she may make, etc).
XXX (be introduced), XXX is … (e.g., his/ her background, the work he/ she is doing, etc).
I will leave both of you to connect and have a conversation. Please let me know if there are things I can help with.
If you receive an introduction email, you can say:
It is nice to e-meet you. I am XXX (personal background). I XXX (the thing sparked your interest or the potential value you can add).
It will be great if I can have a coffee catch up with you on __, __ or __ (leave a few options for the other person to choose from with flexibility). Please advise me on the time and the location if you are available to meet.
Please feel free to contact me at XXX. I look forward to hearing from you.
X (the person who connects you), thank you for connecting us.
Never say “Sorry, I was Busy or Use Sorry” in Emails
Let’s take an example, if you are busy and happen to reply to an email late, you would not find a reason to explain your action. Instead, a simple sentence like “Sorry for my late reply” is enough.
Apart from serious illness, there are no good reasons for answering an e-mail late for personal problems such as a family problem, lack of an Internet connection or busy with work/study. It shows only to the other person that you do not make your time and relationship a priority or value. It’s usually okay to reply to an email within 1 to 2 business days.
Emails can be sent in many ways. But while your emails look professional, friendly, clear and readable, they are good to go.
Do’s and Don’ts while writing Formal Emails
Mention Subject in Email
Don’t: Never leave the subject field blank! Too many people leave it empty or write a few words that don’t even explain what’s in the email.
Do: Write a short but detailed summary of what is found in the corresponding email. The aim is to help the recipient to arrange their inbox by maintaining a correct heading and by having fast access to any specific dates or deadlines.
Try to Stay Formal
Don’t: Think you can send a casual message like a friend.
Do: Keep things professional and answer someone as if you were in an interview.
Use First Names Only for Friends
Don’t: Never address someone by their first name in a formal email unless otherwise directed by the individual.
Do: Use a formal way, such as “Ms. Last Name” or “Mr. Last name”.
If Asked, Then Only Attach Attachments
Don’t: Attach documents without authorization, such as your curriculum vitae, resume or cover letter to e-mails. This will annoy the recipient since it clogs the email box.
Do: Offer to submit a copy of your original email curriculum vitae, cover letter, or portfolio. If the recipients are interested in seeing your information, the receiver will ask you to submit the documents and you can do so at this time.
Proofreading Shows that You Care
Don’t: Draft and deliver your email easily, without looking it over a few times.
Do: Write and re-read your email and search it for any spelling and grammatical faults several times extensively.
Follow Rule of Organization
Don’t: Type out your email, without clearly organizing your thoughts.
Do: Organize your email into an introduction, body, and closing. Your organization format should follow:
- Introduction: States your reason for contacting the person.
- Body: Details the information you’re trying to convey.
- Conclusion: Wraps up your email, including whether you will be contacting them in the future or if you’d like them to contact you
Don’t be Lazy or Show Laziness
Don’t: Address your e-mail repeatedly, so it generates a lengthy and frustrating email sequence.
It can sound lazy, but it is much easier to continue to “reply,” even though the subject matter is no longer relevant.
Do: Create a new email with a proper subject line.
If your previous chat is important, delete the chain parts that are no longer appropriate to understand the current email conversation while retaining valid chain parts.
Have Some Manners While Writing
Don’t: Fail to say “please” and, if necessary, “thank you.” Although it should be common sense in the professional world, it does not always happen.
Do: Say “ thank you,” “please, “and sign your emails, including” sincerely “and” best, “with courteous sign-offs.
Timing is Everything for Emails
Don’t: Fail to respond for days or weeks.
Do: Respond promptly. If you’re really busy and don’t have time to reply properly, contact the person to let them know that you have received their contact and will reply as soon as you can, allowing you a definite time when you truly hope you’ll be able to get back to them.
Try Not to Be Needy
Don’t: Send a follow-up email without making the recipient send an email at least a few days before you send it.
Do: Send your e-mails early so you don’t need a reply as soon as possible. Though our society is used to instant gratification, time passes usually with courtesy.
You should send a follow-up email after several days.