We’re all emailing all day, every day. They form the initial point of contact for so many of our conversations. With an increasingly global workforce, emails are generally the go-to method for communicating with colleagues across the world. So how do you write professional emails?
- A clear and crisp subject line: The subject line of the email must inform the other person what the email is about or at least be as indicative as possible. People get swamped with tons of email every day, a clear subject line helps everyone categorize their email better. For e.g., sending an email with the subject line ‘Resume’ does absolutely nothing to inform anyone of why you have sent that resume, give a little more detail? You could make it ‘Resume for XYZ position’ instead. [Ed Tip: Standard subject line to use for job/internship applications: “Application for Internship at <Insert Firm Name>, <Insert City>, for the period <Insert starting date> to <Insert ending date>”]
- Do not forget to attach an attachment you’ve mentioned you’re attaching in the email: Gmail will even remind you now if you’ve mentioned the word ‘attached’ or its varied connotations in your emails and then haven’t attached a file. Especially keep this in mind in your initial days at any place or while applying to a place for a job or with a query – we all err sometimes, try not to make a habit of it.
- Decide who you are sending the email to: please do not ‘cc’ additional people on an email they do not need to be part of that conversation. Think before hitting ‘reply all’ and please refrain from using ‘bcc’ unless you are sending a bulk informative email.
- Do not email from someone else’s email ID: It’s 2017, you need to have your own email ID – I have nothing further to say here. [Ed Tip: Yes, it happens far often than you may think. Also, please make sure your email id is professional, i.e not something like‘firstname.lastname@example.org’]
- Do not connect people over email unless they have consented to it beforehand: If you think two people should connect over some project or if a friend wants to connect to an ex-employee of yours – great! Always help people out when you can, but make sure you check in with all parties if they are open to helping out at the moment or even have the time for a quick connect before you actually just go ahead and connect them over email. Once you’ve connected them without consent, just puts everybody in an awkward situation with very few ways out of it.
- Proofread: just recheck your emails for grammar and spellings, it is actually super simple. You can also download software that will proofread your email for you.
- Signing off on emails: Keep the signing off portion short. While your name, title etc. can be part of your standard email signature, you do not need to add a thank you and a dozen other end wishes before ending every email. Keep it short and relevant.
- Please do not forward your emails when they shouldn’t be forwarded: Some email exchanges are meant to be private. If you need to send a document from another email conversation with someone else or just forward one email in a chain of emails – please do not forward the entire chain. For e.g., please do not email your CV to a potential recruiter in a manner where they can still see your entire previous email exchange with someone else. [Ed Tip: Or for the matter BCC the same email to multiple recruiters. They understand what you are doing.]
- Be nice: check in on how the other person is doing, maybe ask them about their sick parent/child/pet they told you off the last time you spoke. Try to personalize emails in this manner, but know when and whom you’re emailing and what conversation is appropriate and what isn’t. Eventually, a little kindness never hurt anyone. [Ed Tip: But do NOT go overboard with this in a completely formal business email. In case you know the other person only in a professional capacity, kept it concise.]
About the Author:
Vandita Morarka is the Cofounder of Students for Social Reform Initiative and has previously been the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Safecity and has also initiated their flagship Campus Ambassador program. She works with youth organizations in various capacities and has mentored and trained over 500 young persons in the past few years. Vandita is currently the Policy, Legal and United Nations Liaising Officer for Safecity (Red Dot Foundation) and also does independent policy based consulting and legal research for government agencies, NGOs, and philanthropists.