How to write a professional email - with examples

Published on: February 15, 2021 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

A professional email is a form of communication that is written to a recipient that you aren’t familiar with or someone in authority. So, to avoid sounding disrespectful, rude or ignorant, you need to know how best to write a professional email.

Tips for writing a professional email
How to write a professional email

A professional email is like a formal letter. In some cases, you could be a little bit familiar with the subject. In other cases, you might have zero knowledge of who the recipient is. Imagine that you want to apply for a job, and you don’t know who you are writing to. You probably do not know the name of the person you are addressing your email to. How then do you go about it?

Here’s a piece of advice: when you are not sure whether to write a formal or informal email to a person, it’s best to go for formal. The way you communicate with people that you hardly know via your email can go a long way in determining if they’d be interested in you.

So, first of all, I’ll show you the elements of a professional email. Then we’d talk about the Dos and Don’ts of a professional email.

You can write a professional email with the tips below:

1. Start the email with a subject

How to write a professional email

The purpose of including a subject in your professional email is to inform the recipient of what the email is about, even before they read it. It should be as concise as possible.

For instance:

  • if you are writing to resign from your job, you can write: Resignation- Jane Fowe
  • If you are writing for a request; Request- Recommendation letter
  • If you want to write a professional email to follow up on something: Follow up- project presentation

2. Greet your recipient

To start the email, make sure you greet your recipient. It’s rude to just go straight to the body of your email without greeting them.

For instance, you can say, Dear Jane, Dear Sam Edet, etc.

In a situation where you don’t know the name of the person you are addressing your email to, then you can write; Dear Sir/Ma, To whom it may concern, etc.

You can also go ahead to thank them for something they have done.

For instance;

Dear Jane,

Thank you for reaching out to me…

Dear Sam Edet,

Thank you for responding swiftly…

If you are writing the email for an organization, you can also thank the person you are writing to for something that they have done as well.

For instance,

Dear Mrs Stephen,

Thank you for contacting XYZ company….

Note that your greeting or salutation should be as short as possible. A sentence is enough to thank them (only if there is something to be thankful about, in the first place).

3. State the purpose of your email

Once you are done with the greeting, get to the body of your email already. This is where you state what the purpose of your email is about.

For instance, if you are writing to apply for a job or to resign, you can write this;

I am writing to submit my resignation for my position as head of sales at XYZ company.

I am writing to apply for the post of a senior content producer at ABC company.

Other examples include;

I am a TV presenting looking to schedule an interview with you ahead of your tour in march.

My company is in need of a graphic designer’s expertise for a design project.

4. Get to your closing remark

After you must have stated the reason for reaching out to them, then go straight to your closing remark. Remember it’s a professional email, so you don’t need to bit around the bush to make your point.

Here’s a good example of a closing remark depending on the body and subject of your email.

Thank you for your patience and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to let me know.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

5. Sign off

The last thing to do in your professional email is to include an appropriate closing or signature followed by your name.

Here is an example:

Best Regards,

Jane Smith

Now, let’s talk about DOs and DON’Ts

The DOs of a professional email

  1. Keep it short

Your professional email should be as short as possible. Here’s why. When your email is lengthy, the recipient will most likely just skim through. This can make them lose some vital details in the body of your email. So, instead of writing a lengthy email, keep it short by going straight to the point. As soon as they respond, you can go ahead to include more details that you left out in the first email.

  1. Proofread to avoid errors
Proofread your email

Always make sure you proofread your emails to avoid spelling and grammatical errors. It’s a professional email. So, it’s important to ensure that everything is done correctly so that your recipient will take you seriously.

The DON’Ts of a professional email

  1. Avoid using playful fonts

Again, to be take seriously, you need to understand that your professional email is not a creativity class or any of that. You have to keep things formal. So, stay away from playful fonts when writing.

  1. Avoid cracking jokes

You are not familiar with your recipient. Always remember that when writing a professional email. So, don’t crack jokes, or go about asking about their welfare and that of their family. Just get straight to business.