When writing a professional email you must adhere to basic rules in order to maintain your professionalism. To avoid looking careless or incompetent follow these rules:



The subject line should be relevant to the email content and your reader. Avoid subject headings like “Important” or “Read This” as that looks like spam.



Open your email with the reason as to why you are writing. If you waffle too much at the beginning you risk the chance of your reader getting bored and moving on to his/her next email.


Be Specific

Be specific with what you are writing about. Avoid writing “This must be done today”. Describe or list exactly what needs done.



Remember to use the correct punctuation. Do not use all capitals as it will seem as though you are shouting. However use a capital where there should be one.


When writing a professional email you should not use text language or abbreviations such as “LOL”. Since we use texting, emails and social media messages for our private lives it is easy to let language like this slip into professional emails however it will make you look extremely unprofessional.


Keep it brief

Keep your professional email as brief as possible. If you have more than two or three short paragraphs then you should consider attaching a document with the rest of the information. This will allow you to put the main points in your email and gives the reader a chance to decide if they want to read the attachment there and then or if they want to set aside time for it later. People tend to feel slightly bombarded if they open an email to find it’s a page long.


Be Polite

Always be polite. You may be frustrated at the circumstances which have resulted in you having to send this email however you should avoid revealing your feelings via email. This could cause problems with the recipient. First of all it could come off a lot worse than you intended. Secondly, you don’t know what is going on in that person’s life. They could be struggling with something personal or perhaps having a problem with work. You aggravating the situation with a nasty email is only going to make things worse.



Remember to say please and thank you. Keep in mind the last point about not revealing your feelings in an email. Adding a “thank you” inappropriately could come across as being passive aggressive.

Signature Block

Include a signature block with relevant contact information. Usually your name, business address and contact number is sufficient. Anything that isn’t essential information for the recipient is not necessary.



Always proofread your email before you send it. Taking time to edit your message is important as it’s easy to give your email the wrong tone merely from writing too quickly and not proofreading. Also any careless mistakes can be corrected. Professional emails should be treated with the same care and attention as the rest of your professional work.



Reply on time

Reply promptly to important messages. If you require some time to collect information or make a decision as part of your response then you should reply with an explanation of what you are doing. If you know how long you need you should include that in the email. If not you should advise you will reply as soon as possible.

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