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How to Write a Professional Email

how to write a professional emailLost in a world of informal communication, it is common to not know how to write a professional email. With the average person receiving fifty texts per day (click to read the study), we get caught up in the “lols” and “jks” of today’s communication. Often, it is difficult to find the words that are the foundation to a professional email.

Part of a successful education is mastering the skill of professional email writing. While nurses are seen more hands on working with patients, communication is vital, including written communication.

Instant communication is a benefit of email messages; however, it comes at a high cost. Misspelling, incorrect grammar, and the use of “u” instead of “you” are only a few examples that depict an unprofessional image. Scurrying around to undo a sent email message does not have to be in your future if you learn the basics to professional email writing.

When speaking with instructors and faculty at school, potential job connections, or coworkers, it is important to remember to be professional in all communication. Welcome to the blog on professional email writing.

Here are some tips to help you write a professional email.

Choose an appropriate subject line and make it count

It may be easier to come up with the right subject line after you complete your email. Make it short, sweet, and to the point, but also formal.  Visualize the subject line like the title of a paper; make sure each word is capitalized, and it summarizes the main reason for the communication.

Your subject line is the first thing read by the recipient. Be sure that the subject line makes the right impression and is not misleading. A great email subject line can set the tone for the remainder of the email. No matter what tone you are interested in relaying, professionalism is key.

Make sure you address who you are emailing and say hello

You may just address the person with their name (using Dr., Mrs., Ms., Mr., etc.) or say Hello (then add their name). Refrain from using “hey” or “hi”. This isn’t any old email being sent out to a dear friend. Take your reputation seriously. Make sure the recipient knows you meant to send the email their way.

Address the person in the correct way

Especially in the medical field, it is important to address the recipient of your email correctly. If the person is a doctor, address them as Dr.  If you do not know whether the person is married and they are a female, it is okay to write Ms.  If you do not know the recipient’s title, a quick search on the school or company website might give you the answer.

Make sure you use the proper and formal tone

Remember, this is not a text message to your friend. You must write in a professional tone.  Think about the person you are writing to.  If you are writing to a professor or boss, you want to ensure that the email is as formal as possible.

Always sign your name (first and last)

You may write sincerely or just simply put your name and title. The more popular sign off is simply “Best.” With several different ways to sign off, it can be hard to decipher which sign off is the best for the situation. For more information on sign offs, click here to read 57 Ways to Sign Off on an Email.

An easy way to make sure your email has an appropriate sign off is to select a generic, professional sign off (such as “Best”) and set it on automatic. When you send off an email, every response will have your selected sign off.

Check for grammatical errors and typos before sending

Reread your email and make sure you do not have any grammatical or typographical errors. First impressions cannot be undone with a click of a button as some email can be.  Do not count on spellcheck.  Again, make sure you are using proper English and not abbreviations.

Eliminate exclamation points or all capitals as these can make it come across that you are yelling or in the very least, upset to a certain degree. Lastly, check for run-on sentences.  Remember, you want to write this email as if you were writing a paper for school.

If you are angry, do not send the email just yet

When reviewing your email, if you find several statements that may come across as angry or see several sentences or phrases that are IN ALL CAPS, save the email to your drafts and wait until you calm down before sending it. Once you are calm, go back and check the email.  Make sure you edit it before sending to reflect your calm state.  There may be things in the email that you typed out of anger and do not want to send.

Be professional in all further communication

Great, you’ve sent out the initial email and have received an email response. This is no time to let your professionalism guard down. Continue the communication in a professional manner. While you may be tempted to add some individual flair to the email, it is okay to show your personality through emails, but do so in a manner that will not put your professional reputation in jeopardy.

Still address the receiver of the email in your correspondence.  You may start out by saying “Thank you for your email” or “Thank you for getting back to me”.  Just make sure your writing is consistent.

When you send a professional email, it shows the recipient that you are serious about your education, your job, and their time.

If you need help, please contact Samantha Hanlon, Counselor in Learner Advising and Life Resources.  She is happy to proofread emails and help you write a professional email.

“Please remember to always try to send all instructors and faculty professional emails and use your Nightingale email.  It is great to start practicing this skill before you start your professional career and we are here to help you do that.” – Samantha Hanlon

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