Tips for Writing Professional Emails
The Beyond the Boroughs Scholarship committee receives many emails from students, and we felt that it would be helpful to include tips for writing professional emails.
It is extremely important that any email correspondence on your part reflects your utmost commitment and care. The following guidelines will help you to write appropriate emails, now and in the future, which in turn will help you establish a strong first impression.
- Treat email the same way you would a formal letter: It should be completely error-free. That means you should avoid typos, spelling errors, or other careless mistakes. An error-free email demonstrates that you are a serious candidate and that you care about the scholarship opportunity.
- Proofread your email several times for spelling and grammar mistakes. You should also read your email out loud twice before you send it; this helps to catch any hidden mistakes or awkward sentences.
- Use a specific, appropriate subject heading for the email, such as “John Brown’s Application” (instead of Application”) or “Question Regarding Application” (instead of “what do I do?”).
- No smiley faces, winking eyes, cartoons, or clip art. This works for communicating with your friends through instant messaging, but not for writing to someone who does not know you.
- DO NOT TYPE WORDS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT TO SHOUTING.
- Do not use exclamation marks unnecessarily!!!!!
- Do not write how you speak (“like,” “so,” “um,” “anyway”) or use slang.
- No abbreviations (lol, fyi, btw); write out every word.
- Use a professional signature. This could be your name and phone number beneath it. Adding your phone number helps ensure that the person you are writing will not have to look far for your contact information.
Short and Sweet
- Emails should be clear and concise.
- Use short paragraphs with spaces between each paragraph to make it easier on your reader.
Greeting and Closing
- Use an appropriate greeting followed by a comma or a colon (instead of “Hey there,” use “Dear Committee Members” or “To Whom it May Concern”).
- Use an appropriate closing (“Thank you,” “Best,” “Sincerely,” “Regards”).
- Check your email on a daily basis and reply to all emails within 24 hours.
- Do not send or reply to email when you are sleepy, angry, or otherwise distracted!
- Make sure you have a professional email address. Your first name and last name or first initial and last name are safe choices, not something made up and informal (email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org). If your name is already taken by someone else, you can add a number or a middle name to it (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Wait to fill in the “To:” email address field until you are 100% confident that your email is perfect. This will protect you from accidentally sending the email before you are ready.