You can carry on four text conversations at once and can write a 5,000 word essay in a night, but can you write a professional email?
One of the most common complaints the QM Careers Centre receives from recruiters and employers in all sectors is that the quality of student and graduate emails is poor and, quite frankly, unprofessional. We’ve compiled some of our top tips to help you write your emails like a true professional.
- Grammar is key. Don’t use abbreviations (e.g. LOL, ROFL) and always use capital letters at the start of a sentence and make sure you use punctuation. Also, be sure to capitalise the letter ‘I’ when you are referring to yourself in a sentence. A lowercase ‘i’ throughout an email is a big turnoff to employers.
- Re-read all written content. It’s easy to make little mistakes. Always check for spelling and grammar errors before sending an email.
- Know your Cc’s from your Bcc’s. Cc means ‘copying’ someone into your email. The term originates from when people used to use typewriters and had to ‘carbon copy’ (or Cc) another recipient into the letter.
- Cc’ing other people into an email is quite common in an office when the content of the email is of interest to more people than just the primary recipient. All recipients can see who is Cc’d into each email.
- Bcc’ing or ‘blind carbon copying’ someone in means that other recipients can’t see that the Bcc’d person has been included in the email. This can be particularly important when you send out an email to multiple recipients and you want their email addresses to remain private.
- Make sure your subject line is relevant. A subject line is meant to tell the recipient what the email is about. For example, if an email is sent to arrange a meeting, it should say something like ‘Meeting this week’.
- Include greeting. ‘Hi’ is an appropriate greeting if you are contacting someone you have met or emailed before. ‘Dear’ is more appropriate if you are contacting someone for the first time or are emailing an important person in the organisation.
- Keep it clear. Ultimately a professional email needs to be clear, polite and appropriate. Make sure you state why you are writing the email within the first couple of sentences.
- Always sign off your email. ‘Best wishes,’ ‘Kind Regards’, ‘Sincerely’, etc.
For an example of a professional email and for more tips on preparing yourself to start a graduate job or internship, take our ‘Transitioning into the Workplace’ online module. To sign up email Lindsey Shirah at firstname.lastname@example.org