Let’s Chat…Professional Email Attributes!

Welcome back, everyone! As we spend this week discussing industries that are hiring and ways to increase your candidate appearance, we also thought it would be fun to touch on a topic all working professionals encounter … emails! Many of us receive and send dozens of emails DAILY, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve run into a few parody videos on social media that expose different signatures, generational approaches to a ‘professional tone’, and humor around the topic. So, keep reading below for our take on email professionalism as well as a few tips on how to spice up and differentiate your personality through the screen…

Email Professionalism and Customization

  • Subject Line: Kindly, get to the point! If the email is urgent, express that in the subject line but use it sparingly so as to make sure that when it is used, it holds value. Maintain awareness of your ability to tag emails for urgency and priority in peoples’ inboxes – and layer on your clarity by including “URGENT:” or “RESPONSE NEEDED:” if the email has to be resolved before any other!
    • Other key terms to use in subject lines: “Request:”, “Review:”, “Runthrough”, “Walkthrough”… remember, everyone is jumping between meetings and projects throughout the day, so the more context you give to your meeting invites or email subject line, the easier it will be for you to obtain replies. This is especially impactful when working with cross-functional teams that might need a refresh on your topic!
  • Greetings: Depending on your relationship with the recipient, use a greeting. If you do not know the recipient, you should be more formal with your greeting (using an intro like “To whom it may concern…”). Setting the tone of an email through a greeting is a great way to initiate professionalism while maintaining pleasantry. If you have never spoken to the individual you’re corresponding with, this is also a great time to introduce yourself (your role/reports/team you are placed within) to give your reader a better understanding of why you are reaching out.
    • If you’re new to a company, make sure to pay attention to how other employees initiate their emails to stay aligned with the tone and terms used! Examples include: “Good morning ____,”, “Hello ___,” “Hi ___” – no “Hey”!
  • Purpose: With everything that we are tasked with throughout the day, it is reasonable to assume that no one wants to spend extra time reading emails that drag on. If you need action by a specific date, make sure to lead with that, as open-ended emails can be confusing. If your purpose includes a timeline, due date, request on behalf of a specific person on the chain, etc., make sure to bold or italicize that vital piece of information to ensure you draw attention. Setting up expectations for an email is also an effective strategy, see below:

Example: “The below includes a summary of our meeting this morning (4/6) and next steps:

  • Who:
  • What:
  • When:”

and… always tag people who are assigned tasks for visibility and accountability!

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