Your Complete Guide to Writing A Professional Email

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Sending a professional email has different purposes that include exchanging information, putting an appointment for a meeting, asking for a salary raise, or even applying for a job. Being proficient at writing emails is a quality that will be needed whether you’re a candidate, employee, or entrepreneur. Let’s know how to write a professional email to achieve your goals.


What Are the Major Elements of a Professional Email Structure?

An email is like any other message, it has a sender, a recipient, and a reason for sending. A professional email has a fixed structure, and each element in it has its role, and they’re as follows:


1- Email Address

It’s the source that the sender uses to send an email to a recipient. To make it more relevant in business emails, the email address is usually in that form This section appears to the recipient before opening the email, which makes them feel safe to display.


2- Subject Line

Why you’re sending this email? A single email could be part of deal negotiation, follow-up, inquiry, or request. It’s another section that the recipient can see before viewing your message. 


It should clearly represent the body of the email. According to the subject line, the recipient has to expect relatable content to the subject line. Any kind of misleading subject line prevents the recipient from reading the email to the end. 


3- Salutation

How do you start a professional email greeting? Good question! After opening the email, the recipient should find the salutation at the beginning. Is there one recipient or many? Is the recipient a coworker or a manager? Do you personally know the recipients and their marital status? 


The answers to these questions are factors that guide you to a suitable salutation. Using “Dear” is the perfect choice for a formal salutation, this could be beside the position title only, or  First Name/ Full Name/ Last Name, or you could even add Mr./Ms./Mrs. between dear and the name. 


According to the identity of the recipient, you will choose your greeting. In case you don’t know who actually receive this professional email, you could just use “To whom it may concern”, but even if you don’t know the recipient’s name or title, “Dear all” would be better.


4- Body

It’s the content of the message. It consists of 3 main parts, the start, which is an introduction to the topic you’re discussing that should hook the recipient’s attention, and the middle, which is the core of the email that illustrates what you clearly want to discuss using your presentation and negotiation skills, and the end, which is a smooth closing encourages the recipient to reply, do the request included in the email, or other actions. 


5- Signature

After finishing the email, the recipients should find your name, occupation, and other contact information they could need in the future. You can also embed your personal picture to be part of the signature. Adding links that access LinkedIn profiles and portfolios will surely be a plus. 


4 Steps to Consider Before Writing Your Professional Email

An email is one of the most efficient and widely used forms of communication and documentation in the work environment, not fully mastering this tool could make you behind,  here are 4 steps to care about before writing a professional email:


1- Use a formal email address

Check the email address you’re using to send the email, is it empty of nicknames, slang words, or many numbers? Then it’s good to go.


2- Choose an attractive subject line your recipient can understand

A subject line is the title of your email that drives the recipient to open or ignore it. Write a subject line that grabs the recipient’s attention considering 4 main points:

  1. It represents the objective of your email and its body.
  2. It coincides with the recipient’s occupation or role.
  3. It is clear and creates an urge to make the recipient open the email.
  4. It should be in the form of a Call to Action (CTA) if the event is suitable.


3- Make your font a strength point

Using a suitable font helps the recipients to read the professional email to the last word comfortably. The best fonts to use in this case are Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri.


4- Determine the attachments the email should include

Sending an empty email, that should have included attachments, puts you in an embarrassing situation. Before start writing your email, attach the files you need to send. Check the files out before sending by clicking on them and finding out how they appear and if there is anything wrong with them. 


5 Points to Cover on Writing a Professional Email

Here we discuss general principal points you should consider before, during, and after writing a professional email. They are crucial pieces of advice, and taking them into consideration makes writing any future professional email an easy task.


1- Before you start, determine your major objective! 

Like any other message, it has a purpose, which asks for action or waiting for a reaction from the recipient; Therefore, the professional email will prove its success when the recipient does what is necessary to the sender.


2- Indicate the right tone your email should encompass

Adopt a suitable official attitude in every email; however, the recipient is the main factor that controls your tone. Sending an email to a hiring manager differs from your direct manager, and they both differ from the way you email a coworker.


3- Keep the body clear and short

In writing your professional email, you should consider that the recipients have so many emails and messages that they should read and reply to. Try to keep your copy direct, comfortable to read, and easy to understand.


4- Don’t Double check, triple it if you can!

Proofread every single word in your email, and check grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Any accidental fault could change your recipient’s impression of your message. 


5- Your mission doesn’t end with pressing “Send”, follow-up!

Give your recipient a 48-hour period, then send a follow-up email that reminds them of the previous email’s main objective through a polite summary. Here, you show your recipient how determined you are in the topic discussed.


How to Start an Email Professionally

An email is like a letter that you want the reader reaches its end. Nearly, a perfect start is a major reason for successful emails. 


Developing a good impression from the early start comes from the good wishes when you hope to the recipient that he’s doing well in any form. It could be simple as “I hope all is well” or more specific like  “Hoping you’re having a good day/ you had a nice weekend.”


Fix the anchor in the first sentence! If it’s not your first contact with the recipient, you might not introduce yourself; However, if it’s the first email you send, include your self-introduction within the first paragraph, but start with an anchor line to make sure that you’ve grabbed the recipient’s attention. The anchor line could be a fact, statement, or pain point the recipient suffers from.


After the starting line, you should gradually show the reason for sending this professional email. Are you applying for a job? Do you need a salary rise? Are you sick and requesting a sick leave? Make it as clear and direct as possible in two or three sentences.


Professional email starting lines Examples

Here is a table that Whitecollars provides to you to be aware of all the professional email starting lines that include salutations and the suitable condition that you could use them, whether you’re starting a conversation or replying to an email.


Condition Salutation Condition Starting Line
If the recipients are one or two persons
  • Dear [Name],
  • Dear [Name] and [Name],
If the recipient doesn’t know who you are Allow Me to Introduce Myself
If the recipients are more than two persons
  • Dear all,
  • Hello everyone,
The recipient dealt with you at least once
  • Hope this email finds you well
  • I hope you enjoyed your weekend
  • I hope you’re doing well
  • I hope you’re having a great week
  • I hope you’re having a wonderful day
If you are not certain of the recipient’s name
  • Dear [Title],
The email is a follow-up
  • As we discussed on our call
  • As per our previous conversation
If you don’t know the identity of the recipient
  • Greetings,
  • Hello,
This email is a reply
  • It’s great to hear from you
  • Thank you for your help
  • Thank you for the update
  • Thanks for getting in touch
  • Thanks for the quick response


How to End a Professional Email

Same as the good starting line that develops a nice first impression, the sign-off or the closing sentence should be distinctive as it’s the last sentence the recipient sees in the email. 


The last paragraph in your email is a recap of the email details in a concentrated form, it also includes a CTA or a request that encourages the recipient to do the action you’re waiting for. 


The closing line represents the major objective of the email in one line, with a wish to receive a reply, have a meeting, or receive a call from the recipient. Then, it’s time to thank the recipient for his time.


Professional email ending lines Examples

Here is another table that illustrates how to sign off an email professionally in different conditions, where each purpose of sending an email has a suitable sign-off that completes the harmony of the email.


Condition Closing line/sign-off
For showing gratitude and requests
  • Thanks in advance
  • Thanks
  • I appreciate your [help/input/feedback.]
For all regular emails 
  • Regards
  • Sincerely
  • Best wishes
  • Warm wishes
  • With gratitude
  • Respectfully
Sending a CV/Sales Kit/Proposal
  • Thank you for your time
For accepting a job offer
  • Thank you for the opportunity
For an apology email
  • I trust we can put this situation behind us
  • We are excited to continue our partnership
  • I hope this apology closes the matter and enables us to move forward positively


Examples of Professional Emails

Professional emails have many purposes that employees could use for. It starts with job seeking, where a cover letter has to accompany the CV. Official requests, task inquiries, apology letters, and others are all forms that employees use during their work life cycle.


Cover Letter Example

A cover letter is a must that you should attach to any job application to illustrate the strong points that make you suitable for the vacancy; mentioning specific skills, experiences, and qualifications. Here’s an example:


Dear hiring manager [name],

I was excited when I read the job ad for the vacancy of [job title]. I believe that the experience I have perfectly match the duties of this position. I am enthusiastic about submitting my application.

My most recent position was at [company name], where I was a [job title]. Additionally, I have recently participated in a [mention an accomplishment in your last job that is relevant].

I have attached my resume to this email. This will help you learn more about my experience, education, and achievements.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]


Request Email Examples

They are professional emails that you send to offer an official request from the manager or a high board member, they are focused and to the point:


1- Vacation request 

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [Last name],

How are you? I hope you’re fine. Regarding the efforts, I’ve done and you’ve witnessed during the last project, I would like to request a vacation from [Date]  till [Date].

I will make sure to close all my current projects and complete pending tasks in advance before the vacation. I’ve made an agreement with my colleagues [Name] and [Name] to cover my responsibilities during my absence and any new task will be passed to them. When I return, the tasks become my responsibility. 

Looking forward to your approval.


[Your name]

[Job title]


2- Salary rise request 

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [Last name],

I am grateful for the opportunity to work for [Business name] as a [Job title]. Over the past [Duration of employment], my responsibilities at the company have obviously expanded, I always try to go the extra mile seeking business growth. The company policies have always valued employees on both financial and subjective sides. I  would, therefore, like to respectfully request a meeting to review my salary.

As you know, my salary has remained the same since [Date]. Since then, I have happily added some duties to my workload that have allowed me to contribute even more to the company. 

I believe that my growing contributions to the company and my new qualifications justify a pay rise.

I would like to meet you to discuss a raise in my salary. I look forward to hearing from you.


[Your name]

[Job title]


Apology Email Examples

These are examples of professional emails whose senders expressed their apologies to the recipients whether they were managers, coworkers, or even clients. The emails take into consideration of the apology structure as follows:


1- Apology to a client 

Dear [client’s name],

I’m sending this email asking you to accept my deepest apologies on behalf of [business name] for the poor experience you had and how negatively it affected you.

I would also thank you for bringing these issues to my attention through your official complaint and please know that we are making every effort to correct our mistakes to prevent these events from happening in the future.

Please accept a gift card, as a token of our apology, that makes using any of our services free of charge the next time. 

I hope to greet you again soon at [Business name].

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and job title]


2- Apology to a manager 

Dear [manager’s name],

I owe you an apology for giving you incorrect information about [event] on [date]. I regret any hardship I may have given you; it was not my goal to present false information.

Although I didn’t mean to mislead you, it appears that a thoughtless error led to the erroneous information. I promise to think more carefully in the future and take this experience’s lessons to heart.

Please do not hesitate to share any other concerns with me and I’d be glad to discuss them further. 

Best regards,

[Your name]


How to Reply to an Email Professionally 

A reply has the same structure as any other email. One of the major characteristics of a reply is being part of a thread, it’s not a starter of a conversation, it’s part of an ongoing conversation that could include different parties from different departments or businesses.


The important thing to remember with a reply is that the sender should use confirm receiving the recipient’s last email, even if it’s obvious you have received it. So,  you’ll write at the beginning expressions, like “I’ve received your email”, “I confirm receiving your email”, “Thank you for reaching out to me” or “In reply to the last email you sent”. 


How Do You Apologize Professionally in an Email

There are many reasons you can send an apology for. You might have missed a meeting, made accidental mistakes in a task, missed a deadline, or even fallen into a behavioral mistake due to work pressure. Everybody can do a mistake at work. But the way of apology is what makes it authentic and honest.


First of all, the subject line should represent that it’s an apology. Choose lines like “Please accept my apologies” or “An apology from [your name].”


Any apology has 3 parts that should be well illustrated to be an effective one. Each part has its role and can’t skip the other part’s roles, and they include:


  • Confession

It begins with the confession, where the one who made the mistake informs the other party that an action he has made was wrong and harmed them in a way. 


  • Empathy

This takes us to the second part, where the apologizing person shows empathy and mentions how this action might have harmed the other party’s time, work, or feelings


  • Solution

The third part discusses a practical solution that cancels the effect of the mistake made. It rebuilds a new connection with the recipient to reinforce the relationship that could be affected.


In the body of the email, you should use the first person “I” in an active voice clarifying the actual reason for this mistake like “I was under work stress.” 


Now, you can write a professional email with no faults or accidental errors. So, getting what you need from the recipient will be easier!


Writing cover letters will be a simple task by following Whitecollars’ guidance. If you need any help with your career, choose the best package we’re offering through the career counselling service

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