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Writing business emails

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Published: 10 December 2020

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Email is one of the most common forms of digital communication, both in and outside the workplace.

When you graduate and start your first job, you’re likely to be sending and receiving lots of emails daily, no matter what industry you want to work in.

That means it’s important you understand how to write an email in a business environment – how do you ‘speak’, what language should you use and how do you start and end an email.

1) Work out your goal

Before sending anything, make sure you know why you’re writing the email in the first place.

Understanding this before you start typing makes it easier to check you’ve included everything – text, subject line, recipients and attachments.

2) Think about your audience

Who you’re writing to will change your tone. Although in a workplace all your communication needs to be professional, you’re likely to address the CEO differently to your close colleagues.

3) Be brief

A common issue with business emails is people’s habits to write far too much. Make sure you’re writing as little as possible whilst still getting in all the information you need to. A good place to start is by taking out anything that’s not directly relevant to the topic you’re discussing.

4) Proofread

Business emails should not have any spelling or grammar mistakes. This affects the way people view your work and your professionalism. Use a free spell checker like Grammarly to make sure everything’s correct before you hit send.

5) Etiquette is important

Etiquette, or the practices that make up behaviour, is vital in a professional email. Use polite greetings and closings like “Dear [NAME]’ and ‘Kind regards’. Another important etiquette tip is to avoid asking for something outside of work hours or when your recipient is on leave.

6) Follow up

Finally, make sure you follow up your original email. This is true whether the person you’ve contacted has responded or not. If you have to ‘chase’ someone, make sure you’re polite about it – you don’t know how much work they might have on. And don’t forget to thank them when they do respond.

Whether you’re going to be starting your first job straight out of university or you’re re-entering the workforce after changing careers, learning how to write professional emails is a vital skill you need to know.

Learn more about jobs skills on the Digital Literacy Skills section of the Library website.

For more information, visit our Careers and Employability page. You can read about employability skills on our news pagesFind out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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