How to write a professional email

Use these guidelines to write a professional email.Whether you are pursuing a nursing career or work in a veterinary office, it’s imperative that you know how to write a professional email. This is a skill that will not only help you during your job search, but will also make sure that you present yourself in a manner that demonstrates your competence and reliability. Email is a primary means of communication among business and health care professionals, so make sure you get rid of the LOLs and smiley faces.

Specific subject

The subject line of our emails is often something that we dash off at the last minute, but when sending an email to a colleague or your boss, it’s important that you make it as specific as possible. The person on the receiving end should be able to tell exactly what the email will be about without even opening it up.1 Keep it short, sweet and to the point – less than five words if possible.2

Salutation

There are innumerable salutations to choose from when writing an email – from “hey” to “hi” to “what’s up,” there are a number of directions you can take. The salutation sets the tone for the rest of you email, so it’s important that you keep it professional. Use the formula “Dear + title + last name” followed by a comma. If you receive a reply email from that individual signed with his or her first name, feel free to use that means of address moving forward.3

Keep content simple

Even if you have a number of things you wish to address in your email, the most important thing to do is to keep it simple. Everything should be clearly stated and easy to read. Make sure each paragraph is no more than a few sentences long, and that you use bullets, subheadings and bolded words or dates to highlight important points.4

1 USA Today College, ’4 tips for writing a perfect professional e-mail,’ July 29, 2013 – http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/career/4-tips-for-writing-a-perfect-professional-e-mail
2 National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural training and Education, ‘Guidelines for Writing Professional E-mail,’ Dec. 2010 – https://www.training.nih.gov/writing_professional_e-mail
3 National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural training and Education, ‘Guidelines for Writing Professional E-mail,’ Dec. 2010 – https://www.training.nih.gov/writing_professional_e-mail
4 USA Today College, ’4 tips for writing a perfect professional e-mail,’ July 29, 2013 – http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/career/4-tips-for-writing-a-perfect-professional-e-mail