In the professional world, clear and effective communication is paramount. This is especially true for emails, which often serve as the primary method of communication between colleagues, clients, and other businesses. Knowing how to properly format an email can ensure your message is understood and well-received.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write an effective email, the proper email format, and how to make sure your message is clear and professional. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find several formal email examples for different occasions, including how to format an email for a cover letter. Feel free to use them for reference!
A checklist to use before sending
Before sending your email, always make sure to check a few vital points:
- Make sure your email address is appropriate. If you’re writing from a personal email, your address should look like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about creating a professional email address.
- If you're emailing on behalf of a company, think about including a professional signature with your contact information, including phone number and social media links.
Learn more about creating a professional email signature.
- Double-check the recipient's name and email. Make sure you’re writing to the right person and spell their name correctly.
- Stick to a professional font. Although many email clients let you change the font of your emails, use something conservative like Arial or Sans Serif. Avoid playing with different colors and using all caps.
- Don’t forget to attach files. If you’re sending someone a document, make sure to attach it. Name your file properly so a recipient can guess what’s inside (e.g., “Marketing Budget Q4.”)
Formatting a formal email
Emailing is all about context, so before drafting your message, take a moment to think about your relationship with the recipient. Is it your boss, colleague, or potential partner? This will help you define the appropriate level of formality - if you’re in doubt, it’s safer to stick to a more formal version. Here are the key components your message should contain:
1. Email Subject Line
A good subject line informs recipients what the message is about and why they should read it. Try to make your subject line clear, specific, and concise. For example:
- Marketing Budget Q4: Please review by August, 31
- Meet the new VP of Engineering
- Spark for Android: First impressions from our users
- Requesting vacation for Aug, 10-20
If you need help picking a proper salutation, check out our comprehensive list of email greetings. Depending on the level of formality, your salutations can take various forms.
Here are some standard greeting examples:
- Hi [Name],
- Hello [Name],
- Dear [Name],
- Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./Professor [Last name],
3. Email body
Now, it’s time to craft the main part of your email. Here are some points to think about:
- Explain what you’re writing about. If you’re emailing a stranger, briefly introduce yourself and get straight to the point. State the purpose of your email clearly so a person can understand why you’re emailing them and how they can help.
- Value the reader’s time. Provide a recipient with any additional information they need to reply. At the same time, try to keep your email short and simple, and don’t overload it with extra details.
- Make your email easy to read. Break your message into short paragraphs and take advantage of headings and lists. Where appropriate, emphasize the key information with bold or italics. Your aim to make your email as structured and easy to skim as possible.
If you want your recipient to do something, a formal closing tells a recipient what’s next and includes a specific call to action. If you’re just wrapping up the discussion you’ve previously had, end on a friendly note to show a reader you’re willing to keep in touch with them.
Here are some common phrases you can use to sign off:
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- Thanks again,
By following these guidelines, you can increase your open rates and ensure that your emails are professional and effective.
Formal email examples
Please note that these samples are for reference, and we recommend you adjust them to match the tone and level of formality appropriate for a particular recipient and occasion.
Example 1: Cover Letter
Subject: [Role] Application
Dear [Company Name],
I am writing to express my interest in the [Job Title] position. With a [Degree or Professional Qualification] in [Your Field of Study] and [Number of Years] years of experience in [Your Current or Previous Relevant Job Role], I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your team at [Company Name].
In my previous role at [Previous Company], I [Briefly Describe a Relevant Achievement or Project]. This experience honed my skills in [Specific Skills Relevant to the New Job], which I believe align well with the requirements for the [Job Title] role. For instance, [Provide a Specific Example of How You Used a Skill or Addressed a Challenge Relevant to the New Job].
Enclosed is my resume, which highlights my qualifications. I look forward to the possibility of discussing this exciting opportunity with you. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience.
Example 2: Announcement
Subject: Meet the new Customer Support Representative
I am pleased to introduce you to [Name] who is starting today as a Customer Support Representative. She will be providing technical support and assistance to our users, making sure they enjoy the best experience with our products.
Feel free to greet [Name] in person and congratulate her with the new role!
Example 3: Business follow-up email
Subject: RE: [subject line of your previous email]
Following up on my previous email about the collaboration with your website. I’m still interested in writing a guest post about the best UX practices for dating apps. With 10 years of experience in the mobile industry, I have a lot of insights to share with your audience.
Please let me know if you’re interested in collaborating!
Example 4: Request
Subject: Vacation request for September, 10-15
Dear Mr./Ms. [Last name],
I would like to request a vacation from Monday, September 9th till Friday, September 13th.
I will make sure to complete all my current projects and pending tasks in advance before the vacation. My colleagues [Name] and [Name] will cover my responsibilities during my absence.
Looking forward to your approval.
Example 5: Question
Subject: Do you have student discounts for the Annual Coding Conference?
I would like to ask if you provide student discounts for tickets to the Annual Coding Conference.
I’m a full-time student at the University of Texas and I’m very excited about your event, but unfortunately, the ticket price is too high for me. I would appreciate if you could offer me an educational discount.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Example 6: Response to a complaint
I’m sorry for the unpleasant experience you had in our store and I can understand your frustration. I have forwarded your complaint to our management team, and we’ll do our best to make sure this never happens again.
I refunded your purchase, and your funds should be with you shortly. We also want to offer you a 10% discount for your next purchase in our store. Please use this promo code to get a discount: [link].
Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience you had.
So, by ensuring your emails are clear, respectful, and professional, you'll foster positive and effective communication with your professional network. Whether you're seeking a formal email example or just curious about the best ways to sign off, you can now master the art of the art of email for all your professional interactions.