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Email Etiquette

This guide will help you craft emails that are professional.

Boogard, Kat. 2016. How to Write Better Emails: From Subject Line to Sign-off. [Streaming video]. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2016/09/29/25-email-etiquette-rules-that-are-worthy-of-a-reminder/#781b97e32dd2.

Consider Your Email Address:

It is considered good professional practice to use an email account that identifies you as the owner.  Email addresses with names like CatzRCute@gmail.com are viewed as unprofessional, are not likely to be read, or may end up in a junk or spam folder.

The Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing your reader will see when they look at their email list.  Things to consider about the subject line:

  • Your reader likely receives hundreds of emails a day from various sources.
  • Your email subject line should get the reader's attention.
  • Your email subject line should tell the reader what you need.
    • Be short
    • Be specific

Your Greeting

Like your subject line, your greeting can set the tone of your email.  A respectful greeting is required.  If you are familiar with the person you are emailing, you may use their first name. However, if you are uncertain how the person wishes to be addressed, err on the side of respect and address them by their last name. The following greeting examples are acceptable:

  • Dear Dr. Smith,
  • Dear Mr. Smith,
  • Dear Mark,
  • Hello Dr. Smith,
  • Hello Mr. Smith,
  • Hello Mark,

Writing the Body of Your Email

In the body of your email, be sure to include the following:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Tell the reader why you are writing.
  • Tell the reader what you want from them.
  • Tell the reader when you need it done by. If you need something by a deadline, do not wait until the last minute to make a request.
  • Give the reader time to respond. 

Pay attention to the tone of your email.  The reader does not have the benefit of assessing your body language to understand the intent of what you are saying.  Remember:

  • Be courteous! Making demands will not go over well.  Make polite requests instead.
  • Be brief.
  • Write complete sentences with correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Avoid emotionally charged emails. Come back to it later when you are calm!
  • Avoid writing in ALL CAPS.  It is viewed as shouting.  
  • This is a no emoji zone.  Save those for social media posts and text messages to your friends.

Closing Your Email

When you are finished with the body of your email, end with a professional close.  The following examples are acceptable:

  • Sincerely,
  • Best,
  • Kind regards,

Provide your first and last name.

Example:

Sincerely,

Jane Doe