A Young Professional’s Guide to Email Opening Sentences
Thousands of emails are sent to their respective recipients every single day. E-communication is a significant part of our lives to the point of taking it for granted. Unorganized thoughts, rudeness, grammatical errors, and stuffy paragraphs plague the majority of emails. These alone are enough for the recipient to the “delete” button.
In that regard, how many of us know how to write a professional message and an engaging email opening sentence?
The purpose of this guide is to teach you how to write an email opening sentence. I will also provide you with tips on writing a professional email. It is to further aid you in the career world. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started. 😉
❓ Why Should I Learn how to Write a Professional Email?
1The Age of Technology
Tasks are made easier and more efficient thanks to the wonders of technology. We are constantly surrounded by phones and computers everyday. Communicating via an online platform is a norm in the 21st century— we write emails, posts, and status updates. Therefore, we should utilize these technological advancements to hone our email writing skills.
I’ll give you two questions:
- Have you experienced being asked to send a soft copy of your paper to your teacher?
- If you’re a job seeker, have you encountered a job description that states, “Please send your resumé at firstname.lastname@example.org?
See? It’s almost inevitable to avoid online communication in today’s world. A professional email indicates professionalism and strong communication skills.
2An Edge in the Workplace
Honing your written communication skills is a must!
You have to practice your online e-communication skills as early as now!
- Even if you are applying for a job, you are still required to demonstrate it to your future employer. This is a plus point for them.
- Developing your written communication skills is a must to land a higher position in the company.
- In the eyes of your boss or professor, a well-written email shows that you are articulate and professional— that’s cool! Moreover, it gives them a good impression about you.
On the other hand, a poorly written email may jeopardize your superior’s impression of you or your career.
So, what are you waiting for? Start learning now!
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👔 What Makes an Email Professional?
These factors make an email professional:
Adding “Dear sir/ma’am” or “Hello” are great opening email sentences. It’s like writing a letter to your loved one.
I will talk more about these salutations later in detail, as these are used situationally.
2Concise and Straightforward
You don’t rant in an email, especially if it’s addressed to your superior. Remove unnecessary words and sentences because people have short attention spans. Chances are, they will only scan your email before moving on to the next one. You have to hold their attention before it’s too late!
Thus, learning to write concisely is a necessary skill to engage your reader, akin to finding an awesome title for your blog posts.
- Imagine your professor asking you to draft a 500-word essay. For some, 500 words are not enough to articulate their arguments. Hence, a limit is imposed to discipline you into writing concisely.
You don’t need to meet a specific word count in emails. In this case, the less words you use, the better 😉.
People these days are so busy that they don’t have ample time to read your email. For example, using bullet points to organize information is one way to save your reader’s time.
I’m sure your teacher told you not to cram everything in one paragraph, right? It’s also the same case with emails. Learn to divide content into readable paragraphs.
- Ask yourself: “Who’s going to read a wall of text?”
Don’t forget that your recipient’s inbox might be overflowing with unanswered messages. Get straight to the point and make his/her life easier 😉.
It’s a challenge to discern the person’s tone in written communication.
- Be sure to add “please,” “thank you,” and a greeting/salutation in your email. It shows respect towards the recipient.
- Reflect on the way you phrase your message. You might be perceived as unfriendly or rude. It is also possible to hurt the other party’s feelings!
And please, no sarcastic remarks or jokes.
5Free of error
Been there, done that. I once sent an incorrectly phrased message to someone on Gmail. Well, I have to send another one immediately. Oh man!
- You have to check if your email is free of grammatical errors. It’s embarrassing. Imagine Think of it as writing a mistake-free academic paper for school.
- Ask someone to proofread the draft. You can never go wrong with that.
Mistakes cannot be salvaged once it’s out there. Therefore, it’s essential to proofread and edit your email before clicking “send”.
🎣 How to Write a Catchy email Opening Sentence?
1Consider your Recipient!
Begin your email with an opening salutation. As mentioned previously, you may choose to write “Dear sir/ma’am.”
- However, there’s a catch in using this salutation. You can’t write “Dear sir/Mr. /Ms.” if you’re unsure of the recipient’s gender. When in doubt, don’t use it.
- Alternatively, writing “Dear sir/ Mr. /Ms.” is okay if you’re 100% sure of the person’s gender.
- Other opening salutations include: “To whom it may concern” and “Greetings.” The latter is followed by an honorific and the other party’s last/first name or just his/her full name.
Use their last names if your relationship is formal. Look at the example below:
Dear Ms. Smith,
You may choose to write their first name in informal settings or you developed a close relationship with a colleague. For example:
On the other hand, “Hello” maintains an air of professionalism with sounding too informal. It’s better than “Hey.” Here’s how you can use it:
Hello Ms. Smith. / Hello Charlotte.
Use “Hi [Person’s last name/first name]” if you want to be perceived as friendly and casual by the recipient. My recipients usually respond with “Hi” when my email opening sentence begins with a “Hello.”
Take note: You may simply write “Hello” or “Dear” followed by the person’s full name if you want a more gender-neutral approach. Also, using “Good morning/day/evening” is risky because you don’t know when the recipient will read it.
2Reflect on the Purpose of your Email!
Ask yourself: “Why am I writing an email?”
➡ A. For inquiries, requests, and follow-ups:
- “I am writing to inquire about the company’s event this month.”
- “I am writing to make a reservation…”
- “I am writing to express my interest in applying as a….”/ “I am writing to apply as a…”
- “I would like to inquire about…”
- “I would like to follow up on…” / “To follow up on…”
- “Would it be possible to…”
➡ B. For requesting an interview:
- “We are [names] in [University name] looking to interview you for our thesis on the benefits of reading books as a hobby.” This is an opening email sentence used for interview requests.
Interview requests are usually phrased that way, although I have classmates who even add the course they are taking in college.
➡ C. For thanking someone:
- “Thank you for the prompt/quick reply/response.”
- “Thank you for your message.”
- “Thank you for the update.”
- “Thank you for your work.” (Used to appreciate someone’s work or thank him/her for the accomplished task.)
- “Thank you for considering…”
➡ D. For confirming an email:
- “This is to confirm our appointment at Room 101 on Wednesday at 12 noon.” (Write all the relevant details)
- “This is to confirm your reservation at…” (Let’s say someone wanted to reserve a room)
- “We are happy to let you know that…”
➡ E. For attachments
- “Please see the PDF/DOCX file attached.”
- “Please refer to the attached file of our statement.”
- “The attached document contains my…”
➡ F. For apologizing and expressing dissatisfaction and regret:
- “We regret to inform you that…”
- “I would like to express my dissatisfaction…”
- “We apologize for the inconvenience…”
➡ G. For congratulating and complimenting someone:
- “Congratulations on your promotion…”
- “I love your insights about…”
An email opening sentence highly depends on the context and the recipient, including your relationship with him/her. Some of these opening sentences may or may not be applicable in certain situations. Rephrase and use them accordingly.
📋 10 Professional Email Writing Tips
1Add a Closure
For example, you can say “thank you” or “regards” when you end your email. An email will appear as “incomplete” without a closing statement.
It’s basic netiquette. It’s disrespectful when you don’t write “please” or “thank you” in your email. Remember, there’s a person behind the screen.
Avoid writing messages in all caps unless you are referring to an acronym (Ex: ASEAN, EU, UN). Think before you type, don’t let your emotions control you.
Be brief! For emailing teachers, you have to include your time slot in his/her subject along with your name. I do that when I’m emailing my professors for the first time.
5Bear in Mind the Subject Line
It’s basically a squashed summary of your email. Be specific! Don’t just write “Paper” when you mean “Final Paper- World War II (Smith).” Teachers will often give you a default subject line to use.
6No Text Speak or Internet Slang (Lol!)
You are writing a professional email for work or school. Save your internet slang and text speak for forums.
7Use Smileys 😄
It is fine to embed smileys. Smileys symbolize friendliness and cordiality. However, its usage is situational and they should only be used sparingly. Don’t overload your email with smileys.
8Know When to Shift from E-messaging to Face-to-Face Communication
Resolving disputes via email is difficult. So, it is best to talk to the recipient himself/herself when the both of you are not arriving at a middle ground.
9Utilize the Signature Bar
Write your name, school/company, position/course, and contact details. The latter is important because your recipient will know how to contact you besides e-messaging.
10Proofread and Double Check!
Need a second pair of eyes? Have someone proofread your email before sending it. Please ensure that the attachments in your email are correct. I once submitted my outdated resume to a company— I’ve never felt so ashamed in my whole life.
Don’t attach a recipe or a game walkthrough when you actually intend to send a financial report!
Online communication is all the rage, as technology allows us to communicate with someone through email.
Sure, anyone can write an email, but that does not mean everyone is an expert at it. It takes constant practice to write an appropriate email opening sentence. Hey, even drafting a professional email requires time and practice.
I hope you learned something new. Good luck!