Career Development

How to Write a Professional Email For Any Occasion

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It’s important to learn how to write a professional email so you can succeed in the workplace and make a positive impression during your job search. An email can share important information and demonstrate your professionalism with employers, colleagues, stakeholders and clients. In this article, you can learn when and how to write a professional email with an example to help you write your own.

When to write a professional email

You may write a professional email in many situations, such as when you’re writing to a potential employer or responding to a colleague about the changes to a project. You also may write a professional email to your supervisor to report on a project, request a job transfer or resign from your position. While the details and audience of each professional email may differ, there are strategies that will help you write an email for almost anything related to your current or future workplace.

How to write a professional email

Follow these steps to write a professional email:

1. First, know your audience

Before beginning your email, consider your audience so you can maintain the appropriate tone and level of professionalism throughout your correspondence. In any professional email, you should be respectful and communicate clearly and efficiently, but your overall tone may differ depending on your audience. 

For example, if you are sending an email to your team about the upcoming summer party, a conversational tone could help you reinforce friendly relationships. However, an email to your company’s executives should use a formal tone and be free of jokes and slang. 

2. Second, greet them respectfully

Instead of immediately stating your email’s purpose, you should respectfully greet your recipient at the opening of your email. How you address your reader can establish the tone for the rest of your email and can clarify the relationship you have with that person. For example, if you have a formal relationship with the recipient, or if you are reaching out to this person for the first time, use their family name and appropriate titles, such as ‘Dear Ms. Kopje’ or ‘Dear Mr. Sandoval.’ 

If you have a friendly, casual relationship with the recipient, it may be more appropriate to use the individual’s first name, such as ‘Hi Diane.’ However, if you don’t know your reader, you can use a generic greeting like ‘Dear Sir,’ ‘Dear Madam’ or ‘To Whom it May Concern.’

3. Third, thank your recipient

Because an email asks a busy supervisor, colleague or potential employer to take time out of their schedule, expressing gratitude is an important element of professional correspondence. Being grateful demonstrates great respect and courtesy to your recipient.

For example, if you are emailing a company following an interview, thank them for the opportunity to discuss the position. If you are simply replying to an employer’s or a client’s question, thank them for contacting you. 

4. Fourth, identify your objective

Since those reading a professional email likely have many other commitments, you should get to the purpose of your email quickly. Be clear and brief about your reason for emailing. Once you have identified your objective, you can ensure that your email fully addressed that topic.

For example, you could write, ‘I’m sending this email to follow up on our interview’ or ‘I’d like to report on the recent results of our marketing campaign.’ 

5. Fifth, conclude with respect and gratitude

You can use the conclusion of your email to finish your correspondence with respect and to leave a positive impression with your recipient. This is a good place to once again express gratitude for their time and cooperation. You can also conclude by stating, ‘Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns’ or ‘I look forward to hearing back from you.’ 

You may also finish with a call-to-action, such as an invitation to read attached materials or to respond to the questions in your email.

Finally, finish your email with an appropriate, respectful closing followed by your name. ‘Sincerely,’ ‘Thank you,’ ‘Best’ and ‘Best Regards’ are appropriate closings to a professional email, but a more informal closing, such as ‘Cheers’ or ‘Thanks’ can work if you have a more casual relationship with the recipient.

6. Finally, proofread and revise

Before sending your email, you should proofread for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure it is clear and concise. A misspelled name or a missing word can affect the quality of a professional email. Proofread closely and carefully for grammar, spelling and errors, then make sure you have attached any files you promised in your email. 

If you are replying to a previous email, check to make sure you responded to the recipient’s questions and concerns. Depending on how important the email is, you can ask a friend or colleague to read through your correspondence to help you identify errors you may have missed. 

Professional email template

Use this template for creating your own professional email:

[Dear Mr./Ms./First name] or [To Whom it May Concern:] 

Thank you for [express gratitude for a previous interaction]. I am writing to [state the purpose of your email] 

Going forward, I hope to [goals for future communication].  

I have included [list additional materials] for your review. I appreciate your prompt attention.

[Sincerely/Best regards/Thanks],
[Your name]

Professional email example

Here is an example of a professional email from a prospective employee to an employer:

Dear Mr. Carter,

Thank you again for the opportunity to interview with you and your team at Simmons Textiles, Incorporated. I appreciated the tour of the building and enjoyed getting to know others on the product development team. I also enjoyed our conversation during the interview.

As you requested, I attached a copy of my portfolio. I mentioned in the interview that this portfolio includes a wide variety of projects for a range of clients, and I think it displays my ability to deliver quality work. 

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you in the future and hope to add my skills to the Simmons Textiles, Incorporated development team.

Thank you,
Sarah Achebe