Writing emails is very much in the norm since last decade. Most people do not feel the need to seek the tips to write effective contents for both formal and informal email because they think that they are doing it right. But this is far from the truth. Everyone needs to learn at least the basics so that one could tackle a sudden situation with care, if it arises. When it comes to writing the informal letters or emails, one may write it as if talking with in person, where smilies, exclamatory signs, etc. are considerable. This is done when you intent to write to a close friend or relative. But if you want to write someone who, for instance, recruits candidates for campus placements, is an HR to whom you might require to apologize for some kind of wrongdoings, a colleague to whom you request an appointment/meeting with, or somebody else who falls under similar category, you need to sound more decent and professional. We now discuss about the top best tips on how to write effective contents for formal email.
1. Be very much clear in your subject line – Your subject line speaks volumes when it comes to get the attention you require for the formal letter. If you are very much indirect like “Urgent!!”, or “Need Immediate Help”, or “Resume”, chances are higher that your email will end up getting deleted or be kept unread because you were not direct at all. It is better if you write something like “File that you requested”, “About the elevator construction”, “Job application for the post of PHP developer”, etc.
2. Salutation – Salutation is a necessary part because it shows courtesy of the sender to the receiver. One is not supposed to begin the application letter just as he/she would talk to his/her friend. It is not a live conversation and so your text ought to reflect your mood in a decent and well behaved manner.
The most common formal salutation is “Dear Sir” and “Dear Mam” in case you know the gender of the person at the receiving end. In case of a confusion, you may also write “Dear Sir/Mam”. Avoid “Hi” and “Hello” if the concerning person is not your friend but someone of higher rank. Other than writing just “Hi” or “Hello”, it is even better if you write the first name of the person. If you know that the receiver is of the same age group (as well as ranking) as you but you are unsure of his/her name then simply “Hi” would be OK. Again, avoid both first and last name, even if you know. Always and always check the spelling of the person’s name. Avoid “Yo!”, “Mr./Mrs./Ms.”, first name without Hi or Dear, first name with exclamatory sign, Hi [nick name], Hey, “Gentlemen”, and “Hey there!” or “Hi there!”. The word “there” is particularly avoided because it creates an impression that you do not know the person’s name for sure and it sounds too casual.
You may also write “To whom it may concern” but avoid “To whomsoever it may concern”. Whomsoever sounds harsh and sarcastic and therefore must never be used. Do not write “To whom it may concern” in literally every email you send across, especially if you plan to send your resume. It is best practice to write when you are sharing that particular mail to one or more team of employees, some of whom do not require to read, but others do based on the intended subject. In case of a number of receivers, “Hi everyone!” sounds good.
3. Introduce yourself – If you work in an organization that has numerous employees, your HR or somebody who is in higher in position is not going to recognize you. So, it is better that you introduce yourself in the first paragraph. You may also be the one who wants to apply for a job in some organization which will also require you to give a brief introduction. Always avoid shorthand terms like “u” in place of “you”, and all kinds of text language you use in your mobile phone while texting. Avoid terms like LOL, BRB, TTYL, and so on totally. The examples are as follows:
i) My name is ABC. I have been working in XYZ firm as a Senior Software Engineer. I have 5 years of total experience in PHP.NET and looking forward for better opportunities. I also have 2 years of game testing experience in DEF firm.
ii) My name is ABC and my employee ID is 1234567. I have written down this email as a note of apology for misinterpreting the statements said to me and responding back inappropriately 2 days back.
4. Avoid attachments – Chances are higher that the receivers are not going to open and download the attachment files. This is because they might not be interested enough or might suspect it for containing malicious softwares. Although, the organization does care about the security concerns but such kinds of threats might get breached into at times that would be needing fix.
If you do not work within the organization chances are elevated even more that your attached documents would be ignored. If you are an applicant who is applying for a job, you must make sure that you write that in advance about the attached resume or Curriculum Vitae, other related documents, along with the sizes that these might occupy.
5. Avoid indirect statements that create confusion – One must avoid those statements that seem misinterpreting. You might want to convey something positive but the receiver might take it in a negative way.
For instance, a colleague asked you to help her to resolve an issue. But that issue had been resolved by her own, so she wrote you the same that her task is being accomplished. You hadn’t read her latest email so you wrote in reply, “Should’ve paid closer attention to my mail”. Now she might not get this exactly what you meant. It could either mean, “You should have paid closer attention to my mail” OR “I should have paid closer attention to your sent mail”.
6. Show respect to whom you address – One should always be direct in a manner that seem polite. Sometimes conflict begins and due to that anyone might lose control and speak very much directly that seems hurtful to the receiver. If you are one of those senders who is mad at one or the whole team of employees, you must first wait till your anger subsides.
For instance, statements like, “Why you do not check your mails on time? I am so tired of reminding you every now and then.”, are not recommended. Instead you could write, “I have been noticing since past few weeks that the emails I send across are not checked on time. This is creating delays in the project and the client is not happy. This is the third warning and so any kind of similar activities from now onwards would result into serious consequences.”.
7. Respond promptly – It creates negative impression if you do not send the replies within 24 hours. Today is the world of internet and WiFi where anybody can access their emails through laptops, desktops, tablets or mobile phones. If you do not reply promptly then you would be taken for granted.
8. Proofread before sending – It is always recommended to proofread before you send anything. If you are new to writing applications you will soon notice that many things should be kept in mind. Ever sent empty messages or messages without your attached resume to the target employer? This happens to most people at times and so they need to send emails over and over again. This creates an impression that you are not a responsible candidate and so they may not take your email seriously. In case of job hunting or even if you are a permanent employee in a company, always make sure that you read your emails before sending. If you are new to this, showing the written application(s) to someone you know is also helpful. This is because as a third person they suggest you whether the statements seem polite or not.
9. Don’t assume privacy – This particular part is applicable to sending emails as well as chatting within an organization to fellow employees. Whatever someone writes could be checked by authorities who tackle the server side. So, it is never suggested to write your own private information like bank account number, passwords, and so on.
Always remember that the text message that we send to anybody does not contain real emotions or facial expressions. The informal types of messages that we send to our friends contain smilies in order to combat the hidden mood. Since the formal email does not contain emojis, the state of mind is unpredictable. This is the reason one needs to write down words with caution.
We request you to never write everything in capital letters. For example, “Waiting for your reply” and “WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY” show different moods. The one with capslock key ON gives an impression that you are literally angry and shouting at your recipient. Last but not the least, consider internet as your best friend and stay updated regarding the latest English letter and application writing norms. This will gradually improve your written English, or any other language your country/state/region follows.
Author : Ankita Purohit
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