1. Keep it original
DO NOT copy and paste content or plagiarize. If you have to use quotes, cite your sources. Finding it hard to compose an email? What do you want to tell this person you’re writing to? Express yourself as you would when talking.
2. Avoid html characters
If you absolutely must paste some content in your email, be sure it reads smoothly, without showing html characters. Make sure your email looks clean; it will look unprofessional if codes show up in your email when it’s not supposed to. Most email platforms like Outlook can be programmed to avoid that. Just go to Tools, then Options, under Mail Sending Format, click Plain Text Settings, choose MIME, and click <none> under (Encode text using).
3. Keep it short
Most people don’t have time to read very long emails. And you’re writing an email not a novel, so keep it short. Avoid having big blocks of text by indenting and putting spaces between paragraphs.
4. Keep it personal
Especially if you’re sending marketing mass emails, where recipients can be in the hundreds, if not thousands, address recipients properly and use BCC or blind copy.
5. Be honest/ genuine
Express yourself openly and directly. Whatever it is you’re writing about, be truthful. Especially with job applications, employers can easily do a background check to verify all the information you give them.
6. Get the message across on the first sentence/paragraph
Get down to the nitty-gritty right away. People will glean through your email (if you’re lucky), and if you don’t say your message in the first line, then chances are it won’t be read.
7. Make sure you have an appropriate subject line
Review your email before sending and make sure you don’t leave the subject line blank. Remember to use an appropriate subject line.
8. Avoid highfalutin words
Unless you’re writing to your university professor, resist sounding like you’re submitting an academic paper. It will alienate the reader who’ll become bored by the second paragraph.
9. Avoid elaborate and fancy fonts/ graphics
Not all computers are equipped with current software and drivers that can read all the latest fancy fonts, so unless you’re a graphics designer trying to impress a future employer, keep it simple and stick with tried and tested fonts.
10. Make sure attachments are accessible
Remember to upload your attachments and check if they are working properly. BCC yourself to make sure the recipient can open it. When submitting resumes, it’s always better to send them in a PDF format.
11. Make sure links are working
If you’re sending a link to a website, make sure it works; after pasting the link on the body of your email, try the link. Again, BCC yourself so you can check later if the link works after sending it.
12. Conclude and end on a positive note
Tell the recipient to contact you if anything is unclear or if they have any questions. Thank them.
13. Have an appropriate signature
Keep in mind who you’re writing for and put an appropriate signature at the bottom. If it’s a professional email, include your last name and your designation instead of when you’re writing to a friend where you can obviously use only your first name if you want or even a nickname.
Now that you have composed a well thought out email, you want to click Send right? No, not yet. Read and go over your email once more to make sure everything is in place: check for spelling errors, grammar, and proper placement of punctuation marks. After proofreading and editing your email, now you can hit send.
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.