How To Start A Professional Email

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Published: 28th May 2013
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Writing a professional email - for work or other reasons - may be a hard thing to learn. It’s something that will come easy for experienced IT professionals, however if you have no experience with composing professional emails, or if you’re just starting your career, it’s a thing you’ll need to learn.

Setting Up The Email Structure

Before we get to how to begin a professional email, the plan of the email needs to be taken into account.

The email needs to have three components - the greeting, the email body, and the signature. The email body ought to be written in a professional manner, but that’s not the main topic of this article. You should also be placing a signature at the base of your emails - this is to show who you are, in addition to where you’re from. It also makes you look more professional.

How To Start The Professional Email

Starting an email is important as it’s the first thing the person sees when opening the email. The first task is to add the recipient to the email - using their email address.

The next task is to greet the person in the very first line of the email. The best ways to do this are:

Hello name,
Hi name,
Dear name.

Begin with either Hello, Hi or Dear. Dear is acceptable as it originates from the old-fashioned way of communicating - letters. At the top of letters, it was common to address the other individual as “Dear name”.

Where I’ve mentioned "name", that may be replaced with either their first name, title and surname, or full name, including:
Mr Smith
John Smith
When you’ve put in their name, put a comma and go to the next line. Don’t start the email immediately after that - add a line break, or even two, in between. That will increase the readability of the email.

What If I Don’t Know Their Name?

There is a fair chance you won’t know the recipient of the email. If you’ve just been offered an email address with part of their name, this can restrict what greeting you may use. On the other hand, if you’ve been given a generic email address, such as “”, you very well may not even have a name at all!

In this case, I would suggest using what you can. When you've got a first name, then use that (such as “Dear John”). In case you don’t have a name at all, you could merely use “Hello”.

How To Address Multiple Recipients

The introduction would have to be adjusted if you’re sending an email to multiple recipients (more than one person). You can use greetings including:

Hi name 1, name 2,
Hello name 1, name 2,
Dear name 1, name 2,
Hello all,
Hi all,

It’s much like a single recipient email, except you can address people individually or using the word “all”. If you address them individually, it would be something like “Dear John, Peter” or “Hello Mr Smith, Mr Jones,”.

One thing I would suggest is if you refer to the people individually, don’t mix and match the method that you greet them. For example, if you use the title and surname of the first person, use the same method for all. By using a greeting such as “Dear Mr Smith, Peter” or “Hello John, Peter Jones” doesn’t look as professional as it's inconsistent.

I hope this answers your question of how to start a professional email. It gets much easier in time and after you’ve got experience with it!

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