How To 101: Email Etiquette

We are all used to writing emails but the game changes when it's time to compose emails to people you may not be familiar with or those who work at advance levels within certain organisations. Even though communication styles vary from industry to industry, I thought it would be useful to give an simple overview of 'Email Etiquette' and provide the key steps that I follow when composing emails. This is something that I wish I read when I was a First Year student starting out in contacting people and finding work opportunities.

  • Create a separate email account from your Work/Uni email as these accounts are likely to expire or not be functional once you leave. For example, once I leave University next year, my email will cease to exist as I will no longer be a student! All those contacts, messages - gone.  
  • Use your first and last name for your email address - neat and simple. Useful for business cards. Speaking of business cards, I bought mine from Moo and they are always a good conversation booster at networking events. I'll probably do a post on my 'Networking Essentials' in the near future.
  • Respond within a 24 hour bracket - be responsible! If you can scroll through Twitter, Instagram and drop a comment or two - you can reply to your emails on time. Punctuality and good communication is a big part of branding and it's just polite haha. 
  • Try and keep a neutral tone and avoid over-emotive language. Also keep away from littering your text with punctuation. A simple full stop and comma will do in most cases.
Writing the Email

  • Make sure the subject line is relevant to the content of your email. It shouldn't be too long either!
  • I never thought greetings used to be a big deal until I learnt more about email etiquette during my Internship this Summer. Greetings set off the tone of your email as it is the first thing the recipient will read. A fail proof way to start an email, especially for a person you do not know is "Dear *insert name*". However, I am aware that this doesn't apply across industries, so for example, the creative industry may be a little bit more relaxed with the formality so just be aware of the industry/person you are sending the email to. As you build a rapport between you and the recipient, I think the regular "Hello" or "Good afternoon" works pretty well. Avoid the use of "Hey!", "Wazzup" and the other terms relating to the informal manner of speech. 

  • In terms of your content - keep it simple and to the point. I used to try and be very very very polite via email which led to lots of rambling and unnecessary text, i.e. Please if I may, would it be possible to kindly see you at your Office Hours next week Wednesday? A better alternative: Would it be possible to see you at your Office Hours next week Wednesday? Get to the point and state your facts in a clear, simple but polite way.


  • Your email should end neatly. Wrap it up with a "Kind Regards"or "Regards" 
  • I am a sucker for email signatures. I used Hubspot Email Signature Template Generator to create my signature which nicely includes where I study, what academic year I am in and includes a LinkedIn button for easy access to view my online professional profile. 

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