Over the past year, we’ve had an increased interest in our site from high school students. This is great news, as it shows that young people are taking their future seriously and thinking about what they want to do with their life even before they get to college. It’s important that high school students – and really any students – learn how to construct professional emails to their business contacts. I put together some advice based on a few emails I received:
- Use a Greeting, No Matter What. No matter how many times you’ve emailed back and forth with a professional contact they are not your friend and your emails shouldn’t be too casual. For example, if you were emailing me for a second or third time you would still say, “Hi Lauren,” – you wouldn’t just dive into the body of the email.
- Use Proper Punctuation. Just because it’s an email and not a formal letter doesn’t mean that punctuation rules don’t apply. When the email is full of mistakes it tells the employer that you are not taking the conversation seriously.
- Capitalize “I”. For some reason, I tend to get a lot of emails that include a lowercase version of “i”. This should always be capitalized. For example, you wouldn’t say, “i’ve been looking at your site.”
- Use Complete Sentences. Again, don’t rush an email to a professional contact. Sentences like, “I want internship” are incorrect. You would say, “I want an internship.” A professional contact isn’t going to want to refer you to a colleague or contact of theirs and put their reputation on the line if you can’t use complete sentences.
- Spell Check. There is just no excuse for spelling words wrong in email these days. Most email programs automatically identify words that are spelled incorrectly, and even with those, you should still take the time to proofread before you hit send.
- Use a Proper Closing. This is similar to my first point – you should also formally close your emails. For example, “I look forward to hearing from you. Best, Lauren Berger” The email should never just abruptly end.