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15 Ways to Make Your Emails More Professional

15 Ways to Make Your Emails More Professional
Credit: file404/Shutterstock

Whether you're looking for a job or communicating with co-workers, customers or clients, you need to be able to send proper, professional emails.

From proofreading to crafting the perfect signature, every step you take when composing and sending a professional email is important. Make a major email mistake, and it could cost you your job or a great business opportunity. Taking the time to send thoughtful, well-written emails, on the other hand, will impress everyone you work with.

Business News Daily asked business and career experts for their best advice for professional emailing. Put your best virtual foot forward every time you hit "send" with these tips:

Remember that anyone can read it once it's sent

"Before you press send, always ask yourself, 'Would I be proud of this email if it were on the front page of the newspaper?' — because what is in writing can easily be shared with others." – Jennifer Brown, founder and CEO, PeopleTactics

Make the most of your signature

"One thing I always tell clients is to include all of their contact information in their signature, as well as their title, company name, social media and websites, so that people have access to a total view of them and their company. It also gives them your contact info in every email so they can find it in a pinch, and you always want them to know exactly how to get to your website." – Lisa Chase Patterson, president, The Book Bank Foundation

Match up your mobile signature

"If you don't set up the same signature that you have set up in the desktop version of your email, it's a dead giveaway that you're replying from a mobile device. Setting up the signature properly on your mobile device should only take 10 or 20 minutes and is infinitely better than 'sent from my iPhone.'" – Zach Feldman, chief academic officer and co-founder, New York Code + Design Academy [7 Email Apps for iOS ]

Create templates for frequently used responses

"Take some time to pre-write responses and save them on your hard drive. This will save you time because you won't have to think of great wording. In my experience, most professionals' email responses can be pre-written and tweaked ever so slightly to make it personal and significant to the specific email being responded to. I suggest thinking of the top three emails most received and pre-writing a response to each." – Lori Bruhns, owner and president, Lori Bruhs LLC

Use bullet points

"My best tip for better, more professional emails is to bullet-point the important items in the email. People want to be able to quickly scan an email to get to the purpose of it, and by putting quality information with bullet-points, you will be much more effective and professional." – Cynthia Bazin, president, SmartChic

Be clear and thorough

"My advice to those on my team: Pretend you're writing this email to your mom. If you've written anything she wouldn't understand, add the additional details until you're confident she would understand." – Kathy Bryan, director of corporate marketing and communications, Nelnet

Take it one point at a time

"I've found the keep-it-simple approach works best. Many times, people ask multiple questions in an email, which leads to a delayed response. Instead, I prefer to only ask one question or have one point per email. This does two things: It helps make the message easier to digest and makes it more manageable for the recipient to process." – Todd Horton, founder and CEO, KangoGift

Don't forget to proofread

"Read your email before you send it. Writing your thoughts down and not proofreading them before you hit send can destroy any hope you had at professionalism." – Ed McMasters, director of marketing and communications, Flottman Company

Timing is everything

"You should respond to your boss, client, peer or prospect the same day they email you. If you don't have an appropriate answer or the correct materials, simply let them know that you received their message, and give them [the date] by when they can expect to have the information they need." – Lori Kaye, founder, Lion Linq

Use the right email address

"Don't email their personal address. Unless someone has reached out to you on their personal account or this email is listed on their business card, use their company address. This is the equivalent to calling someone at home to discuss business, and a lot of people don't want to overlap their work-life accounts." – Alison Krawczyk, PR manager, Overit Media

Put the recipient's email in last

"In any email, business or not, I like to put the recipient's email address in at the last minute, just before sending. That way, I can be sure to read and re-read what I've written and make any changes necessary without worrying about an accidental send." – Kerri Garbis, president, Ovation Communication

Watch your tone

"Things can come across as being a bit cold in emails, so whilst you are trying to remain professional, remember you also need to add a little personality and use language that portrays the correct tone." – Anna O'Toole, senior digital media analyst, seoWorks

Use your subject line wisely

"People prioritize what emails they read first by who the sender is — you're going to read emails from your boss right away — and second by what the subject line says. Give some consideration to how the recipient will react to your subject line. What is in it for them to open your email over others that may be equally pressing?" – David Erickson, VP of online marketing, Karwoski & Courage

Mention your next steps

"Commit to a follow-up activity, an action step on your part, based on their advice and/or how you plan to stay connected in respect to their time and availability." – Joan Kuhl, founder, Why Millennials Matter

Know when to avoid email altogether

"Nuance is easily lost in email. If the discussion is sensitive, pick up the phone, do a video conference or have a face-to-face meeting instead. Many an hour of email pingpong could have been saved if people had not misunderstood each other's emails." – Lee Caraher, president and CEO, Double Forte

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.