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Home > Emails > What Is Email Fomat and How to Format an Email Properly & Professionally?

What Is Email Fomat and How to Format an Email Properly & Professionally?

Lawrie Jones
Written by
Lawrie JonesProfessional Tech Writer
Updated on:Jan 04, 2024

Never written an email before? We're taking you all way back to basics in our email school article. We're going to explore the email format, looking at each section to explain how they work together to build a message with meaning.

If you're sat there wondering: "Why should I bother to learn how to write emails correctly?" You don't have to. However, the formal email format s pretty much universal across the world. It's the way to get things done!

For those who want to learn about how to format an email, read on!

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What is the proper email format?

Every great email (and even the rubbish ones) is made up of 4 parts. These 4 parts work together, coming together like a beautiful puzzle to create the perfect message.

Miss one of them out (the greeting, for example), and the reader could be confused or even a little offended.

The 4 parts of every email include:

  1. Email subject line
  2. Emai greeting
  3. Email body copy
  4. Email sign-off/next steps

Click open "new message" and enter an email address in the "To" box, and we're ready to build our formal English email using the universally accepted email format.

Email subject line

The subject line is where building your formal email starts. Create a bad subject line, and it's also where it could end, too.

Subject lines should provide a clear snapshot of what your email is without the person even having to open it.

There's no consensus, but the best – and most effective – subject lines are short (5 - 7 words).

This is simply because most of us read and review emails on our mobile phones, which will clip subject lines at a certain length.

Writing subject lines is an art form, and we're limited in terms of space here, but here are some subject line options to show you how it works:

  • Meeting request – (inert dates)
  • (Your name) – Interview confirmation
  • Apologies for missing our appointment
  • Confirmation of attendance – (Event details)
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The subject line plays a crucial role in setting up the context of your email, so get it right, and you're off to a great start.

Email greeting

Hopefully, the person who received your email has clicked open and is now about to read it. You should always begin with a personalized greeting that uses the person's name.

We recommend choosing one of the following:

  • "Hi (person's name)
  • "Hello (person's name)

Why not use "Dear"? Because email etiquette has changed. While there is still a place for formal greetings (such as responding to an RSVP request), they're not commonly used at work anymore. You can also file away "Dear Sir/Madam" in the same place (in the bin).

Learn more about email etiquette tips.

Email body copy

The body copy is the core of your messages.

Its length is dictated by what you want to say and the level of detail you're going into. Emails can be as short as a single sentence:

"I can confirm that I have received your meeting request and that I can attend."

However, when writing an email application, you'll want to provide a great deal more information, outlining the role you're applying for and your key skills.

Here are some of the key things to remember when writing formal email body copy:

  • Sum everything up in the first one or two sentences (if you can).
  • Use the subsequent paragraphs to add more detail.
  • Keep things brisk and brief, don't overload people with information.
  • Avoid long passages of text and break paragraphs into manageable chunks.
  • Feel free to use bullet points and other ways to break up the text.
  • Don't forget your contact details.

Email sign off/next steps

If you've followed our instructions above, you've built a great email body copy. If your email is for information only (like confirming attendance at a meeting), you can now click send.

However, if you expect them to do something (reply to you, send document, confirm attendance, etc.), then include a call-to-action (CTA). CTAs are short statements that spell out what you want someone to do. Like this:

"Can you confirm that you've received my application and that I've provided everything that you have asked for?"

If you're proposing a course of action, something we call setting out the next steps, always spell that out at the end of your email.

"The next steps of the process include interviews, which will take place on (insert date)."

You'll want to include an ending (for inspiration, check our guide on how to end formal emails), as well as your name, email signature, and contact details.

This is the process of writing formal emails!

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5 formal email format examples

Still not ready to write your own formal emails quite yet? It's not a problem! Here are 5 formal email format examples written by pros for your viewing pleasure. These cover some of the situations you might experience, but you'll still need to edit, update, and amend them to fit.

Don't cut and paste, but use them as inspiration.

Formal meeting request email

Sick of typing out meeting requests that get no replies? See how yours compared to our formal meeting request email sample. (Ours is better, right?)

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to confirm the scheduling of our upcoming meeting.

Please let me know if the proposed schedule works for you.

Thank you for your attention.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Formal job application email

You've spotted the perfect job; now it's time to apply. This formal application email focuses on your skills and promotes you as the best person for the job. Go and get it!

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I am writing to formally apply for the position at [Company Name] that was recently posted online. I am excited about the opportunity to join your team and contribute my skills and experience.

With over 10 years of experience in [relevant field], I have developed a strong foundation in [specific skills]. I am confident that my technical expertise, attention to detail, and ability to work collaboratively will make me a valuable asset to your organization.

I have attached my resume for your review. Should you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my qualifications align with the requirements of the position.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Formal interview confirmation email

You've aced the application and secured the interview slot, now say yes like a champ with our message. This formal interview confirmation sample doesn't play around. It's 100% professional and focused on the prize.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to confirm the scheduling of our upcoming meeting.

Please let me know if the proposed schedule works for you.

Thank you for your attention.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Find out how to write a confirmation email here.

Read also: How to write follow up interview emails (5 examples)

Formal client email

Unless you know them well, you should always create formal emails to clients and customers. While some will accept a little informality, others can be sticklers for the rules. Here's a fabulous formal email for any client or customer.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I trust this email finds you in good health and high spirits. I am writing to express our gratitude for your company's faith in our services and our ongoing business relationship.

We continually strive to provide top-tier services tailored to your unique needs. With this in mind, we seek to better understand your experience so far and identify ways we can further enhance our services to meet your expectations more effectively.

We value your feedback immensely and would really appreciate any remarks, observations or recommendations you may have that would help us ensure our services resonate with your preferences, requirements, and business objectives.

We recognize the importance of your time and thank you for your anticipated cooperation and prompt response. If you have any queries or require any further information on any aspect of our services or our partnership, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Anticipating your most favorable reply and continued partnership.

Best Regards,
[Your Name]

Read also: How to write formal emails (5 samples & templates)

Formal vacation request email

Is boss a bit difficult? Ours too. When requesting vacation, this formal sample lays out your demand clearly and simply. You've worked hard this past year, and now secure the vacation. Don't forget to send us a postcard!

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to formally request a vacation for [number of days] starting on [start date] and ending on [end date]. As [reason for vacation], I believe it is important for me to take some time off to recharge and rejuvenate.

I have spoken to [colleague's name] who has agreed to cover my responsibilities during my absence. I will ensure that all pending tasks are completed and provide detailed instructions for any ongoing projects.

Please let me know if there are any concerns or if you require any additional information before approving my vacation request. I understand the importance of maintaining a smooth workflow and will make sure to minimize any disruptions.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for considering my request. I look forward to your prompt response.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Do I have to use the professional email format?

No! You can do whatever you want. You also jump off the sidewall and walk in the road or attempt to open the passenger door in the middle of a flight.

The professional email format is universally accepted as the done thing. What's great about the formal email format is that it makes it easier to write emails. You don't need to be funny, creative, or find inspiration from anywhere – just stick to the rules.

You'll also find that the professional email format goes across the world. While English is the international language of business, the formal format is used by people writing in all languages.

We hope this blog has shown you how easy it is to write formal messages in the right email format. If you still need a little more support, check out 5 pro tips from the email experts at HIX.AI.

5 pro tips for how to format an email

  1. Create a template - If you're worried about missing anything, then create a template. You can use Word, Google Docs, or any other productivity software to create your own template. Then, when you need to write emails, you can work through the format. By the end, there's your final, formal email, 100% formatted correctly.
  2. Make it impersonal – OK, so you need to start with the person's name, but after that, you don't need to do too much. Avoid big thank yous or long apologies, this is business, and these people aren't your friends. If they are, then don't send them formal emails.
  3. Write in the active voice – Too many business emails stick to the passive voice. This wastes space and time saying and can actually lower your chances of getting the outcome you want. "I'm applying for the role of (job name)" is much more assertive than "I saw a role advertised, and I was considering submitting an application." Which person would you rather interview and employ?
  4. Be bold (it's business, after all) – Nobody respects someone who doesn't say what they want. The same principle applies to your emails. Be confident, bold, and clear with what you want. The formal format provides the ideal structure for making your demands clear. Being forthright doesn't mean being rude.
  5. Use HIX.AI Email Writer – Professionals are successful because they find the optimal way to complete every task. Spending too long writing formal emails? Let HIX.AI AI email generator do it for you. This professional and powerful AI writing program can create 100% accurate and effective emails in seconds.

Conclusion

Formal emails can flummox even the most adept writer and consummate professional. But strip away the language, and you're left with a simple and easy email format to follow. Start with the subject line, and build your messages from there. Use an active voice, express your demands, and be bold in business. That's the secret to writing successful formal emails.

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