Emailing Like a Pro(fessional)

Email Etiquette Questions

Why does email etiquette matter?

  • Much of professional communication in the post-pandemic era takes place through written communication.
  • It can help you ask effective questions of your instructors or employers.

What should I include in the greeting of an email?

  • A salutation such as “Good morning/afternoon/evening,” “Hello,” or “Dear.”
  • The intended subject’s name spelled correctly. Often, the name auto populates when you insert the email into the “To:” field, making it easy for you to ensure the spelling is correct. When emailing an instructor and you are not sure about their preferred title, simply use “Professor” and their last name. Remember: Not all professors have their doctorate.

Which email should I send it from?

  • If it is a professional or school related email, send it from your organization’s email account.
  • If it is a company you are applying for, utilize a personal email account with a clean and professional email domain (e.g. vs.


What should my email subject be?

  • Short, concise, and aptly summarize the request. It should include a call to action if action is required. In the example, you can figure out not only that the student is requesting an assignment extension, but also for which assignment.

What information should I include in my introduction?

  • When emailing an instructor, always include your full name and class period (see example).

What should I include in my email's body?

  • A direct and clear purpose/question. In this example, the student very directly asks for an extension.
  • Paragraphs between 1-3 sentences. Emails should be brief and are easier to digest with shorter paragraphs.
  • Describe any attachments such as “I have attached a doctor’s note” or “Attached is my revised assignment.”

How should I conclude my email?

  • Use a professional closing statement such as “Best wishes,” “Thank you for your consideration,” or “Best,”.

How long should my email be?

  • One screen length is the maximum recommended length as emails should be brief and can be intimidating if longer.

How soon am I expected to respond to my email?

  • Ideally, within 1-2 business days.

How do I format my email?

  • Using a professional font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
  • Using proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
  • Without emojis.
  • Utilize standard colors.
  • Use hyperlinks instead of spelling out links.

What is CC and BCC? When do I use them?

  • BCC or Blind Carbon Copy is used when you are sending an email and want to include a subject discreetly such as when you are emailing a large group of people or perhaps including a supervisor on an email response. Utilizing BCC ensures that though the email is being sent to this subject, the other people in the email do not see this person is a recipient.
  • CC or Carbon Copy is used when you are sending a recipient a copy of the email but they are not necessarily the main recipient of the email. This may be used when you are emailing a specific member of your team about a project but want to ensure your boss also receives the email.

General Etiquette

  • Don't try to turn in an assignment through email if your instructor has specified against it.
  • Do not use slang words or abbreviations.
  • Do not "replay all" to large group emails.
  • You can "schedule" an email if you are working at odd hours so it will be sent automatically at a certain time. Many times, Outlook will let you know what an individual's work hours are and you can set an email to be sent within those.

Example Email


Subject: Request for Extension (Friday's Assignment)

Good morning Professor Professor,

I hope you are doing well. I am in your Monday, 8am, section of Discrete Mathematics. This past week I have been suffering from a very bad cold and haven't been feeling well enough to work on the Chapter 8 assignment due Friday. Is it possible to receive an extension on this assignment?

I'd appreciate any and all extension you are willing to give me.
Thank you for your consideration and enjoy the rest of the week.


Susan Student