Formal Email Format (With Examples for Various Situations)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated December 2, 2022
Published September 7, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Throughout your career, you're likely to send a formal email to communicate with your colleagues, customers, and other professional contacts. There are different formal emails for each situation. Understanding formal emails from examples can help you choose the appropriate format to use for different scenarios. In this article, we explain what a formal email is, describe how to write one, provide a template, and share some examples of when to apply a formal email format.
What is a formal email?
A formal email is sent to people you don't know personally or in a position that requires your respect. For example, you can send a formal email to your professor, employer, the head of a store you patronize, or a public officer. What defines a formal letter is primarily the language you use to address the person and communicate your message.
How to use a formal email format
You can follow these steps when crafting a message in a formal email format:
1. Craft the subject of your email
Your recipient sees the subject line before they open your email. Therefore, your subject line needs to catch the recipient's attention and provide enough detail to give them an idea of what to expect. Therefore, ensure your subject line is brief and relates to the subject matter.
2. Write your greeting
Your greeting sets the tone for your email and is a way to show respect for your recipient. Using the appropriate salutation improves your chances of getting your request. When sending a formal email, aim to address your recipient by their full name and title. When you don't know the person's name, you can refer to them by their title, or if you're aware of their gender, you can use "Dear Sir/Madam."
3. Craft the body of your email
The body of your email is the most important part and contains the details and purpose of your message. Start with a paragraph to introduce yourself and explain why you're sending the email. Next, your main paragraph explains the purpose of your email and includes any relevant details the recipient needs to know. The body can contain two or three paragraphs, depending on the purpose and complexity of the message. Finally, use your closing paragraph to thank the recipient for their time and reiterate any important information.
4. Conclude your email
The conclusion of a formal email typically includes the closing remarks, the sender's name, and their title, if applicable. Even though it's only a few words, the closing remarks of your email are critical and can leave an impression on your reader. Examples of appropriate closing remarks to use for a formal email are "Sincerely," "Kind regards," and "Thank you for your time." After your closing remark, include your full name. Where appropriate, you can include your position at your company.
Related: How To End an Email
Formal email template
Follow this template for your formal email:
Email subject: [short but clear summary of the topic and your main message.]
Dear [recipient's name]
[Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and explain the purpose of your email.]
[Use the main paragraph to go into detail about why you're emailing the person and supply any necessary details the recipient needs. Include a call to action here to make the purpose of your message clear.]
[Closing paragraph to reiterate your points, thank the recipient for their time, and invite them to contact you for any clarifications.]
[Your full name]
Example of a formal email to request an internship
Follow this sample to request an internship:
Subject: Computer engineering graduate—request for graduate internship slot
Dear Ms. Rodriguez,
My name is Taylor Carter, and I just completed my computer engineering program at Willsby University. While searching for a graduate internship, I came across your page based on a recommendation from my course advisor. It was exciting to find that not only are you an alumna of the computer engineering department at Willsby University, but you were also valedictorian of your class, a feat I'm honoured to have in common with you.
Discovering that you're the head of IT at CGD Computer Services piqued my interest in a graduate internship at the firm. CGD is one of the most prestigious computer engineering firms in the country. I believe the fast-paced work environment and diverse talents can help me grow as a professional.
Kindly find attached a copy of my resume and cover letter. I look forward to hearing from you. You can contact me through this email address or on my mobile number, 443-554-7786.
Example of a formal email to request a temporary sick leave
Here is a formal email format to follow when requesting a temporary sick leave:
Subject: Taylor Carter—sick leave
I am unable to make it to work today because I have a terrible fever. Yesterday, the doctor confirmed that I have the flu. She recommended I stay home this week to avoid infecting anyone else.
As I can't attend work for the rest of the week, I have asked Sarah to assist me with this week's deadlines. If I'm not healthy enough to resume work or remain in quarantine next week, I'd appreciate it if you would please assign a colleague to handle the rest of my tasks. I've compiled a document of all my pending tasks to aid the process.
Kindly find attached the doctor's report. Please note, I have Cc'd the HR department, so they are aware of my absence. You can reach me via my cell number, 432-443-5543, in the event of any emergencies. Thank you again for your time and help.
Example of a formal email to request information
Follow this sample when writing a formal email to request information formally:
Subject: Request for information on the summer volunteering program
Dear Mr. Dwight Peterson,
I am writing this email to inquire about your summer volunteering program. As a nutritionist, helping children in low-income neighbourhoods get access to healthy meals has always been something I'm passionate about. However, before signing up for the program, I would like clarification on some details.
Firstly, I would like to confirm the specific location of the outreach program. I reside in Whitehorse, Yukon, and would like to confirm whether I need to make any travel or living arrangements to participate in the program.
Secondly, your campaign advertisement didn't mention any requirements to take part or whether volunteers need to bring any materials. If permitted, I have a friend who would like to support the outreach program with lunch packs for 50 children. Kindly let me know if you allow such donations and any other requirements I need to be aware of before applying.
Thank you for your time. You can contact me on my cellphone at 223-444-6677 if that is more convenient for you. I look forward to your response and hope to work with you.
Example of a formal email complaint
Follow this sample when writing a formal email for a complaint:
Subject: Product quality complaint—model 562 refrigerator
I'm writing this email to register my complaint about a refrigerator I purchased at your store at 78 Hobson Avenue in Toronto, Ontario. I made my purchase on the 13th of June 2021 with my credit card.
Unfortunately, after using the refrigerator for some days, I discovered it doesn't cool the products properly. As a result, I lost almost $100 worth of groceries. I went back to the store to request a refund, but the store attendant refused to address my concerns. I am deeply disappointed about the quality of the product and the customer service in your store.
I hope you can resolve this issue and stand behind your product. I'm a longstanding customer, and I'd appreciate it if you resolve this issue immediately. Thank you for your time.
Example of a formal email to make an announcement
Follow this sample for a formal email to make an announcement:
Subject: Meet the new interns
I'm happy to inform you of the commencement of our summer internship program. We recruited 10 interns from four different universities across the province, and we're excited to have them with us. Our interns are still in the skill pool, so they're available to understudy tasks in any department. I hope you will all do your best to engage them and make their experience worthwhile.
Feel free to say hello to the interns on our work page, and make them feel welcome. Thank you all for your time.
Human resources director
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