How to Start an Email With 6 Business Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 17, 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.

Knowing how to start an email in a professional and effective manner is a key skill for all job seekers and employees. How you start an email can create a positive first impression, increase the open rate of your email, and encourage response from the recipient. In this article, we discuss specific things to consider when writing an email, how to start your email properly, and tips and examples for a successful start.

Why it matters how you start an email

Email is one of the most widely used communication forms in business due to its speed and efficiency. Because email is a written communication style, it is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. It is an effective and essential way to communicate and is an opportunity to create a relationship with potential partners and business prospects.

Beginning your email in a professional manner encourages your email to be seen, opened, read, and acted upon by its recipient. You create a positive first impression by writing an email with a professional start, and set the tone for the reader that your email is worthy of their time.

Things to consider when writing an email

There are several things to consider when writing an email that can increase the success of your recipient opening and responding to you.

Identify the goal of your email.

Clearly identify why you are sending the email and what your objective is. If you are sending it to submit a job application, you're aiming to express interest in the position and receive a response from the recipient. If you are following up after an interview, your objective might be to send additional information. Being clear about the goal of your email ensures you stay focused and to the point.

Set the tone of your email.

Once you have identified the goal, you can then set the style of your email. It is always good practice to remain professional when communicating by email in a work setting. The subject line, greeting, and introduction set the tone of the email for the recipient. Whether the email is business casual or formal is indicated by the words and phrases you choose. Keeping the audience of your email in mind sets the proper tone.

Use proper etiquette.

If you are addressing someone you have not formally met or have a professional relationship with, it is appropriate to address them by their title and surname. For example, "Mrs. Smith" or "Dr. Jones" is appropriate professional etiquette. If you already have a working relationship or know the recipient well, you can use their first name in your email.

How to start an email

When writing a professional email, include these four important aspects; the subject line, the greeting, an optional introduction, and the reason for writing. Once you have completed these segments, you may then go into detail in the body of your email, directly relating back to the subject. These segments together create a successful email that provides a positive first impression:

1. Choose a clear subject line

The subject line of the email can be thought of as the title or header of the email. The subject line appears in the recipient's email inbox along with your name. It summarizes the purpose of the email and what information it contains. The subject line is your first impression provided to the recipient and sets the remaining email tone.

2. Pick an appropriate greeting

The greeting, or salutation, is the opening statement of your email and, when possible, directly addresses the reader by name. Avoid "Dear Sir or Madam" as well as "To Whom It May Concern" except in certain circumstances. These specific greetings were developed before the internet made it easy to find the proper name of your contact. Instead, it is advisable to use the recipient's name whenever possible. There are several greeting options depending on who you're writing to and your reason for the email.

3. Write a brief introduction (optional)

After your greeting, it is optional to include a short, positive note such as "I hope this finds you well" or "I hope you had a terrific weekend." This introduction is appropriate if you haven't written to the recipient for some time or have a close relationship with them. If you know that your audience appreciates a concise note with only essential information, you can omit this part of the email.

4. Indicate your reason for writing

The next part of your email includes a clear statement about the reason you're writing to the recipient. This provides the recipient with an understanding of the email's goal and sets the tone for the remaining correspondence.

Tips for successfully starting an email

Spell any names that you use correctly

Paying attention to the proper spelling of names within your emails demonstrates to the recipient that you pay attention to details. Spelling someone's name incorrectly can lead to a negative first impression and can be seen as a sign of disrespect, even when not intended. Before sending an email, be sure that you have taken the time to research the recipient's proper name.

If you've already received an email from the recipient, find their name in their email or signature. If not, do some quick research. You can look on the company's website to see if a personnel directory is available, check LinkedIn, their business card, or call the company's reception and ask for their name's proper spelling.

Keep your email professional

It might seem friendly to use a casual and fun greeting, emojis, or exclamation points in your email. However, remember that it's better to keep your email professional and to the point in a business setting.

Remember that email lasts forever

Before you hit the send button, be sure to proofread your email for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This is an opportunity to leave a lasting first impression. Even if an email is deleted, it can be recovered. Be sure that your email reads exactly the way you want before sending.

Be sure to not send an email in frustration or anger without considering the consequences. Because email is a written form of communication, the emotion and tone can be misinterpreted. If in doubt, give yourself twenty-four hours before rereading your email and hitting the send button.

Examples of appropriate email greetings

Below are several examples of greetings you can choose from to start your email. As discussed in the tips above, be sure to select a greeting that is applicable to your audience and the tone you want to set.

When writing to one or two recipients, you can use the following greetings:

  • Dear [Name},

  • Dear [Name] and [Name],

  • Hello [Name],

  • Hi [Name],

  • [Name],

When writing to three or more recipients, you can use the following greetings:

  • Hello everyone,

  • [Group or team name],

  • Hello team,

  • Hello all,

  • Hi team,

  • Good morning,

  • Good afternoon,

  • Good evening,

  • Good day,

When you are unsure of the recipient's name, you can use the following greetings:

  • Hello,

  • Hi,

  • Greetings,

  • Good morning,

  • Good afternoon,

  • Good evening,

  • Good day,

Ways to start an email with examples

Here are several examples of ways you might begin an email for a variety of scenarios, applying the methods and tips above:

Example 1: Applying for a job

"Subject: Job Application

Dear Mrs. Hatfield,

I hope this finds you well. I am writing in response to your job posting for the Administrative Assistant position..."

Example 2: After completing an interview

"Subject: Interview Follow Up

Hello, Justin,

Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me about the Accounting Manager position today. I am following up with the additional information you requested..."

Example 3: When setting up a meeting

"Subject: Team Meeting

Good morning team,

I'm reaching out to set up a meeting about the upcoming marketing project..."

Example 4: When introducing new team members

"Subject: New HR Team Member

Hi, Kelly,

I'm writing to introduce you to the newest member of our Human Resources team, Helen Farber..."

Example 5: When accepting a job offer

"Subject: Job Offer

Dear Bob and Kevin,

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I'm excited to learn about the offer..."

Example 6: When asking for a work reference

"Subject: Work Reference

Good afternoon John,

I hope you had a great weekend. As we spoke about last week, I am applying for a new position and was hoping to forward your name as a reference..."

Explore more articles