How To Start an Email Professionally (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 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.

In the current business climate, most correspondence takes place over email. Creating a formal and professional email can help you efficiently communicate with your coworkers, managers, clients and other professionals. If you wish to improve your knowledge about the best business email etiquette, you can start by learning about the best way to start an email. In this article, we discuss how to start an email professionally and share tips and several examples to help you develop a better understanding.

How to start an email

Here are some important steps to remember when writing the beginning of your email:

1. Consider your audience

Remember to tailor your email greeting according to your audience. It's a good practice to include formal greetings in all business communications, especially when sending business emails to people you haven't met or those in leadership positions. However, if you have a close working relationship with the recipient, you can adopt a slightly informal approach to begin your email. Your email greetings can also change depending on the number of people you're addressing in an email.

2. Align with your organisation's policies

Understand the best practices of your organisation before drafting a business email. For example, a law firm may require all their employees to use a formal tone in their email correspondence. However, the employees at a childcare facility may adopt a warm and friendly style in their email communications. So if you're new to an organisation, you can ask your coworkers or manager about the acceptable business communication practices you should follow.

3. Keep it professional

Always keep business communication short and succinct. While it may be tempting to seem friendly by using fun greetings, exclamation points or smiley faces, always use them sparingly. Being professional also implies that you proofread your email content multiple times before sending it. This way, you can identify any typographical or grammatical errors that might give the recipient a incorrect impression of you.

4. Use the correct names and spellings

Double-check the spelling of the email recipient's name because misspelling their name can seem disrespectful. It may even discourage them from giving the necessary attention to your email. If you have been emailing the recipient regularly, you can find their name in their email sign off or signature. If not, do some background research to ensure you've got their name and spelling correct.

5. Establish a goal for the email

The beginning of your email sets the tone for the rest of its content, so ensure that you write your email greeting according to the proper context of your situation. For example, if you're emailing a client regarding a project update, use a formal greeting to begin the email. However, if you're sending a congratulatory note to a colleague who just gave birth, you can use a more casual tone.

Related: Email Etiquette: The Professional Business Email Format

Why is it important to start your email professionally?

Emails are an essential form of written communication in the business world. By starting an email in the right way, you're more likely to create a lasting positive impression. In addition, this can encourage the recipient to read the entire content of your email and respond to you as soon as possible.

An email greeting has to be professional and respectful. Your aim is to focus on the recipient and arouse their attention even before they've read the entire email. The beginning of your email provides the recipient with cues to understand what the purpose of the email is and what action they need to take after reading it.

Related: 40 Professional Email Greetings To Use at Work

What to include at the start of an email

Here are the three important elements that you can include at the start of your email:

1. Greeting

All professional business emails start with a greeting. It's best to use a greeting that suits your relationship with the email recipient and the reason for your writing. For example:

  • Dear Wong

  • Hi Pak

  • Hello everyone

2. Well wishes

Even though it's optional, you can also include a short, positive greeting after your email opening. This is more appropriate if you have a close working relationship with the email recipient or if you're emailing the recipient after a long time. For example:

  • Hope you had a great weekend

  • Hope you're doing well

3. Reason for writing the email

Include a brief statement at the beginning of your email to inform the recipient about the purpose of your message. This can set the tone of your correspondence, so that the reader knows what to expect. Here's an example:

  • I'm writing to introduce you to the newest member of our IT team, Joy Chan.

  • I'm writing in response to your job posting for the position of Internal auditor at Bluetech.

Related: Starting Your Career Virtually: Tips for Gen Z in the Workplace

Examples of greetings to begin an email

There are numerous ways to start an email. Be sure to select an appropriate greeting based on the situation and your relationship with the email recipient. Here are some examples that you can use for different scenarios:

Formal email greeting to one or two recipients

Here are some examples of email greetings you can use in emails with one or two recipients:

  • Dear [Name]

  • Dear Mr/Ms [Name]

  • Dear [Name] and [Name]

  • Hello [Name]

  • Hi [Name]

  • Greetings [Name]

  • [Name]

Formal email greeting to more than two recipients

Group greetings can help you address multiple recipients politely while communicating your intent. Here are some examples of email greetings you can use in emails with three or more recipients:

  • Hello everyone

  • Hi all

  • [Group or team name]

  • Hi team

  • Hello all

  • Hi there

  • Greetings

  • Good morning

  • Good afternoon

  • Good evening

Formal email greeting when you're unsure about the recipient's name:

A typical business email scenario is when you have to email a person whose acquaintance you have not yet made. For example, it can be a new client, business representative or an employee in another department of your firm. This often requires you to be more formal and respectful. Here are some examples of email greetings you can use when you're not sure about the recipient's name:

  • Dear Sir or Madam

  • Dear Sir

  • Dear Madam

  • Greetings

  • Hi

  • Hello

  • Dear Hiring Manager

  • To Whom It May Concern

Related: Guide To Replying to an Email Professionally (With Examples)

Informal email greetings

Informal email greetings are most appropriate when you have a close working relationship with the email recipient, although you may refrain from sending an informal email to a client, even if you've worked with them for a while. Here are some greetings you can use for an informal email:

  • Dear [Name]

  • [First Name]

  • I hope this email finds you well

  • Hello

  • Hope you're having a great week

Ways to start an email with examples

Here are some examples of how you can use the tips introduced earlier to start an email:

When introducing a new member

Here's an example of how to start an email if you're introducing a new team member:

Hi team,

I'm writing to introduce Pak Wong, our new graphic designer on the team.

When applying for a job

Here's an example of how to start an email when applying for a job:

Dear Joy,

I'm writing in response to your job posting for the position of Data analyst at Finsharp Company.

When sending a follow-up email

If you're sending a follow-up email, you might consider revising your email greeting. This ensures that the recipient understands the context of your email even before opening it. Here are some email starters for a follow-up email:

  • Following up on my previous email, ...

  • As we discussed on the call, ...

  • It was a pleasure meeting you today at ...

  • Can you share an update on ...

  • To follow up on our previous meeting ...

After completing an interview

Here's an example of an email starter that you can send to a hiring manager after an interview:

Hi Alice,

Thank you for meeting with me today and discussing the User experience writer position with me. As discussed, I've shared the additional information regarding my portfolio.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

When accepting the job offer

Here's an example of an email starter when applying for a job:

Good morning Leah,

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

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