These days, I tend to receive e-mails from students that are written improperly .
Unlike casual e-mails to friends and families, e-mails to other individuals must be written formally, even/especially if it is addressed to a stranger.
The following are the minimal requirements, in my opinion, for a formal e-mail:
- Always include a subject. Remember, this is a brief title. You do not write your full message in here. For example:
Request for Support Letter
I would like to request for a support letter for job application with XXX Sdn Bhd.
- Have a greeting (e.g. Dear Mr. Gandalf,)
- If it is your first time emailing them, introduce yourself.
- Include your message.
Write your intention of sending this email and what you want. I have encountered emails without any proper messages. Some just say their name and matric. card number (wrong!). Some only wrote a greeting and an ending without saying what they want to do (wrong!). Please remember, the title/subject is NOT enough.
- End with a signature (Yours sincerely, Bilbo)
- The greeting, message and signature should be separated, not written in the same paragraph.
- Also do not use short forms like “u” instead of “you”..
- Do not use shorthand e.g. “don’t”, “weren’t”, “didn’t”.. Instead, use “do not”, “were not” and “did not”.
- Use capital letter for “i” (when referring to yourself).
- Do not use CAPS or multiples of !! or ??. These typically indicates that one is shouting.
- Similarly, when writting in Malay language, do not use shortform: “perkataan2, jgn, utk, mkn, …”
- Do not mix the languages (if use malay, all malay.. if english, all english).
- Do not use emoticons in formal e-mails.
But e-mails to me, I can give two exceptions: mixed language and emoticons are acceptable.
All the best!
Thinking of writing a resume? Click here for some tips.
And here are more email writing tips: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2020/02/scientist-s-guide-email-etiquette
Example of a student submitting assignment
Subject: Submission of SSCP4333 assignment
I am Yap Yung Szen, a student enrolled in your DSP course at the moment.
As per your request, I am resubmitting my assignment you along with several datasheets.
Please see the attached documents and if there is any problems, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or whatsapp.
Thank you again.