Part II: Greeting portion of an email. We hope you learn something new, enjoy.
Emailing Someone You Don’t Know
Here’s the situation: you just found an awesome internship with a company in Holland. They need a marketing specialist over the Summer to help design some of their promotional media. You meet all of the qualifications, but there is no submission slot for your application, resume, or cover letter. The only thing listed is an email address for inquiries about the position. In this case, you will be emailing someone you don’t know and by-golly you don’t want to make a bad first impression. What should you do?
- For a more formal letter or email start with Dear [name]: or Dear [name],
The colon is the most formal, but a comma will also do. Some situations can be more formal than others and there really is no right or wrong time to use a colon, but just use your best judgment to make the call.
Another common issue is what title to give a person. Men are easy, whether they are married or not, young or old, “Mr.” should always precede their last name. If they want to go by something else, they will make this known to you at a later date, but for now it is best to stick with the formality.
Women on the other hand are a little trickier. Unless you know for sure a woman is married you should never assume they need “Mrs.” before their name. At the same time, just because a woman is young, doesn’t mean they should automatically be assumed to be “Miss”. The most professional term to use for all women is “Ms.” this will help cut across age and marriage lines. After initial contact has been made, check to see how they sign their name and try to follow their example.
Finally, if you see someone has a PhD always address them as “Dr.” unless they have asked you not to.
- Can’t Find the Contact Person’s Name?
This can be a tricky problem that many people run into with technology. So many of our job applications go through online websites. Even at Hope some clubs don’t list their leadership team members or who is managing their email accounts. The old cliché is to write “To Whom It May Concern” followed by a colon. Nowadays, articles on The Muse recommend trying to avoid using this. If you have thoroughly searched the company website, consider writing “Dear Hiring Manager” also followed by a colon. This sounds more professional is at least addressed to the person who will be receiving your application.
- Keep it Formal
This last point may see a little like common sense, but it’s an easy one to forget. We are often in the habit of writing to people we know or to our friends, so switching gears can catch us off-guard. Before you hit send, just double check that you have done your best to address your contact in an appropriate manner and respect their position of authority
Once you get the hang of these small tips for how to greet someone you will be in good shape no matter what situation you find yourself in.
The next part of the series will be “The request”. Stay tuned for more!