Meeting someone in person is pretty straightforward. You smile, shake their hand, tell them your name. But what if you’re not meeting face to face? What if you’re introducing yourself via email?
Maybe you’re reaching out to create a new connection, to ask for advice, or a collaboration, or a job. How do you compete with the other 700 emails in their inbox and convince them a response to you is worthwhile? Writing an introductory email can be nerve racking when there’s so much pressure to get the wording just right.
Grammar lovers, get ready to breathe a sigh of relief! Now is a perfect time to share with you our step-by-step cheat sheet for exactly how to introduce yourself in an email and ensure the best results.
Step 1: the email subject line
It won’t matter how brilliant an introduction you’ve written if your message is never opened.
Keep your subject line short (under thirty characters) so it’s legible on mobile devices. Be specific and intriguing. Never write in all caps or use a generic line such as “Hi” (this may be mistaken for spam).
To create a great subject line you can…
Mention a mutual acquaintance “Aisha Mussad suggested I contact you”
Mention what you have in common “Hello from a fellow blogger!”
Mention your company “Hello from Grammarly”
Suggest meeting up “Lunch is on me”
Show you admire their work “Loved your article in Wired”
Be clear what job you’re applying for “Job Application: Elizabeth Chen for Content Strategist position” “Referred by Shaun Williams for Copywriter position”
Step 2: the greeting
Your goal is to create a connection with an individual, so you want your greeting to be personal.
Always use their name. Make sure it’s spelled correctly, and avoid using nicknames.
You can use “Dear” for formal situations such as applying for a job or writing to someone with more senior status.
Leading with “Hello” and “Hi” are appropriate for more casual situations, like contacting a friend of a friend or someone in a less formal industry.
Never use generic phrases like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
Step 3: the intro
It’s time to introduce yourself! Be clear and concise about who you are, and remember to include details that will be relevant to the recipient.
For instance, the fact that you’re a crazy cat lady is not important to the hiring manager for that content strategy job you’re applying for. However, it would be relevant to a fellow cat blogger you’d like to interview for your podcast.
“My name is Tina, I’m a Senior Content Strategist at Hooli.”
“My name is Tina, and I have a popular blog called ‘Purrfection’ chronicling my life as a crazy cat lady.”
“My name is Tina, I’m a fellow Stanford alum working in content creation.”
Step 4: the connection
Show them your motivation for reaching out. Mentioning a mutual connection is a huge plus, as people are much more receptive if you’ve been referred by someone they know and respect.
“I recently had lunch with Aisha Mussad, who shared some of your marketing ideas. I was blown away! I think your approach would be a perfect fit for my company.”
“I’ve been following your blog since March and I loved your article on grooming ornery cats. You had some wonderful insights that have been super helpful in my work at the shelter.”
“I’ve been very impressed by the work your company is doing with at-risk youth, and I’d love to be a part of furthering your mission!”
Step 5: the ask
Let them know what you want. Be explicit, and include a clear call to action.
The greater the benefit for them, the greater chance you’ll have of getting what you want. Messages with too big an ask or that come off as needy will likely end up in the trash.
“I’d love to buy you lunch and hear more about your ideas as I think there’s potential for our companies to collaborate. Would Tuesday or Thursday work for you?”
“I would love to interview you for my podcast, ‘Taming the Tiger,’ which has over 10,000 listeners. Please let me know if you’re interested and have any questions. I have several interview slots available next week.”
“I’m applying for the Content Strategist position you listed on Indeed. I have five years of experience in content creation and think I would be a great fit for your company. My portfolio and résumé are attached, please let me know if you’d like additional information.”
Step 6: the close
Here are some great options:
“Thanks in advance”
“Thank you so much for your time”
What does this look like all together?
Hi Marcus, My name is Tina, and I have a popular blog called ‘Purrfection’ chronicling my life as a crazy cat lady.
I’ve been following your blog since March and I loved your article on grooming ornery cats. You had some wonderful insights that have been super helpful in my work at the shelter.
I would love to interview you for my podcast, ‘Taming the Tiger,’ which has over 10,000 listeners. Please let me know if you’re interested and have any questions. I have several interview slots available next week.
Keep your paragraphs short and your message brief, so you don’t overwhelm your reader.
Always check your spelling and grammar before sending your email to make sure it’s error free.