Sending emails can become an enormous time-suck, pulling you away from the important tasks during your work day. Message templates for some common and not-so-common situations can help you trim out the excess minutes you spend hemming and hawing over email correspondences. Browse through some of these email template scenarios and identify the messages you often waste time on. If you’ve had to send a certain type of email more than once, it might be time to create a template for it!
Networking and Broadcast Updates
1. New Marketing Announcements
If you or your company has a significant online following or a mailing list, then you understand just how important it is to send out clear and error-free emails. When you announce new products or services, it’s vital to provide your audience with key points about the launch. Create a basic email template so that you can include minimum necessities, such as:
- What the new product or service is
- Timeframe (when the new product or service will be available)
- Why this product or service is relevant to your audience (the value proposition)
- How customers can obtain it
- Where customers can find a new service or product, if you have a brick-and-mortar location
- Your contact information
2. Asking for Introductions
If someone in your network is connected directly to an influential person in your industry, you might want to ask for an introduction. Having a template for these situations can help you overcome your nerves and just ask for a connection already. Here are some key points to include in your email:
- The name and title of the person you’d like to be introduced to
- Why you want this introduction
- The ideal method of communication (in-person, phone, or email)
3. Upcoming Events
Are you trying to boost attendance at an upcoming open house, conference, or some other work-related event? Or maybe you’re trying to spark interest internally for an optional training session or post-shift happy hour. Instead of crafting a new email from scratch each time something comes up, you can just plug your request into an email template and sent it to the relevant parties. Here are some details to include regarding the event:
- What will be covered
- Additional incentives
- Who will be there
4. Social Media Requests
Most people relegate those annoying “Invitation to Connect” emails from social media companies to the spam folder, especially when they arrive in a work inbox. Some have learned to distrust these social network invites, since they are often automatically sent to everyone in an address book. You can avoid being overlooked by sending a personalized request template directly from your own email, so that the recipient understands who you are and why you’d like to connect on social media. Here are some points to include:
- How you know each other
- Mutual contacts
- Relevant shared interests
- Why you’ want to connect
CareerRealism has a great write-up on how social media invitations can increase your audience.
5. Client Follow Ups
If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, then you might want to touch base to see how they’re doing. You’ll likely want to create a template for follow-ups sent during the purchase decision process and follow-ups for after the transaction is complete. Be sure to consider these points:
- Don’t rush clients or be pushy for an update
- Recap the last conversation you had
- Ask if there’s anything you can do to help
Looking for Work
1. Inquiry Letters
Not every company posts a clear description of their current openings online. Sometimes it’s better to get in touch with a recruiter directly, so that you can learn more about their positions, company culture, and application processes. If you are sending inquiry letters to learn about available positions, here are a few things to include:
- A brief introduction of yourself and your professional background
- How you learned about the company
- Ask for their application procedures – don’t just include your cover letter and resume with the assumption that this is it
2. Reference Requests
You should have at least three or four go-to references while you search for jobs, since they might be contacted on short notice during the application review process. If you haven’t secured your references yet, then you’ll need to ask some former supervisors, colleagues, and academic connections. Here’s what to include when you request a reference:
- The position and company you’re applying to (or the general field if you’re applying to multiple places)
- An update on your professional life (if you haven’t been in touch recently)
- Links to your online portfolio or professional social media profile
3. A Thank You
After you meet with a recruiter for an interview, it’s important to email them a brief message and thank them for their time. These thank you messages might seem pretty straight forward, but they help recruiters keep you in mind as they interview other prospective applicants. Here are some key points to address:
- Your appreciation of their time
- Your contact information
- An invitation for recruiters to ask you any additional questions
Business Daily News has posted several Thank You Letter examples.
4. Follow Ups
It’s been two weeks since you’ve applied to a company. Or maybe the notification time period you were given after an interview has lapsed. Of course you’d like to follow up and see how your application review process is doing, but you also don’t want to inconvenience recruiters. Here’s what to include in your single, well-timed follow up so that it’s not awkward:
- A reminder of who you are and your last interaction
- A request to confirm the receipt of your application or the response time frame after your interview
- An invitation for recruiters to ask questions or request additional application documents
Learn more about application follow ups by checking out this U.S. News and World Report resource.
5. Declining Offers
There are many reasons why you might decline a job offer. Perhaps you’ve already accepted employment elsewhere. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable accepting the pay rate or duties associated with a particular offer. Whatever the reason, you might want to have an email template on hand to decline. Here are some aspects to keep in mind:
- Don’t burn bridges. Be careful with what you say, since you might seek out this employer again in the future.
- Provide positive feedback and let the employer know if you had a positive experience while applying and being interviewed
Streamlining Professional Communications
1. Asking for Clarification
While you’re trying to hammer out the details for an upcoming task or project, it’s easy for people to get vague. You might need to ask for further clarification before you can proceed. Create a template that addresses these questions:
- The scope and size of the project
- Needed resources
- Who your main contacts will be
SkillsYouNeed has published a fantastic tutorial on how to ask clarifying questions.
2. Identifying Common Resources
If you become known for your expertise at work, you might receive emails from other employees or professional connections who want to pick your brain about resources. Instead of replying to each one individually, create a template with this vital information. Be sure to include:
- Your personal best practices
- Links to internal and external guides
- Other company employees who can serve as a resource
3. Asking for Additional Resources
You might begin a task or job, only to find that you don’t have access to enough resources. You’ll need to identify the supervisor or project coordinator that can provide you with these resources. If you have to submit these inquiries frequently, be sure to ask about:
- Project specifications
- Important points of contact
- Budgetary constraints
Learn more about asking your employer for additional support at The Glass Hammer.
4. Apologetic Corrections
Email is a tricky art. At work, you might send dozens of emails a day, and sometimes you cross wires. You might need to issue a correction or inform someone that they weren’t the correct recipients. Here are a few handy templates to keep on hand, in case something goes wrong.
- Notifying a recipient to disregard a previous email that wasn’t intended for them
- Notifying a recipient of a correction to an email’s content
- Apologizing for a belated email correspondence
Instructional Solutions provides businesses with additional ideas on apologizing via email.
5. Going On Vacation
If you’re going to be out of the office, you need to inform your coworkers and clients who their next available point of contact is. Auto-responders that inform people that you’re out of the office are rarely surprising, after all, we all need some time away from work. Here’s what to include in your auto-responder:
- The timeframe of your vacation
- At least two alternative points of contact
- A promise to follow up once you return
The Tough Stuff
1. Declining New Tasks Gracefully
If you’ve got too much work on your plate, you’ll likely need to turn away additional responsibilities. It’s important to do this on a timely basis, so that the other person has the chance to find a replacement. It is possible to say no without being awkward, rushed, or impolite. Here are the main points to address:
- Thank them for their confidence in your abilities
- Tell them that you either don’t have the necessary time, experience, or resources to complete the said task
- Wish them well in finding a different employee for the job
2. Questioning Your Supervisor
It’s extremely difficult to challenge your supervisor’s decisions. However, you can do so tactfully and it might not be apparent that you are questioning them at all! Here are some ways to reduce the tension while questioning your supervisor’s methods or decisions.
- Provide a summary of what your supervisor wants. You might be misunderstanding their directions, and this gives your supervisor a chance to clarify.
- If the decisions go against company policies, mention it. It’s usually better to cover yourself rather than go along with potentially illegal or unauthorized tasks.
Monster provides some great tips on challenging your supervisor without getting into trouble.
3. Submitting Complaints
HR departments exist for many reasons. You might need to submit a complaint about unprofessional behavior in the workplace, which can be an incredibly tough thing to do. If you decide to file a complaint, try to be as objective as possible. Examine your HR complaint procedures and keep the following factors in mind:
- Only report the facts. Don’t speculate about an incident. Report relevant times, names of people involved, and locations.
- Let them know if you’ve already informed your supervisor of the incident.
- Be polite and use professional language. While you might be extremely upset during a work conflict, your credibility can be lost if you’re using vulgar or extremely emotional language.
CBS Money Watch provides some wise advice on when and when not to contact HR.
4. Leaving Your Job
Quitting a job can be uncomfortable, no matter what the circumstances. However, you might want to have a resignation letter template on hand, just in case you find a new job, need to leave for personal reasons, or just want to reassess your professional situation. Here’s what to cover in your resignation letter:
- Your preferred last day
- A declaration of your resignation
- Relevant contacts for shifting responsibilities
- A general “thank you” to your colleagues
5. Saying Goodbye to Coworkers and Colleagues
After you submit a resignation letter, you might also want to send goodbye notices to your fellow colleagues and clients. Depending on the nature of your work, these people might need to know that you will no longer be a point of contact at a company. These goodbye letters should cover:
- Important contact information for those taking over your duties
- Where to find resources you’ve created for the company
- Your thanks
- An invitation to connect via social media (only if outside communications are permitted by your current employment contract)
CareerBright provides some great advice on saying farewell without cutting important professional ties.