Write Work Emails Like a Pro With These 5 Tips (Hint: Emojis Not Allowed)

girl checking mail with tablet
Marco_Piunti/Getty Images

Much to the annoyance of some of my friends, I love to liven up my email and text messages with smiley faces and other teeny images. I sometimes construct entire sentences out of emojis.

🤓

I even use emojis when communicating with colleagues, but apparently I need to stop doing that now.  

A new study says using emojis in work emails might call your competence into question and even turn people off.

😬

Way to suck the joy out of life, researchers.

People consider smiley emojis to be the digital equivalent of an in-person smile and sometimes use it in work email to convey friendliness.

However, the results of this study suggest emojis make the sender look unprofessional which, in turn, makes the recipient less likely to share information.

The authors give the thumbs up to using smileys in work emails only if you already know the person.

Sigh. Fine.

😡

I’ll keep my emojis to myself. But I don’t have to like it.

5 Tips for Writing Professional Emails

Even if you don’t load your work email messages with smileys, it’s still important to make sure your messages look and sound professional.

Use these five tips to write (emoji-free) work emails people will want to read.

1. Save Goofy Fonts for Personal Emails

Unusual fonts are fine when emailing friends and family, but stick to the old standards for work. You can’t go wrong with commonly-used fonts like Arial, Verdana or Tahoma.

In addition to making your emails look professional, easy-to-read fonts make your messages accessible to visually impaired people.

2. Steer Clear of Anything That Moves, Sparkles or Blinks

Just because you can send emails with gifs, dancing banana emojis or flashing banners doesn’t mean you should. In fact, you most definitely should not.

3. Don’t Use Text-Speak

You’re not paying by the letter when you send an email, so spell out all of your words and skip the acronyms.

Right: Are you free to meet this Thursday at 2:00 to discuss buying an office alpaca?

Wrong: omg I have a gr8 idea!! Can we sked a F2F mtg Thurs @ 2? lmk

4. Avoid Vague Subject Lines

Many people filter and categorize work emails based on what’s in the subject line, others decide which emails to prioritize and read based on the subject line.

Clear and concise subject lines are a hallmark of professional-looking emails.  

5. Don’t Write a Novel

The email experts at Boomerang say, “The sweet spot for email length is between 50-125 words.” If someone could watch “Titanic” in less time than it takes to read your email, you should probably just pick up the phone instead.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 👩🏻 ✏️ 💰👋 🐦 @lisah