How to Write an Email for Requesting Something (With Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 20 June 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Professionals often send emails for a variety of reasons, such as asking a question, reminding the recipient of a meeting or requesting something. When you email someone to ask for something, it's important to create a clear and polite message. Knowing how to write an email for requesting something can help you seem professional and responsible. In this article, we explain what this type of email is, outline steps to write it, share tips for creating these emails and provide an example.
What is a request email?
A request email is a message where you ask the recipient for something. For example, you might ask a question or information. Typically, these emails are short and specific. Making your request email brief can help the recipient understand what you're asking of them.
Writing an email to request something can be a professional and courteous way to ask for resources you need or want in your career. There are several instances in which you might request something during your career. Using email as a method of making requests can help to ensure that you:
clearly communicate all the necessary items of your request
record your request in writing for future follow-up
organise your communications
include any supplementary documents needed to fulfil your request
express your appreciation and gratitude
How to write an email for requesting something
Consider the following steps on how to write an email for requesting something:
1. Organise your request
Before writing your email, it may be beneficial to organise your thoughts concerning your request. Depending on the request, the types of considerations you make may vary. To better understand the nature of your request, try writing the benefits of having your request fulfilled and the necessary steps to complete it. You can also use this preparation time to gather any supplemental documents you may need to strengthen your case.
2. Write an approachable subject line
Once you feel ready to write your email, begin with an approachable subject line. Do your best to summarise the contents of your email in a single sentence. You can also use the subject line as more of a generic greeting to create a tone of friendliness and encourage your recipient to open the email and learn more about its contents.
3. Begin with a formal salutation
Next, you can greet your recipient. To maintain a tone of professionalism, it's important to begin your email with a formal salutation to the reader. Examples of formal salutations include:
Dear [name of recipient]
To whom it may concern
Hello [name of recipient]
Beginning your email in this way helps ensure the reader of your professional motivations, establishes trust and creates a pleasant first impression, which may increase the chances of the reader fulfilling your request.
4. Express your request
You may use the first paragraph of the body of your email to express the nature of your request. It may be beneficial to use the first sentence or two to show your appreciation of your recipient's consideration or to express your admiration of their work before making your complete request. If you don't have an existing relationship with your recipient, it's important to introduce yourself in this section of your email. Include your full name, job title and organisation.
Then, in clear and concise sentences, explain your request fully. Be sure to include all the details your recipient may need to fulfil your request and mention any supplementary documents you may have attached to the email.
5. Include benefits for the recipient
You can use the next paragraph of your email to explain the benefits the recipient may receive from fulfilling your request. This step is an important part of securing your request as your reader may be more likely to comply if they feel they're receiving something of value in exchange. In two to four sentences, highlight the personal or professional gains the recipient may receive after complying with your request.
6. Conclude with a call to action
You may conclude your email with a clear call to action. A call to action is the step you wish your recipient to take after reading your email. Depending on the nature of your request, your call to action may vary. To emphasise your call to action, you may use the last sentence of the body of your email to state the next steps towards complying with your request. Then, be sure to close your email with a friendly sign-off, such as:
All the best
It's also important to include your contact information at the end of your email. This can include your full name, job title, department, organisation, phone number and alternate email address. Providing this information ensures the reader can contact you for further discussion.
Tips for writing an email to request something
Consider following these steps to write an email to request something:
When creating your email, be concise. Usually, emails for requesting something are short. The recipient may be busy with their professional duties, so it's helpful to write a precise message. To do this, only include relevant information.
Use polite language
Since you're asking the recipient for something, it's important to be polite. Being respectful can increase your chances of the recipient responding to your email. A best practice is to thank the reader for their time and to use please when asking them for something.
Revise your email
After you're done writing your email, proofread and revise it. This helps ensure your message has no mistakes in it, which can help you appear more professional. When requesting something from someone, it's helpful to be formal. Read your email aloud and check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes.
Related: Guide on How To Write an Email
Attach documents as needed
If you have any important documents that apply to your request, remember to attach them to your email. For example, if you're asking someone to donate to a charity, you might include a document that explains the fundraising organisation or how the charity uses donations. Inform the recipient that you added something to the email, so they know to look at the attachments.
Make only one request
In your email, try to only request one thing at a time. This might increase the chances of them fulfilling your request. If you ask for multiple things at once, the recipient might miss your most important request. Even if you have several requests for one person, limit yourself to the most significant item.
Sample of an email to request something
Here's an example of an email for requesting something you can use as a reference:
Dear Professor Nadeem,
Hello, this is Beth Lim. I'm a Sales and Marketing intern at Newman Star Products. As you might know, I graduated in May and I've been gaining practical experience as an intern. I'm contacting you today because I need a letter of recommendation for several entry-level marketing positions to which I've been applying. I thoroughly enjoyed the classes I took with you, and I believe your teaching helped developed me into the professional I am today.
Since you've worked closely with me, I'm confident that a letter of recommendation from you would help me secure a job. Your referral would help improve my application as you're a well-known professor at North River University. I know that you're busy with classes, so in return, I'd like to volunteer as a teacher's aide for the first half of next semester.
If you're interested in writing me a letter of recommendation, please respond to this email. I can provide you with more details about what would be helpful to include in the letter. Thank you for your consideration.
All the best,
Sales and Marketing Intern, Newman Star Products
+65 8302 2912
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