Professional Communication

Communicating with a future employer is important to all job and internship search processes. Start off on the right foot by setting a professional standard in all communications with the company – from the administrator to hiring manager to the company President.


  • Utilize the subject line appropriately to quickly convey information; for example: Interview for Marketing Internship #678 
  • Use an appropriate greeting such as Dear Mr/Ms/Dr Last Name
    • If you are sending to a general mailbox, you may use “Hiring Committee”
  • Pick an easy to read font type and size – use black or blue font colors to keep it professional

The Body of the Email

  • Make sure to re-read your email for grammatical errors and punctuation
  • Stay away from abbreviations or terms that may not be known by everyone
  • Keep the tone of the email neutral or showing excitement, don’t overuse exclamation points or refrain from a phrase that may have negative connotations
  • Stick to the facts about yourself and your interest, but also about the position itself


  • Attachments should be sent as a PDF to ensure your formatting remains consistent and the person receiving the email can open it without any issue
  • Avoid sending Google Drive files whenever possible

This example is provided to support students in building their custom signature. If you hold positions in multiple student organizations, you can list them on separate lines. You do not have to include your email address if you’re sending an email – but you should include it if you’re messaging over Handshake or LinkedIn. You could also include a link to your LinkedIn profile to allow recruiters and alumni to find you more easily. 

Mack the Warrior  ่24
Business Administration | Merrimack College
President | Campus Spirit Club | 978-837-5480

  • Use name tags or business cards to identify who you are speaking with – mention their name in conversation to tell them you know who you’re talking with.
  • Seek to understand and listen – allow the other person to finish their thought before jumping in, write down questions you may have related to the conversation as you go to follow up on.
  • Be sure to ask questions – the specific questions will vary depending on the situation, but this may be one of your only opportunity to learn about the company and position.
    • Ask the representative about their experience or what they know about the experience of someone in the position you’re interested in.
  • Watch your body language and tone of voice – remember where you are and how you’re holding yourself, focus on showing an interest in the other person with nodding your head or other non-verbal cues.
  • Stick to the facts about yourself and your interest but also about the position itself.

Thank you messages are an important part of standing out to recruiters and alumni you meet throughout the networking and recruiting process. It is highly recommended to send thank you messages over email or LinkedIn.

When should you write a thank you message?

  • After meeting an employer or alum at an event.
  • Post-Internship & Career Fair, with companies you are most interested in.
  • After an interview for a position.

What timeframe should I send the thank you?

The earlier, the better! The best recommendation is to send the thank you within 24 hours of meeting with the representative(s). Sending it early allows you to remember the most important details and showcase your interest in the role and/or company potentially before other candidates. 

Who should receive a thank you?

The most common answer is to message your primary contact – the alum, recruiter or hiring manager. To stand out from the crowd you may consider sending a thank you to each person you met during the process. Speak with an advisor if you have questions on who to follow up with and at what point. 

What should you say?

This varies – but you may want to use a combination of the following:

  • Where you met them (especially if this wasn’t an interview).
  • The position(s) you spoke about during the interview or other activity.
  • Your interest in the company and/or position – even if you said it during the conversation, remind them that you did your research to learn about the company and how it aligns with your values and goals.
  • Using notes from your conversation, mention a specific example of something you liked about the opportunity or how it aligns with your experience.
  • If you shared a common interest – mention it!
    • For example, you may meet a Merrimack alumni – remind them that you shared a story about a professor you both had or about an athletic achievement.
    • Keep it short and sweet, relevant to your conversation whenever possible.
    • Something as simple as Go Warriors can make an impact.

What are the must haves if I’m sending a thank you?

  • Ensure you’re using proper grammar and professional language whenever possible – avoid acronyms and abbreviations unless it’s relevant to the work you’re doing, like mentioning a license/credential in your field can be shortened but avoid using text language.
  • Use a professional email address (ex: – if you don’t have a professional personal email, you can use your Merrimack email. 
  • Always specify the name of the alumni or recruiter at the beginning of the message.
  • Always sign your name – you can include your shortened name or only your first name in the closing, but make sure to write out your entire name at the bottom of the email (consider making an email signature – see example).

It’s important to utilize these professional communication skills throughout your time in the workplace. Now you’ll be communicating with colleagues, your supervisor or even your boss’s boss. It’s important to be professional and show your personality through different in person and virtual interactions. 

Things to remember

  • When requesting time off, phrase it as a question – not a demand. Your workplace may have a system to request dates and you may not be required to put it in an email.
    • It is also helpful to remind your supervisor when you will be out a few days ahead of time. You may need to outline asking a coworker to cover you while you’re away or putting an out of office message on your inbox.
    • The office culture will help guide you – if you’re unsure, ask your supervisor or a peer in the office.
  • If you know you will miss a deadline or be late to a meeting, send a notice at the earliest point in time. This will help set you up for future projects and meetings to decipher that you are aware of the needs of the team and understand what must be done.
    • Ask your supervisor or a peer for assistance where needed. 
  • Ask questions – if you have questions about a project or the people you’ll be working with you should ask your supervisor or a project lead. It can be helpful to put questions in writing if you would like to refer back to their responses.
    • Be specific in your questions and call attention to the most important ones with bolding or underlining where appropriate.