‘Wait so how do I actually write a professional email?’ I hear you ask. Perhaps you’re a student in Year 10, 11 or 12 and are desperately trying to get some work experience. You’ve found someone who may be able to help, whether that was through your friends, family, school, other connections or the internet but now you need to contact them. But how?!
You may have never written an email like this before and be spending hours and hours drafting. Perhaps you don't know how to address them or are trying to avoid sounding cheesy and unprofessional? This is can be very frustrating - I know the drill, I’ve been through it. So, here are a couple of tips to get you started...
Before you start thinking about the content of the email it’s important to consider what email address you'll be using. I would strongly suggest using your school email address as this will be one of the first things the recipient will see and will help maintain an element of professionalism. If you don’t have a school email, make sure the email address you use has your full name and is a sensible one, avoiding things like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’...
Another important thing to remember is, when you're writing the email, try to keep it concise - often the shorter the better! These professionals are busy people and therefore are more likely to ignore long emails.
Now, you are probably wondering ‘what am I supposed to include then?’. To make your life a little easier, I’ve included an example below. You can also check out the Medmentor SuperPack which breaks down the process of getting work experience into easy and practical steps; these include how to find emails, ready-to-go templates, and an interactive log that tells you when to follow-up doctors! Hopefully this will save you precious time and relieve you from any unnecessary stress :)
Good morning Dr Ray Carson,
I hope you are well.
My name is Adam Hussain and I am a Year 12 student at QEH Sixth Form.
I am very interested in Haematology and was wondering if I could shadow you for my work experience in April?
I understand that you are very busy so thank you so much for taking the time to read my email. I am so excited to hear from you!
Now, of course with COVID-19 things are likely to be a little different. It may be more challenging to arrange work experience amidst a pandemic due to the new restrictions in place. Although work experience in a clinical setting is probably more desirable to you, we need to think of alternatives in case it isn't possible (as it’s hard to predict what is going to happen over the next few months!). Remember, medicine is all about adapting to your circumstances!
One simple way to gain a greater insight into medicine, without in-person interaction, is by watching ‘A Day in the Life’ videos of the junior doctors who post a lot of information about their jobs on YouTube. Perhaps you could also email the consultant/GP/manager that you were trying to shadow to arrange a phone call with them instead. This could be an opportunity for you to ask them a few questions about their experiences of a medical career. Another alternative could be you creating a LinkedIn account and networking with professionals on there? (Blog post on networking coming soon!). There are also some great resources linked on our superhub which provide loads of examples of alternative work experience you could partake in (for example virtual shadowing and various volunteering opportunities) so be sure to check them out if you are looking for more inspiration!
Hope you found this useful and good luck in your endeavors!
Author: Sana Kahn
Editor: Allegra Wisking