Q: My question pertains to the subject line of an e-mail message. I want to send my former manager an e-mail asking him for a recommendation letter for work and scholarships. Should I title the e-mail “Letter of Recommendation,” or “Hello Mr. X, I would like your assistance,” or even, “This is Y, I was wondering if you could help me”? The first seems too forward, while the second seems rather insecure and needy, as does the last.
A: The subject line is an opportunity to give the recipient a brief understanding of your e-mail’s content. A few words will suffice, such as “Request for a Letter of Recommendation.” The body of the message would begin, “Dear Mr. Smith, I am writing to ask if you would be so kind as to…etc.”