Have you sent an email that is important to you and not received a reply? Not sure how to politely ask for feedback without upsetting the recipient?

Probably all of us have been in a similar situation at least once. On the one hand, you would like to know the answer to your questions, on the other hand, you don’t want to jeopardise yourself, for example, to a professor or a potential employer with your urgings.

In today’s post, you will find useful tips to avoid this. In the article, I have included examples of gentle and polite reminder emails.

When to ask for an email reply?

There are no preconceived rules about after what time you can ask for a reply to an email. It all depends on the situation – if we need an answer right now, even writing a reminder email after an hour will be understandable. However, it is always better to wait longer before sending it. We should not prioritise our impatience over the recipient’s time.

So unless you are in a crisis, I recommend waiting a minimum of three working days before sending the message again. An early reminder may be perceived negatively and seen as bad taste. If you care about the response and about not alienating the recipient, you should adjust to their time – even though the wait is unpleasant for you.

For your mental comfort, it is worth realising that a lack of immediate response is rarely due to the ignorance of the recipient. It is usually due to a lack of time and the pressure of other emails or activities. It’s worth bearing this in mind before you proceed to write a reminder email.

How to write a reminder email? Examples

Asking for a reply to an email is stressful, especially if you are somehow dependent on the recipient and if you only have an official relationship. For example, for most students, it is stressful to write to professors, and for jobseekers to write to recruiters and employers. In a way, their immediate future depends on these people.

This is why it is so important to be tactful and to always put the recipient’s comfort first. Above all, a reminder e-mail should be gentle and unobtrusive. Under no circumstances should you write to the recipient with resentment. The message should be short and non-emotional.

It is also important to take care of linguistic correctness and avoid mistakes. Before sending an e-mail, check for typos, repetitions, and other errors. For my part, I can recommend a helpful online proofreading tool – Language Tool.

When addressing a lecturer, it is important to use the correct academic title.

Below I have included examples of polite request emails:

Example 1. A reminder email to a professor

Example 1. Reminder email to a professorDear Professor [SURNAME]

On [DATE] I sent you an email entitled: [MAIL TITLE] asking for [WHAT THE E-MAIL REFERRED TO]. I would be very grateful if you could give me an answer this week. I have to [REASON FOR URGENCY] (e.g. submit my documents to the dean’s office) by [DATE]. My deepest apologies for the inconvenience and the urgency.

Yours sincerely

[name, level and subject of study]

Example 2: A reminder email to an employer

example 2. Reminder email to an employerDear Sir/Madam

On [DATE] I sent you an e-mail entitled [MAIL TITLE] with application documents for the position of [POSITION]. I would be very grateful for your feedback – both positive and negative. It has been [NUMBER OF MONTHS] since the recruitment and I am wondering if you have managed to find a suitable candidate. If not, I would like to express further interest in the position of [POSITION] in your company.

Yours sincerely

[name, telephone number]

Example 3. A general, formal e-mail with a request for a reply

Example 3. General, formal reminder emailDear Sir or Madam

On [DATE] I sent you an e-mail entitled [MAIL TITLE] with a request/offer/proposal for [WHAT THE E-MAIL REFERRED TO]. I kindly ask you to let me know if you have had time to read it. I would be very grateful for your feedback.

Yours sincerely

[name, telephone number]

What should I do if, despite sending a reminder email, the recipient still does not reply?

It may happen that, despite our request, we still do not receive a reply from the recipient. In such a situation, sending more e-mails is rather pointless. To begin with, it is worth checking that we sent the message to the correct e-mail address. Perhaps a typo or missing punctuation mark is preventing us from reaching the recipient.

If possible, it is also worth finding out if the recipient is on holiday. If you are trying to contact a lecturer, you should get this information from the university. It’s also possible that some professors of the old school don’t look at the e-mails and you’ll have to go to them in person to sort something out.

How to politely ask someone to reply to our email? – concluding tips

How to rank your website on Google with content - 7 tipsAs a wrap-up, I’ve put together a list of tips to keep in mind when writing a reminder email:

  1. remember to be polite,
  2. ensure linguistic correctness,
  3. include the date and the title of your previous e-mail,
  4. be concise and concrete,
  5. avoid a demanding tone,
  6. explain why you need a quick reply (optional),
  7. include your contact details.

I hope you found my post helpful. Good luck!


Hi, my name is Marta. I am a content marketing specialist and copywriter with over 10 years of experience. On my blog I cover topics related to marketing, copywriting and blogging.

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