As email, chat, and SMS messages have become the norm, many people forget (or never knew how) to compose a proper business letter. In this article, we shall provide expert tips on how to write a letter using the formal business letter format.
If you need help with skills such as writing a cover letter, revamping your resume, or how to search for jobs, contact your local employment services. They can help you get started on the career path to match your skills and experience.
Business Letter Format
In today’s business world, business letters are still an important means of communication. You need to be able to write a cover letter when applying for a job. As well, you may need this skill to communicate with clients, make a sales pitch or market your product or brand. Following is a guide to the proper letter format in the business world.
- Contact Information
This is your business contact details. Ideally, a business letter should be written on company letterhead. You should include the physical address of your company as well as the phone number and extension at which you can be reached. If you’re not emailing the letter, you can include your email address in the contact information before your phone number, but after the company address.
The next line should be the date (skip a line). In the proper business letter format, you should never abbreviate, but write out the full name of the month.
- Name and Address of Recipient
Again, skipping a line, write the full name, title, and address of the recipient of the business letter. Write it out as you would address an envelope.
Skip another line. Then write “Dear ______”, using the title and last name of the recipient. It is best to avoid greetings such as “Dear Sir/Madam” and “To Whom It May Concern. In the event that you are unsure of the recipient, you can contact the company or do an online search to find the correct title.
Typically, for business letter format, it is best to use block format. This is basically left justification of the text and single spacing between sentences. You should not indent paragraphs but should keep a line between each.
It is best to stick to around four paragraphs, or less, using the following guidelines:
1st paragraph: State the purpose of the business letter
2nd and 3rd paragraphs: Provide the specifics
4th and final paragraph: State the specific actions you would like the recipient to take.
Most often, “Sincerely” is the best way to close a business letter. Be sure to skip a space after the final paragraph. Then add the closing, skip another space and type out your full name.
In the event that the business letter will be printed out and require a signature, you should skip about four spaces to leave enough room.
- Use a professional font such as Ariel, Calibri, Cambria, Open Sans, New Times Roman, Garamond.
- Always proofread before sending. Use both a spell check and a grammar check. If possible, ask someone to proofread it for you.
- Stick to the facts. Do not speculate or go too much into detail. Include any relevant details but not ramble on.
- Keep the letter to one page only.
- Include any necessary attachments.
- Be sure to use non-discriminatory user-friendly terminology so as not to offend anyone.
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