A business letter is a formal and official means of communication between parties involved in a professional relationship. These letters are commonly exchanged between companies, corporations, organizations, or private professionals and their customers, clients, business partners, or between each other.
Over the past decades, the development of technology has and continues to provide many different options of communication that are more convenient and instantaneous. Despite this, business letters are still the favored means of official correspondence because it is accompanied by a sense of professionalism and urgency. Additionally, business letters may also serve as a concrete proof of communication, deals, notices, orders, memos, requests, and agreements between those involved.
Being able to compose a well-written business letter is a valuable skill for those who are making a living in the corporate world. Check out these guidelines and Sample Letters for tips on writing a good business letter.
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Basic Parts of a Business Letter
A letterhead is the official heading printed on company stationery, which includes the company name, location, and contact information. Companies that don’t have a letterhead could make do by simply writing these information down on one of the upper corners of the paper.
Write the recipient’s complete name, job title, and company name and location. If you don’t know these information, don’t hesitate to call the company to get them. Use a “To Whom It May Concern” as a last resort.
Your recipient is expecting to read a business letter, not a novel. Don’t worry about flowery words or sounding poetic. Instead, concern yourself with sounding professional and credible. Don’t waste your own or the recipient’s time. Go straight to the point.
Own your statements. When writing your own opinion, use the pronoun “I.” Use “we” when writing on behalf of the company. Make sure that you balance being conversational and being professional in your letter.
Thank the recipient for taking the time to read your letter. If appropriate, make sure to enforce a call to action. Close the letter with an appropriate salutation and your handwritten signature. See these Business Letter Salutations for an in-depth guide in choosing a salutation.
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No matter the contents of your letter, most business letters follow the same format. Use these Personal Business Letters as an outline when constructing your letter.
While it may depend on which of the many different formats you choose, most business letters would require that margin only be an inch on all sides, or an inch and a few quarters at most in certain sides.
Countries like the United States and the Philippines prefer a letter-sized 8.5” × 11” paper as the standard size. However, other countries like the United Kingdom and China prefer an A4-sized paper as the standard. Lengthier contracts are printed on a legal-sized paper that measure 8.5” in width and 14” in length.
Because a business letter is not an art project, use sans serif fonts like Gotham and Georgia. Times New Roman is used typically because it already has a conservative reputation. Make sure to use a consistent font face, size, and color (strictly black).
Yes, the format of your letter may be important, but the most important element in business letter-writing is keeping a professional tone. Download the many different kinds of business letter samples we have available on the site to utilize as your guide to formal letter-writing.
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