Businesses, corporations, universities, schools, medical institutions—all these are organizations that aim to achieve their organizational goals. In order to do so, any type of organization must observe standard procedures in their regular processes or operations. By virtue of logic, these organizations also need to use formal letters and documents in communicating with other individuals or business entities.
These formal letters are vital tools for ensuring organizational success. Without the presence of formal letters, businesses and corporations will cease to operate professionally and with transparency. Indeed, there are several advantages of utilizing formal letters in the professional setting.
Whether you are a business associate, a manager, a job applicant, or a school administrator, you need to learn the different types of formal letters in order to write the most appropriate type of letter for your professional needs. To help guide you in knowing the different types of formal letters and its corresponding formats, feel free to refer to our templates on this page. Our templates are easily customizable being in Word and PDF formats. You can also download these free and store easily in your laptops and devices.
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What Are Formal Letters?
Formal letters are letters that are used in the professional setting. Business corporations, nonprofit organizations, and universities are the most common institutions that have a need for formal letters. Formal letters are essential in any organization that seeks to be taken seriously. A formal letter can help advertise the legitimacy of an organization. In the case of corporations and businesses, sending out formal letters could make them attract potential business partners, vendors, and buyers.
One example of a letter in the business setting that has this effect is the business letter. Furthermore, businesses would be able to operate effectively if they hire manpower or employees who are the most qualified for the specific job positions in the company. In relation to this, hiring managers and employers of any company would be able to assess which applicant fits the job best by referring to their recommendation letters and cover letters. Lastly, formal letters are essential in businesses since most states mandate business owners to observe certain rules and formal documents in their business dealings and employee management procedures.
On the other hand, educational institutions value formal letters as a way to be objective in choosing which prospective students are most deserving of a particular degree slot in their university.
Indeed, there is a plethora of circumstances that necessitates the usage of formal letters, which will be discussed in more detail below.
Various Circumstances That Necessitates the Usage of Formal Letters
- When a job applicant wants to apply for a job position and must submit a cover letter.
- When a previous employer, manager, or professor is asked to write a recommendation letter in favor of someone in order to increase that person’s chances of getting hired.
- When an employer wants to manage an employee who has either violated the company rules or failed to perform his job functions repeatedly.
- When an employer has decided to terminate the employment of an employee who, despite the employer’s previous notice and being given the chance to correct his errors, failed to eradicate the cause for the grounds of valid employment termination.
- When a member of a nonprofit organization, a student, or anyone who is in need of financial aid asks for financial help from a wealthy individual, corporation, or any money-lending entity.
- When an owner of a land, an apartment, a commercial unit, or any establishment or property for rent would require that the prospective tenant hand out a tenancy recommendation letter.
- When someone wants to show his/her appreciation for someone else, be it a teacher, a colleague, or an employer.
- When a person wants to complain about something to the appropriate authority or individual who can give a solution to the reason for such a complain.
- When a person wants to demand payment from someone who owes them money.
- When a hiring manager, a human resource staff, or an employer wishes to give job offer to a job applicant whom they consider as fitting for the vacant job position in their company.
- When an employee wishes to resign from his position.
Who Writes Formal Letters
Depending on the type of formal letter, different people can write a formal letter. The most common individuals whose tasks or nature of his/her job, position, or circumstance necessitates him/her to write a formal letter are the following:
- An employee who wishes to resign
- An employer who wishes to give out notices or warnings to his/her employees
- A job applicant
- Someone close to a scholarship grant applicant
- Someone asking for donations or sponsorship
- A previous professor
- A previous internship adviser
- A previous or current manager
- A previous or current employer
- The head or co-member of an organization that the applicant is a currently or previously a part of
- A person demanding a sum of money from someone
- A previous landlord
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How to Write Formal Letters
Formal letters follow standard letter formats. To help guide you through your letter-writing, here are some basic guidelines that you must observe:
1. Start by assessing the purpose of your letter.
You cannot write an outline if you have not clearly understood the main goal of writing your letter. That is why you need to examine first the reasons for writing a formal letter.
2. Afterward, conduct research.
After knowing the purpose, there may be a need for you to research on the letter details such as the name and address of the recipients. Also, you may also research about other essential information that you will include in your letter. For example, if you are writing in behalf of a job applicant, you need to know the job description of the position that he/she is applying for.
3. Start with the heading.
There should be two blocks for your heading—one for your details (name, complete address, and title if applicable) then the other for the details of the recipient.
4. Write the date.
Of course, like all formal letters, you need to indicate the date when you wrote and sent the letter. This is especially important for record-keeping and legal purposes.
5. Formally greet your letter-recipient.
It is important for you to utilize formal titles in your greeting. You may use any of the following:
- Dear Sir
- Dear Ma’am
- Dear Ms.
- Dear Mrs.
- Dear Atty. ____
- Dear Dr. _____
- To Whom It May Concern
6. State your letter’s intent.
In order to avoid wasting the time of your letter-recipient, directly state in clear terms why you are writing your letter. You may do so by observing any of the following formats:
- I am writing in order to _____.
- The purpose of this letter is to ___________.
- This letter serves as a notification with regard to _________.
- This is a/an __________ letter that is sent in order to let you know that __________.
7. Write your letter’s content in the body.
Whatever the purpose for writing your letter, it is essential that you elaborate more on it and the reasons behind such formal letters in the letter’s body. It should comprise at least one paragraph or more.
8. If applicable, provide supporting documents.
There are types of formal letters that necessitates you attach another document in order to support whatever claims you are making in your letter. For example, if you are requesting for a leave, you may attach a medical certificate. If you are sending a business letter to your clients with the intent of advertising your company’s products and services, you may attach a quotation document. There are numerous supporting documents that may be attached in formal letters.
9. Close your letter formally.
Clearly, since it is a formal letter, you need to end it with formal closing remarks such as “Warmest regards,” “Sincerely yours,” and other acceptable types of closing.
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Various Types of Formal Letters
- Resignation Letters
This type of letter is sent by an employee who wishes to leave his/her job position. There are several reasons for resigning and some of those are the following:
1. retirement due to old age,
2. medical reasons,
3. family reasons,
4. relocation, and
5. better career opportunities in other companies.
- Reference Letters
A reference letter is also known as a recommendation letter. This type of letter is written in behalf of another person. The purpose for this letter is to convince a hiring manager, employer, school administrator, or any person with the authority of granting something, that an applicant deserves the grant, slot, or position that he/she is applying for.
There are several sub-types of reference letters, and the most prominent and widely used ones are the following:
1. Academic Reference Letters: This type of reference is written in behalf of a prospective student in order to ensure that he/she gains a slot for the school or degree program that he/she is applying for. This reference is especially helpful for aspiring graduate students, medical, and law students.
2. Employment Reference Letters: The purpose of this letter is a job applicant’s chances of getting hired for the job position that he/she is applying for.
3. Scholarship Grant Reference Letters: This letter is usually sent so that a student who is in need of financial assistance would be given a scholarship grant that can cover all his/her educational costs.
- Cover Letters
A cover letter is a letter attached to a job applicant’s resume. It contains a brief overview of the applicant’s qualifications.
- Job Offer Letters
Job offer letters have various sub-types and those are the following:
1. Job Offer Acceptance Letters: This letter is sent by a job applicant who decides to accept the job offer that he/she received.
2. Job Offer Rejection Letters: In contrast, this letter is sent when a job applicant rejects a job offer. This letter must be sent promptly.
Request letters are written by individuals who are requesting something from someone.
The following are examples of request letters:
1. Sponsorship Letters
2. Sports Sponsorship Letters
3. Donation Request Letters
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Appointment letters contain a request for appointment with someone. This letter states the purpose for the appointment and the appointment specifics such as the date, time, and place of the appointment.
These letters are sent in order to demand something from someone. The following are examples of circumstances that makes demand letters necessary:
1. when an landowner or landlord/landlady is demanding overdue payment from his/her tenant;
2. when an unsatisfied customer or client is demanding certain services from a service provider; and
3. when an individual suffers injury (be it personal or through his/her property) due to the actions or inactions of someone and thus demands payment or reparation damages.
The following are the various types of tenancy letters:
1. Tenancy Agreement Letters: This letter contains the terms of agreement that the landowner/landlord offers a prospective tenant. If the tenant accepts such terms, then this letter would be legally admissible.
2. Tenant Recommendation Letter: This letter’s purpose is to convince a landlord/landlady that a prospective tenant is trustworthy enough to rent his/her property.
3. Tenancy Termination Letter: This letter is sent by a landlord/landlady to a tenant who failed to make his/her payment on time or has duly violated the terms of the tenancy agreement contract. The purpose of this letter is to notify the said tenant that the tenancy contract is terminated.
The intent of this letter is to formally notify someone that his/her action or non-action has caused another person discomfort or otherwise incapacitates that person to perform his/her daily tasks effectively.
An appreciation letter contains words of admiration or gratitude toward someone. Mostly, this is sent by students who appreciate his/her teachers. Or sometimes, an employer, in order to strengthen the bond between him/her and his/her employees, would personally express his/her words of encouragement or admiration for an employee’s excellent work performance.
Some More Tips in Writing a Formal Letter
- Always keep a formal tone.
- Be concise and clear.
- Avoid exaggerations and unnecessary superfluity.
- Proofread before sending.
- Send your letter on time.
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