A business letter is written between the companies, parties or to the individuals by the companies in exchange for information, notices or confidential content. The format of a business letter depends upon the company’s style.
Contents of a Business letter
Following is an accurate guideline on how to compose a business letter starting from the first step to the last step.
Sender’s Address: If you’re not using letterhead, it is advisable to mention the sender’s address at the beginning of the letter, before you write the date. An address usually includes the zip code, city and street address. There is no need for writing the name or title yet since that will be written at the end of the letter.
Date: Dates are very important when writing business letters, as important decisions are taken based on the dates the letter has been sent and received. The day the letter is written is the date that should be mentioned in the letter, however, if a letter has been written over the course of 3 days or more, the day you’re sending the letter out is the date that should be mentioned. There are many formats in which a date is written, for a letter written to a company in the USA, it is preferable to write the date in the American format which is month/date/year, for example, March 21, 2020. The date is written at the beginning of a letter, after the sender’s address or letterhead.
Inside Address: The inside address has to be specific and accurate since it is the recipient’s address. Therefore, you should also have correct information about the recipient’s title, for example, Miss, Mrs., Ms., Mr. If you do not possess accurate information, it’s advisable to conduct research and address the letter to the right person. The inside address is always left-justified, regardless of the format you’re using. For companies within the USA, use the US Post Office Format and for international letters, mention the country’s name in capital letters at the end of the address.
Salutation: It is important to insert a formal greeting in a business letter. If you know the person by their first name, you can address them directly, for example, Dear Jane, or if you don’t know them personally, refer to their last name with a colon at the end of the salutation.
In case of not knowing their gender, a non-sexist salutation can be used such as their job title followed by their name or you could simply write their full name for e.g.: Dear Alex Lane.
Body: A block format is typically used for business letters, in which the entire text is left aligned and single-spaced except for a double space between two paragraphs. A business letter should be brief and state the reason for the letter. Your letter should have an introductory paragraph that states the main point followed by the information that is being discussed and lastly the concluding paragraph should state your intent of writing the letter and request action in return if required.
Closing: Align the closing of your letter with the date and address on the top of your letter. The first alphabet of the closing should be capitalized for example: Sincerely followed by four blank lines after which the sender’s name and signature should be added. A comma should follow the closing if a colon was put in the salutation.
Enclosures: Enclosures are any documents that you may have attached to the letter. If so, make sure you mention enclosures under the closing and mention what documents you have attached. For instance, if you have attached a CV to your letter you will inform the recipient of the documents by listing it in the end.
Typist initials: Sometimes a business letter is not personally typed by the sender, which is why the person who writes the letter inserts their initials, but if you have written the letter yourself you may omit typist initials.
Business Letter Format, Font Style and Font Size
Block format: The style and layout of a business letter are important, therefore the most commonly used format is the block format. As mentioned before it’s left-aligned with single spacing and double spacing after each paragraph.
Modified Block Format: Besides the block format there is another composition that is used known as the Modified Block format. The modified-block letter has all of its text in left-aligned setting excluding; (closing, date, and the address of the author), whereas, the author’s address, closing part starts at the center point. All the paragraphs in a modified block format letter are not indented.
Semi-Block Format: There is another format that is not as commonly used but can be if required. It is called a semi-block format. Semi-block stands to be similar to a modified format however it has a more casual form. Altogether the components of the letter are written on the left side, apart from the beginning of each paragraph that is indented by 5 spaces. Double-line space must be used to divide paragraphs. Because different companies have individual requirements, the format they use for their communication also differs from one another. There are many tools that one can seek guidance too on how to compose a business letter and which formats to use. There are many handbooks online. Templates are available on Google Docs and Microsoft Word to help you fit the requirements of your letter.
Font: Using the correct fonts and their size are also an integral part of a business letter. A font that is artistic and complex to understand might make it difficult for the recipient to comprehend the letter. Times new roman and Arial are the most commonly used fonts in business letters and the size of the letters is preferred to be 12 as its just right in the middle of not being too big or small.
Punctuation: Punctuation in any letter is extremely important however because a business letter is formal it is necessary to use correct punctuation. Punctuation after the salutation and closing should never be forgotten, a colon after the salutation and a comma after the closing. Another format exists, known as the open punctuation in which punctuation is excluded from the closing and salutation.
Following is a basic business letter sample that you can use as a guide to writing one for yourself.
Business Letter Sample and Format
House Seller, Org.,
304 T Sell Gr.,
Beverly Hills, CA 5489.
March 22nd, 2021
890 Land Way,
Louisiana, ID 89650
Dear Ms. Owners,
My name is Cecilia, I am your lawyer from House Seller, org. I hope that this letter finds you at your best. This letter is to request some information on behalf of the difficulties faced by our client, Miss Jackie Jones who has to deal with some complications in selling her land situated in Beverly Hills due to it still being under your organization’s lease.
According to the records obtained through court and the local housing institution of Beverly Hills, this land was leased by your company in 2020 but it was never terminated and through contact with your office it has come to our knowledge that you have no use for it, in fact, you haven’t visited the area in many years yourself. We understand that this could be mere incoordination or negligent authorities and you are not entirely at fault. However, Miss Jackie needs to sell this land immediately and this tiny hurdle is causing her many problems. I am attaching all relevant documents required by your legal team to deal with this issue without any further delay.
Miss Jackie needs to sell this land by April 20th, 2020 as she has already found the buyers who are interested and would like to make the purchase while they are in town. They are aware of this complication and have urged us to make this a priority, as I hope you will too now. I am humbly requesting you to co-operate with us so a fair business deal can follow through without causing any foul or harm. Please feel free to contact me through email or on my cell phone (075-67X5-XXXX).
Cecilia Browne, Lawyer, House Seller Org.,