A business format letter is usually a formal document that's sent from one business to another or from an organization to their stockholders, employees, clients, etc. Business letters are most commonly used for correspondence between individual parties. Despite the fact that email has become the most prevailing form of communication, printed formal business letters are still used by many organizations for important and confidential correspondence including job offers, employment verification, reference letters, and more.

Business Format: Introduction

The format of the letter is extremely important when writing employment and business letters. Emails and letters should always be appropriately formatted, addressed, spaced, and written. The letter should be addressed to the person that you're specifically contacting. It is recommended for business letters to have a professional opening and closing. Each sentence of a business letter should be clear, focused, and include relevant information.

The last paragraph of a business letter is commonly used to thank the receiving party for their time and for considering the request. Remember, always include your personal contact information, including:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Email address.
  • Phone number.

Even though we're in the digital age, most formal and confidential business correspondence is still done in the form of printed letters. The following components should be included in a business letter:

  • Sender's contact information.
  • Current date.
  • Recipient's contact information.
  • Salutation.

An attractive letterhead and a modern look and feel can be powerful delivery tools. Additionally, an effective and professional business letter will usually be written using basic business letter-writing etiquette. Remember, keep it simple and clear so that the intent of the letter is the primary focus.

Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself. The second and third paragraphs should be used to explain why you're contacting the recipient and what you're requesting upon them. The closing of a business letter should include your signature and a typed signature directly below it. Recipients of business letters tend to prefer correspondence that is:

  • Focused.
  • Clear and concise.
  • Made up of two or three paragraphs.
  • Clearly communicates who the sender of the letter is with a signature.

Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman are all simple, clean, and recommended fonts. Remember, a 12 point font size is usually the easiest to read. The best tips for formatting a business letter include:

  • Single space.
  • Leave a single space between the paragraphs, the closing, and before and after contact information.
  • Always justify or align the letter left.

The six main sections of a business letter are the:

  • Heading.
  • Inside address.
  • Greeting.
  • Body.
  • Closing.
  • Signature.

Business Format: Cover Letter Format

An effective employment letter should be accompanied by a well-formatted cover letter, which includes the following sections:

  • Sender's contact information.
  • Current date.
  • The contact information of the sender's employer.
  • Salutation.

The body of the cover letter should describe the position that you're applying for, why you're a solid choice for the open position, and the mode in which you'll follow up. Be sure to match the qualifications for the job to your skills and experience. The closing paragraph should be used to thank the employer for their time and consideration.

Business Format: Reference Letter Format

A good reference letter should include the following:

  • Key information about the individual providing the reference.
  • The relationship between the reference and the person that's being recommended.
  • Reasons the person is capable and qualified.
  • Specific skills in which the person excels.

Business Format: Resignation Letter Format

It's usually best for all parties involved for a resignation letter to be based on facts and brief. It's not necessary to include any information outside of the fact that you're resigning and the effective date of the resignation. However, it's always courteous to the employer to show some form of appreciation for the opportunity that was granted to you, the reason for departing, and an offer to assist your transition away from the role.

Business Format: Tips in Writing an Effective Letter

The most commonly used format for a business letter is "block style." The structure of the entire letter is aligned or justified left. In most cases, a printed and formal business letter should be cordial and professional. It's highly recommended to save casual and informal language for email. It's important to thoroughly review and carefully proofread the final draft of the letter. Remember, punctuation and spelling errors will likely leave a negative impression on the reader.

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