The Proper Way to Write a Business Letter
from theWorkawsome websitewith amendmentsMelanie Brooks 2nd February 2011Even in this world of Twitter, email, and Facebook updates, you¶d be remiss to think thatthe standard rules for composing a business letter have gone the way of the carrier pigeon. A properly formatted business letter not only shows off your level of professionalism, italso shows character, tact, and maturity. Sure, anyone can send anyone an email«butwhen you need a more formal way to communicate, like when you¶re applying for a job,writing to a customer, or seeking funding for a project, a business letter is the way to go.There are several formats for a business letter, but they generally fall into twocategories: block and indented. The difference? The block format has no indentationsand the indented format does.The first thing on the page should be your return address. If you are writing this oncompany letterhead that already has the address on it somewhere, you can leave thisoff.The next thing that should appear is the date. It¶s important to include it becausecorrespondence is frequently filed in date order. Plus, if you are sending a follow-up, it¶seasy to mention ³«in my letter dated February 1«´The date is followed by the complete name, title, and address of the recipient. In manycases the person who opens the mail is not the same person you are addressing it to.Including the name and address on your letter ensures it¶s being sent to the rightperson, even if it gets separated from the envelope.If you don¶t know if a female recipient is married or not, it¶s perfectly acceptable to use³Ms.´ If you don¶t know the title or correct spelling of a person¶s name, find out. I can¶ttell you how annoying it is to get a letter with my name spelled wrong. Especially when itis so easy to find out. Go online or better yet, call and ask the receptionist.Next comes the salutation. You can either use a comma or a colon after their name.Now it¶s time to write your actual letter. If you are using the block format type every lineflush with the left margin. If you are using the indented format, indent the first line of each paragraph. Don¶t get all fancy-schmancy and use some hard-to-read font. UseTimes New Roman or Georgia. The letter should be single spaced, too, and a singleline should separate each paragraph.