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Writing the Basic Business Letter

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Parts of a Business Letter

This resource is organized in the order in which you should write a business letter, starting with the sender's address if the letter is not written on letterhead.

Sender's Address

The sender's address usually is included in letterhead. If you are not using letterhead, include the sender's address at the top of the letter one line above the date. Do not write the sender's name or title, as it is included in the letter's closing. Include only the street address, city, and zip code.

The date line is used to indicate the date the letter was written. However, if your letter is completed over a number of days, use the date it was finished in the date line. When writing to companies within the United States, use the American date format. (The United States-based convention for formatting a date places the month before the day. For example: June 11, 2001. ) Write out the month, day and year two inches from the top of the page. Depending which format you are using for your letter, either left justify the date or tab to the center point and type the date. In the latter case, include the sender's address in letterhead, rather than left-justified.

Inside Address

The inside address is the recipient's address. It is always best to write to a specific individual at the firm to which you are writing. If you do not have the person's name, do some research by calling the company or speaking with employees from the company. Include a personal title such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr. Follow a woman's preference in being addressed as Miss, Mrs., or Ms. If you are unsure of a woman's preference in being addressed, use Ms. If there is a possibility that the person to whom you are writing is a Dr. or has some other title, use that title. Usually, people will not mind being addressed by a higher title than they actually possess. To write the address, use the U.S. Post Office Format. For international addresses, type the name of the country in all-capital letters on the last line. The inside address begins one line below the date. It should be left justified, no matter which format you are using.

Use the same name as the inside address, including the personal title. If you know the person and typically address them by their first name, it is acceptable to use only the first name in the salutation (for example: Dear Lucy:). In all other cases, however, use the personal title and last/family name followed by a colon. Leave one line blank after the salutation.

If you don't know a reader's gender, use a nonsexist salutation, such as their job title followed by the receiver's name. It is also acceptable to use the full name in a salutation if you cannot determine gender. For example, you might write Dear Chris Harmon: if you were unsure of Chris's gender.

For block and modified block formats, single space and left justify each paragraph within the body of the letter. Leave a blank line between each paragraph. When writing a business letter, be careful to remember that conciseness is very important. In the first paragraph, consider a friendly opening and then a statement of the main point. The next paragraph should begin justifying the importance of the main point. In the next few paragraphs, continue justification with background information and supporting details. The closing paragraph should restate the purpose of the letter and, in some cases, request some type of action.

The closing begins at the same vertical point as your date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word only (for example: Thank you) and leave four lines between the closing and the sender's name for a signature. If a colon follows the salutation, a comma should follow the closing; otherwise, there is no punctuation after the closing.

If you have enclosed any documents along with the letter, such as a resume, you indicate this simply by typing Enclosures below the closing. As an option, you may list the name of each document you are including in the envelope. For instance, if you have included many documents and need to ensure that the recipient is aware of each document, it may be a good idea to list the names.

Typist initials

Typist initials are used to indicate the person who typed the letter. If you typed the letter yourself, omit the typist initials.

A Note About Format and Font

Block Format

When writing business letters, you must pay special attention to the format and font used. The most common layout of a business letter is known as block format. Using this format, the entire letter is left justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.

Modified Block

Another widely utilized format is known as modified block format. In this type, the body of the letter and the sender's and recipient's addresses are left justified and single-spaced. However, for the date and closing, tab to the center point and begin to type.

The final, and least used, style is semi-block. It is much like the modified block style except that each paragraph is indented instead of left justified.

Keep in mind that different organizations have different format requirements for their professional communication. While the examples provided by the OWL contain common elements for the basic business letter (genre expectations), the format of your business letter may need to be flexible to reflect variables like letterheads and templates. Our examples are merely guides.

If your computer is equipped with Microsoft Office 2000, the Letter Wizard can be used to take much of the guesswork out of formatting business letters. To access the Letter Wizard, click on the Tools menu and then choose Letter Wizard. The Wizard will present the three styles mentioned here and input the date, sender address and recipient address into the selected format. Letter Wizard should only be used if you have a basic understanding of how to write a business letter. Its templates are not applicable in every setting. Therefore, you should consult a business writing handbook if you have any questions or doubt the accuracy of the Letter Wizard.

Another important factor in the readability of a letter is the font. The generally accepted font is Times New Roman, size 12, although other fonts such as Arial may be used. When choosing a font, always consider your audience. If you are writing to a conservative company, you may want to use Times New Roman. However, if you are writing to a more liberal company, you have a little more freedom when choosing fonts.

Punctuation

Punctuation after the salutation and closing - use a colon (:) after the salutation (never a comma) and a comma (,) after the closing. In some circumstances, you may also use a less common format, known as open punctuation. For this style, punctuation is excluded after the salutation and the closing.

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Writing a Business Letter: A Step-By-Step Formatting Guide

Last Updated: April 12, 2023 Fact Checked

Sample Business Letter

Starting the letter, writing the body of the letter, closing the letter.

This article was co-authored by Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM and by wikiHow staff writer, Aly Rusciano . Shannon O'Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life's work and live a balanced, purposeful life. Shannon has been ranked as the #1 Career Coach and #1 Life Coach in Boston, MA by Yelp reviewers. She has been featured on Boston.com, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. She received a Master's of Technology, Innovation, & Education from Harvard University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 4,819,124 times.

Need to write a polished, professional letter? Whether you’re following up on a job interview or sending in a sales pitch, knowing how to format a business letter is a great skill to have. Most business letters follow an established, easy-to-follow format you can adapt for any situation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the process of writing a business letter in full-block format, so you can easily put your professional thoughts on the page and excel in all your business endeavors.

Things You Should Know

  • Include your company’s name and address, the date, and the recipient’s name and address at the top of the page before your salutation.
  • Use a polite and professional tone to clearly explain what you’re trying to say or what action you’d like the recipient to take. Use as few words as possible.
  • Finish the letter with a professional closing like “Sincerely,” followed by your signature, typed name, and address. Proofread before sending.

writing a business letter

  • Keep your font black throughout your letter, even if you’re composing a business email .

Step 2 Change the top margin to 2 inches.

  • In modified block formats, the heading, close, and signature are right aligned.
  • In semi-block formats, each paragraph is indented.

Step 4 Keep your document single-spaced.

  • Hit “Enter” twice between the first, second, and third body paragraphs, as well as the complimentary close and signature.

Step 5 List your company’s name and address in the top left corner.

  • If your company has a pre-designed letterhead, use that instead of typing out your own.

Step 6 Put the date 2 lines underneath the address.

  • For example, rather than writing “10/15/12,” write the full date as “October 15, 2012” or “15 October 2012.”
  • Putting the date before the month is standard in European countries.
  • If you are writing your letter over several days, date it with the day when it was finished.

Step 7 Add the recipient's information.

  • Address the letter to a specific individual rather than a full company, so it gets to the right person.
  • If you don’t know the name of the person you’re sending the letter to, contact the company to see who you should reach out to for your specific demands.

Step 8 Choose a salutation.

  • If you don’t know the recipient well, "Dear Sir/Madam" is a safe choice.
  • The recipient's title and last name can also be used: "Dear Dr. Smith."
  • If you know the recipient well and have an informal relationship with them, you may consider a first-name address, like "Dear Susan."
  • If you’re unsure of the recipient's gender, type their full name: "Dear Kris Smith."
  • Use "To Whom It May Concern" only if you don't know whom, specifically, you're addressing.
  • Don't forget a comma after a salutation or a colon after “To Whom It May Concern.”

Step 1 Include at least 3 body paragraphs.

  • The first paragraph is your introduction and states the main purpose or subject of the letter. Avoid going into too much detail, and stick to vague points of interest that’ll keep the recipient reading.
  • The second paragraph details specific information about your purpose or subject. Put statistics, data, or first-hand accounts in this paragraph. Your second paragraph could consist of more than one small paragraph, as long as it stays on a single page.
  • The third paragraph is your conclusion and restates your purpose or subject. Explain your “main idea” or reason for writing again while giving the recipient an incentive to get back to you.

Step 2 Strike the right tone.

  • Don't concern yourself with flowery transitions, big words, or lengthy, meandering sentences. Your intent should be to communicate what needs to be said as quickly, clearly, and cleanly as possible.
  • Be persuasive in your letter and state your needs or wants in a way that makes the recipient want to help you.

Step 3 Use personal pronouns.

  • Be aware if you’re writing the letter on an organization’s behalf. If you’re stating the company’s perspective, you should use “we” so the reader knows that the company stands behind your statement.

Step 4 Use active voice.

  • Passive: The sunglasses are not designed or manufactured with attention to their durability.
  • Active: Your company designs and manufactures sunglasses without attention to their durability.

Step 5 Be conversational when appropriate.

  • Use your best judgment when determining how much personality to reveal. Sometimes adding a little humor is helpful in a business setting, but err on the side of caution before making a joke or telling a story.

Step 6 Wrap it up with a call to action.

  • Your call to action could be as simple as, "Please read the attached document and send your feedback," or as detailed as, “Let’s work together to fight climate change by integrating eco-friendly transportation and shipping into our company.”

Step 1 End the letter...

  • "Yours sincerely," "Cordially," "Respectfully," "Regards," and "Yours Truly" are also acceptable and respectable.
  • "All the best,” “Best wishes," "Warm regards," and "Thank you" are slightly less formal but still professional.

Step 2 Sign the letter...

  • Avoid using a colored pen when signing a business letter or professional document. Always opt for black or blue ink.
  • If you’re signing the letter on someone’s behalf, write “pp:” before your signature. This stands for “per procurationem,” which means “by agency” or “on behalf of.” [15] X Research source

Step 3 Include your typed name and contact information.

  • For example, you may write, "Enclosures (2): resume, brochure."
  • “Enclosures” can also be abbreviated as “Encl.” or “Enc.”

Step 6 Add additional recipients’ names.

  • For example, write: “cc: Mary Smith, Vice President of Marketing.”
  • If you’re adding more than one name, list the names in alphabetical order and align the second name underneath the first without the “cc:”

Step 7 Edit your letter before mailing it.

  • Ask yourself whether the letter is clear and concise. Are any paragraphs more than 3 or 4 sentences long? If so, determine if you can eliminate any unnecessary statements.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Print your letter on 8.5” by 11” or “letter size” paper. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Consider printing the letter on your company’s letterhead for an extra professional touch. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
  • Business letters are typically 1 page long, but if you go over, repeat the letterhead on the next page with the recipient’s name, the date, and the page number. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 2

writing a business letter

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Sign a Letter

  • ↑ http://techoutreach.extension.msstate.edu/sites/techoutreach.extension.msstate.edu/files/technology-tips/block-format.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.hunter.cuny.edu/rwc/repository/files/business-and-professional-writing/business_letter_handout-major-rev.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.dummies.com/article/business-careers-money/business/business-communication/how-to-format-a-business-letter-197799/
  • ↑ https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/wrtps/index-eng.html?lang=eng&lettr=indx_catlog_b&page=9eT0Xdf-62WM.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/business-letters/
  • ↑ https://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/content-types/writing-effective-letters/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/business-letters/
  • ↑ https://thelawdictionary.org/article/signing-a-letter-on-someone-elses-behalf/
  • ↑ https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/marketing/business-letter-enclosure-notation/

About This Article

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

To write a business letter, start by putting your company's name and address on the top left-hand side of the page. Then, put the date below that, followed by the recipient's name, job title, and address. At the bottom of the business letter, include your name, job title, and contact information so the recipient can get back to you. Also, make sure you're using a professional font like Arial or Times New Roman to write your letter. For more tips, like what you should include in the body of your business letter, read the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Business Letter Format With Free Template

Shweta

Updated: Aug 22, 2022, 8:26pm

Business Letter Format With Free Template

Table of Contents

When to use a business letter, 7 essential elements to include in a business letter, how to format a business letter, download free business letter template, business letter examples, writing an email business letter, frequently asked questions.

As straightforward as a business letter may initially seem, it can be a challenge to sit down and write one with the correct format. Since business letters are written by an organization or professional to another organization or individual for professional communication, it’s important to use an established business letter format to form a good first impression.

Keep reading to know the essential elements of a business letter, how to format it and tips for writing effective business letters. We’ve also provided a free template that can make drafting your letters easy.

A business letter is used by an organization or an individual for professional communication with other individuals or companies. Examples of business letters are job offer letters , sales letters, investor interest letters, resignation letters, business circulars, shareholder letters, letters of recommendation , etc.

Your Contact Address

If the contact address is already included in the letterhead, skip it. Otherwise, include these in your contact information:

  • City, state, ZIP Code
  • Phone number
  • Email address

This is the date when you are writing the letter. If your contact information is included on the letterhead, your business letter starts with the date.

Recipient Address

The address should include:

The salutation that you use depends upon how familiar you are with the recipient.

Use “To whom it may concern” if you’re not sure about who will receive and read your letter.

If you know the recipient formally, use Dear [last name].

If you know the recipient informally, use the salutation Dear [first name].

Letter Body

This is the meat of the business letter. Use single line spacing for readability. You can use extra lines between paragraphs, after the salutation and above the closing salutation.

Closing Salutation or Valediction

Again, the closing salutation depends upon how formal or informal your relationship is with the recipient. Some of the most commonly used closing salutations in business  include:

  • Kind regards
  • All the best

Your Signature

You should always end with a handwritten signature even if the letter is typed and printed using a computer. Handwritten signatures help in establishing a rapport with the recipient even if this is your first communication. Always write your full name and title below the signature. Check out how to bring over your professional handwritten signature to emails and digital documents with an electronic signature .

Optional Things To Include

If you are including any additional documents pertaining to the letter, make a list of those enclosures after your signature and name. If you are sending a sales letter, you may consider including a call to action (CTA) at the bottom of the letter.

A business letter must be formatted for clarity and ease of understanding. Here are some points to consider while formatting the letter:

  • Block or indent. In the block format, all elements of the letter are left-aligned. But, if you want to use an indented format, right-align your address, date, closing salutation and signature. The rest of the elements will be left-aligned.
  • Font. Use a professional font such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc. The size must be from 10 to 12.
  • Margins. A one-inch margin on all four sides of the page is the standard. You can increase it to one-and-a-quarter inches to differentiate it from other types of letters.
  • Spacing. Use a single line for the body of the letter. Use extra lines after your address, date, recipient address and salutation. Also, leave an extra line before the closing salutation.

Business letter is a formal document and you are accountable for the information you pass in it. So you must be very intentional about its content and format. We have discussed this in detail in the article. Here are a few examples for your reference.

Here is an example of a business letter from Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab . The sample also specifies recommended margins and spacing for the letter.

writing a business letter

This is a marketing letter example from GCF Global . Note that as CTA, the writer had provided multiple ways (contact number and email ID) to reach out to her. This makes it easier for the reader to respond.

writing a business letter

If you have to send the business letter through email, you need to tweak the format a bit. For example, while the salutation, body and signature will remain the same, you will need to add the subject line to notify the recipient of the purpose of your email and you can include both links and attachments.

Here’s how a business letter via email differs:

  • Add a subject line to include the topic you are writing about
  • Your address and contact information should come below your signature
  • Option to add links as well as attachments

Bottom Line

It’s not that difficult to write an effective business letter that gets you the desired results. Use the template shared here to ensure each section of your letter adheres to the appropriate style and format.

What are the seven parts of a business letter?

The seven parts of a business letter are: sender’s address, date, recipient address, salutation, body, closing salutation and signature. If you have documents attached with the letter, include a list of enclosures after the signature.

Why should I use a business letter format?

When you use a standard business letter format, it establishes your commitment to the recipient and forms a good first impression.

What is a business letter?

A business letter is a formal document used by companies for professional communication to other companies, employees and stakeholders.

What is the best font to use for a business letter?

When writing a standard business letter, the preferred fonts are either Times New Roman or Arial, especially if you are sending the letter to a conservative company. The preferred size of the type is 12. For a more modern or liberal company, you can be a little more creative in your font choice, but it should still be legible. Calibri, Verdana, Courier New, Cambria and Verdana are also possible options to consider.

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A seasoned small business and technology writer and educator with more than 20 years of experience, Shweta excels in demystifying complex tech tools and concepts for small businesses. Her work has been featured in NewsWeek, Huffington Post and more. Her postgraduate degree in computer management fuels her comprehensive analysis and exploration of tech topics.

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How to write a business letter: Formatting guide + template

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There may be no more comically vague term in the entire business world than the word "business." It means so many things that it really means nothing, and yet you're reading this right now because you probably have a specific business-related need.

You might argue that any letter composed in a business setting could be considered a business letter—and you'd be more or less correct. But with such an impossibly wide and unspecific range of applications, how are you supposed to do business lettering right?

Whatever purpose you have for engaging in this epistolary practice, there are certain rules, expectations, and formatting specs you need to know. Here's how to write a business letter of just about any type in a way that gets the job done.

What is a business letter?

Types of business letters.

There are a lot of different types of business letters because a lot of business things happen at businesses. That's just business facts.

But there are a handful of typical business letter purposes and structures for use cases, ranging from sales to hiring to procurement. Here are some of the most common ones. 

Sales letter: Sales teams use these to pitch a product or service to potential customers.

Business inquiry: This letter is a formal way to ask a company for more information about their products, services, or job openings.

Request for information: Called an RFI for short, this is used to gather detailed information about potential vendors' products or services.

Cover letter: This general introduction letter summarizes an attached document like a resume or job application.

Offer letter: A hiring company sends this to successful job applicants to formalize the hire and outline the details of the position.

Letter of recommendation: A more senior professional who knows you sends this with your job application to get the hiring committee hyped to hire you.

Acknowledgment letter: You can use this boilerplate letter to let someone know you've received something from them.

Letter of resignation: A more formal way to say "I'm quitting," this gives HR dated documentation of your timeline and possibly rationale for leaving.

Parts of a business letter

While the details will vary pretty widely depending on what you're writing it for, there are four essential parts of a business letter that will almost always be there: heading, salutation, body, and sign-off. Here's what goes into each.

writing a business letter

These basic details should open any business letter. They'll generally be left-justified at the top of the document, listing:

Your return address

Your contact information

The date the letter was/will be sent

Recipient's address (optional)

In some cases—particularly if you're sending a physical letter to a company—it can be helpful to include the recipient's address in the heading as well. In the digital age, it's not as important since you'll likely send this as an email or attachment. When in doubt, it doesn't hurt to include it, as it can also show you've done your homework. 

Letters don't usually have big title headers labeling them as something generic like "Business inquiry" or "Business letter." But if you're writing one for a well-defined purpose for documentation, like a letter of resignation or offer letter, you could consider it.

2. Salutation

Below your header, you can't just jump right into requesting a quote or quitting a job—you've got to greet the reader. This will go on its own line, equidistant from the heading to the body.

In a business context, you want to be formal but not stilted. "Hey!" won't be taken seriously, while "Greetings, Sir" comes across like an alien trying to act like a human. 

"Dear _____," is always a safe choice. Fill in the recipient's full name or replace their first name with a title like "Dr." or "Professor." Always use a name if you can find one. If you can't, use a generalized stand-in like "Dear [company name/department] hiring committee" or "Dear [company name] board of directors."

When in doubt, you could do worse than "To whom it may concern," but it's a little on the impersonal side and should be avoided if possible.

If the heading is the table and the salutation is the plate, the body of the business letter is the big steaming scoop of casserole. This is where you make your case, ask your question, or shoot your shot. This usually takes up the largest portion of the letter, which kind of muddies my analogy.

Body sections can be as short as one sentence—something like "We have received your request and will respond within two business days." But in most cases, they'll be upwards of a few paragraphs. Again, there are no rules for the number of paragraphs. But for longer messages, it can help to map out three:

Paragraph 1: Greet the reader, introduce yourself, and state the purpose of your letter.

Paragraph 2: Follow up with the details of your message. Any background info they need to know or extra context can go here as you make your point.

Paragraph 3: Wrap it up with a quick summary of your main point, let them know what they can do next or what you'll do next, thank them, and close out.

Here are a few pro tips for writing this section:

Focus paragraphs. Each paragraph after the introduction should have one specific focus. Bonus points if you can convey what each paragraph is about in the first sentence.

Be concise. Most professionals have a lot on their plates (to bring the analogy back). Stick to the point, and only include details that are absolutely necessary in the context of the letter.

Adapt the voice. Business communication should be formal and polite but not stilted or effusive. However, if the company you're writing to has a very clear voice and you're writing for a personal matter (e.g., applying for a job), consider adapting your voice to match theirs.

Close it out. Wrap up the body with a conclusion paragraph that succinctly summarizes everything you just said in a couple of sentences.

Next steps. Make sure your recipient knows what to do once they've finished reading. Include actions ("See attached…"), requests ("Please let me know…"), expectations ("I look forward to your response"), or suggestions ("Please consider…").

4. Sign-off

Once you've made your point, all that's left is to stick the landing and get out of there. Every business letter should have a closing section that shows you're finished and gives the recipient clarity on next steps.

Sign-off: Like "Dear" in the salutation, "Sincerely" is a safe sign-off to follow the body with. Depending on the context and familiarity, alternatives like "Best" or "Gratefully" can also work, but this isn't somewhere you want to take risks.

Typed name: Since most people's signatures are borderline unreadable, type up your name below the signature. This leaves no question as to who you are and how to spell your name.

Enclosures: Lastly, if you have any enclosed documents accompanying the letter, don't forget to include them.

How to write a business letter

So you know what a business letter is, what goes into it, and how to structure it. Now it's time to write it. Here's how to write a business letter for just about any occasion in six steps.

1. Identify your purpose

Once you have a defined purpose, translate it into words you can inject into your first body paragraph. Your purpose should encompass your needs, who you need to communicate those needs to, and why that person is relevant to those needs.

2. Find a contact

Every letter needs a recipient. While you can employ the generic "To whom it may concern," that lack of specificity also signals to the recipient that you're not invested enough to know who you're talking to.

3. Follow a consistent format

Business letter formatting should be like underwear: foundational but unnoticed. If the reader is thinking about your formatting, you've probably done something wrong.

The key to formatting is consistency. Maintain the same font, size, spacing, and margins throughout the document. When in doubt, left-justify all the text, but you can also consider these professional letter format options:

Block: Everything is left-justified with no additional indents to the first lines of paragraphs. Instead, you'll have an extra space between paragraphs. To avoid huge white spaces, you'll want to maintain 1"-1.5" paragraph spacing—ideally 1" or 1.15". This is a can't-miss standard option.

Modified block: A variation on block formatting, this one's a bit more dynamic. Start with block formatting, but add a twist: move non-paragraph elements like the heading, sign-off, and signature to the right margin. It's a small difference but a more visually engaging one.

Semi-block: Like block formatting, everything is left-justified in this format. The difference is that new paragraphs have indented first lines, generally 0.5". Since this visually differentiates new paragraphs, you should cut out any additional spaces between paragraphs. Keep this one at 1.5"-2" paragraph spacing, ideally double, to promote readability. This is a more formal option.

writing a business letter

4. Write with intention

You'll spend most of your time in the body section, and that's where you'll really drive your point home. Every paragraph should contribute to the purpose you identified from the outset, and every word should advance your goal. 

As you write your body paragraphs, it's crucial to maintain a consistent, professional tone. Keep it in the second person—since you're writing to an individual, address them as "you" when you need to refer to them.

Writing an effective introduction

Turning your rough ideas into full letter bodies

Giving you new phrasing options

Rephrasing your own words into a different tone

Adding humor or other personal touches

Giving you suggestions for improvement

5. Keep it short

This goes for your paragraphs and your letter as a whole. No one wants to sift through huge blocks of text to get to the point of a letter they know has an actionable intention.

There's no hard-and-fast rule here—it's really more of a feel. But generally try to limit paragraphs to four to six lines. If possible, keep the entire letter to one side of one page. 

6. Copy edit

Do I believe that meaning is fluid and grammar is a subjective construct? Yes and yes. Do I believe business letters should be as grammatically sound as possible? Also yes.

Business letter format example

By now, you may be wondering what a business letter looks like in practice. More specifically, you may be wondering what an AI-generated RFI about Guy Fieri's free Food Network cooking classes looks like. Incredibly, that's exactly what I've got for you in this very section.

For reference, I used standard block formatting.

writing a business letter

Business letter template

This simple business letter template should give you the foundation you need for just about any use case. Just replace the text with your information, delete the sections you don't need, copy edit, and you're ready to go.

Here are a few additional tips for customizing it:

Font: We opted for a Zapier-style font, which can suit more casual digital business messaging. But for an even more formal look, opt for the traditional Times New Roman.

Date: This should be the date sent, not necessarily the date you start the draft.

Recipient contact information: Exclude this if it's not available or relevant.

Enclosures: Exclude this if you're not enclosing any additional documents.

writing a business letter

How to write a business letter with automation

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Business letter FAQ

How do you write a simple business letter.

Here's how to write a simple business letter:

Put your name and address in the top-left corner.

Below that, type the full date.

Follow that with the recipient's contact information.

Start the message with a salutation like "Dear [name]."

Open the message body by introducing yourself and the purpose of your letter.

Write as many paragraphs as you need, but try to keep it to one page.

Below the body, write a sign-off like "Sincerely," followed by your signature and then your typed name.

If enclosing documents, list enclosures below that.

What is the correct format for a business letter?

Most business letters have a block format. This has 1" margins on all sides, standard 12-point font, single or 1.15" spacing, a space between paragraphs with no first-line indentations, and left justification for all text.

How do you start a professional letter?

A professional letter should start with "Dear" followed by the recipient's full name. If the recipient has a title like "Dr.", include that as well. If you don't have a specific recipient, use "To whom it may concern." 

Related reading:

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Bryce Emley

Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, Bryce Emley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State and nearly a decade of writing and editing experience. His work has been published in magazines including The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, and Modern Farmer and has received a regional Emmy and awards from venues including Narrative, Wesleyan University, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize. When he isn’t writing content, poetry, or creative nonfiction, he enjoys traveling, baking, playing music, reliving his barista days in his own kitchen, camping, and being bad at carpentry.

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Business Communication  - How to Write a Formal Business Letter

Business communication  -, how to write a formal business letter, business communication how to write a formal business letter.

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Business Communication: How to Write a Formal Business Letter

Lesson 7: how to write a formal business letter.

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How to write a formal business letter

writing a business letter

Whenever you need to communicate with another company or share important news, business letters can present your message in a classic, polished style. Unlike internal memos, business letters are usually written from one company to another, which is why they’re so formal and structured . However, letters are also quite versatile, as they can be used for official requests, announcements, cover letters, and much more.

Despite the formality, letters can still have a friendly tone , especially because they include brief introductions before getting to the main point. Regardless of the tone you use in your letter, your writing should remain concise, clear, and easy to read.

Watch the video below to learn about formal business letters.

This lesson focuses on American business letters. Letters written in other parts of the world may have minor differences in formatting.

The structure of a business letter

The business letter’s precise structure is crucial to its look and readability. As you write your letter, you can follow the structure below to create an effective document.

  • Opening : Include your mailing address, the full date (for example, July 30, 2017), and the recipient’s name, company, and address. Skip one line between your address, the date, and your recipient’s information. Don’t add your address if you’re using letterhead that already contains it.
  • Salutation : Address the recipient using “Dear,” along with their title and last name, such as “Dear Mr. Collins” or “Dear Director Kinkade.” If you don’t know the recipient’s gender, use their full name, such as “Dear Taylor Dean.” Finally, be sure to add a colon to the end of the salutation.
  • Body : In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and the main point of your letter. Following paragraphs should go into the details of your main point, while your final paragraph should restate the letter’s purpose and provide a call to action, if necessary.
  • Closing : Recommended formal closings include “Sincerely” or “Yours truly.” For a more personal closing, consider using “Cordially” or “Best regards.” Regardless of what you choose, add a comma to the end of it.
  • Signature : Skip four lines after the closing and type your name. Skip another line and type your job title and company name. If you’re submitting a hard copy, sign your name in the empty space using blue or black ink.
  • Enclosures : If you’re including documents with this letter, list them here.

Another important part of the structure is the layout , which determines how the text is formatted. The most common layout for a business letter is known as block format , which keeps all text left-justified and single spaced, except for double spaces between the paragraphs. This layout keeps the letter looking clean and easy to read.

As stated in Business Writing Essentials , revision is a crucial part of writing. Review your letter to keep it concise, and proofread it for spelling and grammar errors. Once you’re finished writing, ask someone to read your letter and give you feedback , as they can spot errors you may have missed. Also make sure any enclosures are attached to your document and that any hard copies are signed.

After revising the content, consider the appearance of your letter. If you’re printing a hard copy, be sure to use quality paper. Also try using letterhead to give your document a more official look.

Example of a business letter

To see this lesson in action, let’s take a look at a polished business letter by reviewing the example below.

writing a business letter

This letter looks great! The structure is perfect, and the text is left-justified and single spaced. The body is formal, friendly, and concise, while the salutation and closing look good. It also contains a handwritten signature, which means it’s ready to be submitted as a hard copy.

Knowing how to write a business letter will serve you well throughout your career. Keep practicing and studying it, and you’ll be able to communicate in a classic style.

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Proper Letter Format: How to Write a Business Letter Correctly

Charley Mendoza

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What comes to mind when you hear the phrase business letters? Do white envelopes with fancy letterheads and stuffy writing come to mind? In most cases, you’d be right.

Letterhead

Even if almost everything is done via email nowadays, business letters aren’t extinct or considered totally out of style, so it still pays to know how to write and format them properly.

That's why I'll show you how to write a formal business letter with a letterhead. Just follow the steps below. You'll see how easy it is to nail the form for a business letter so you can start writing more professionally.

Jump to content in this section:

Parts of a Standard Business Letter Format

3 types of business letter formats, business letter formatting and design tips, types of business letters, tips on writing business letters.

As you probably learned in primary school, business letters are composed of different parts. This section covers what’s included in each part and the proper business letter format.

1. Sender’s Information

It’s important to know how to address a business letter properly, especially if you’re expecting a reply.

This section includes your complete address, phone number, and email address. Some people like to include their complete name at the top of this list, but others say it’s redundant because you’ll be signing the letter with your name anyway. You don’t need to include this if the paper you’re using has a letterhead.

What to include and formatting:

  • Street Address
  • City, State, Zip Code
  • Country (if not in the same country as your recipient)
  • Your Phone Number

2. Today’s Date

Spell out the month and include the complete year. Write the month, date, and year if sending a business letter in the U.S., but start the date with the day (e.g. 18 October 2018) if you’re sending a letter in the U.K. or Australia.

3. Addressee Information (a.k.a. Inside Address)

Include the recipient’s information, starting with their name, followed by their job title and complete address. Address the recipient using Ms., Mr., or use any job-appropriate title as necessary

  • Company Street Address
  • Country (optional)

4. Salutation

The salutation used in the addressee section doesn’t have to be the same as the one used here. It all depends on how close or familiar you are with the addressee, and the context of your letter. The Dean at the College of Sciences may be your aunt, but if you’re writing to her in an official capacity, it’s best if you use the salutation “ Dean (Last Name)” or “ Dr. (Last Name) ” because there’s a chance that other people handle her correspondence. Military and religious titles should be written as is.

Not sure of the recipient’s gender? Don’t use Mr. or Ms.—just write “ Dear ” followed by their full name. If you don’t know who the exact contact person is, “ To Whom it May Concern ” will do. You can also address the department or group that'll handle your letter, such as “ Members of the Hiring Committee ” or “ Condominium Association Management.”

Always end the salutation with a colon, not a comma.

5. Body Text

The body of the letter is usually composed of one to three brief paragraphs, each with a specific intent and organized for clarity. 

  • Introduction. Explains the reason for the letter and what you want to achieve with it. If the recipient doesn’t know who you are, you can also mention mutual connections here.
  • Second paragraph. Gives more detail about your request, such as the steps you’ve taken or fees paid. In the case of marketing or job application letters, the second paragraph is where you’ll sell the product you’re promoting or your application.
  • Third paragraph. This is optional and is included in situations where the second paragraph isn’t enough to explain the situation in full. 

The closing includes one or two sentences that request the recipient to take whatever action is requested in your letter and thank them for reading it.

Examples of business letter closing:

  • Please email me at (your email) or call me at (your business phone) to schedule a meeting. Thank you for your consideration.
  • If you need to discuss anything with me or the team, please don’t hesitate to call us at (your phone). We're always at your service.

Complimentary Close               

The complimentary close is a sign-off phrase inserted before your signature. You've got lots of options here, but in general you should avoid those that denote appreciation or thanks in letters where you’re not requesting anything.

  • With gratitude
  • Kind Regards
  • With appreciation
  • Yours truly

The Signature

Sign the letter below the complimentary close. Make sure to leave at least four single spaces between your name and closing so there’s enough room for your signature. You may want to include your job title, phone number, and email address below your full name too.

Signature

Before the age of email, people wrote “ Enclosures ” at the bottom of business letters to indicate that the envelope included other documents. Think of it as the print version of “ see attachment ” for emails.

Enclosures are noted at the bottom left of the letter, a couple of spaces below your signature, followed by a list of the documents included. For example:

Enclosures:

There are typically three proper forms for a business letter: full block, modified, or indented. While there’s no right or wrong format, there are instances, like university applications, where a specific format is required. If you’re not sure which format to follow, just check previous letters you’ve received from the institution and follow the same formatting.

1. Full Block

Full block is the most common format for business letters because it’s the easiest one. You don’t have to worry about indents, and everything is left justified. Single spacing is used instead of indents for new paragraphs.

Below is an example of proper full block letter format from the University of North Carolina Writing Center :

full block letter format

2. Modified

The modified business letter format is a bit hard to remember because not everything is left-justified. The addressee, salutation, and the body of the letter are left justified, while the sender’s address, date, complimentary close, and signature are aligned to the right.

In the example below, there are two spaces between the sender’s address and the date when the letter was written and three spaces between the recipient’s address and salutation. There are also two spaces between the first paragraph of the letter body and salutation and two spaces for every new paragraph.

The complimentary close, signature, and the last paragraph of the letter are all two spaces apart.

Below is an example of a business letter in modified format from Savvy Business Correspondence :

letter format

3. Indented

The indented or semi-block format is similar to the modified format, except that the start of every paragraph is indented.

Letterhead Template Design From Envato Elements

Your business letter needs to make a good first impression because in some cases reading that letter will be the first time the recipient encounters your company.

1. Professional Letterhead Format

Companies aren’t the only ones that have formal letters with letterheads. Solopreneurs, job applicants, and anyone who wants to make a brand can use a letterhead to make their letters unique. Proper letterhead formats can also be used to verify the document’s authenticity to the recipient, which is often the case for government letters and bank letters.

letterhead stationery

Proper letterhead design formats vary, but there are consistent elements. They must include your company’s name and logo, address, and contact information. If you don’t have a logo or company name, just replace this part with your full name.  Since business letters are formal, pair them with a letterhead design that’s not so busy or colorful that it detracts from the message you’re sending. 

Want to send a business letter with a proper letterhead format you created yourself? Check out these templates from Envato:

writing a business letter

2. Business Letter Margins

It’s good to save trees, but don’t squeeze so much text into one page that there’s no margin left. Leave 1” to 1.5” per side.

3. Plain Font

Avoid fancy fonts and hard-to-read cursive. Stick to Verdana, Arial, Courier New, or Times New Roman, with a minimum font size of 12.

4. Formal Letter Spacing

Use single spacing between paragraphs to make the letter easier to read. You should also use at least one line space between all elements of the letter, except between your signature and printed name, where four line breaks are required.

5. Second-Page Letterhead for Additional Pages

Business letters should be concise enough to only need one page, but that’s not always the case. Legal contracts, complaints, and some advisory letters may require additional pages.

To avoid confusion in case the letter pages get separated, the second and subsequent pages should include a letterhead and a page number at the top. You may also want to include the date and the recipient’s name.

Business letters are sent for all sorts of reasons. Businesses send it to their customers or to other businesses they work with, such as vendors or logistics partners. Individuals write business letters for business and less formal purposes too.

Here are some examples of types of business letters:

1. Letter of Complaint

Not all complaints can be aired and addressed properly on social media. Some topics are a little sensitive or embarrassing, and you don’t want to run the risk of the message going viral. Then there are complaints where a call to the company’s customer service hotline isn’t enough. For all these complaints, a printed letter of complaint is the answer.

Nord Stationery

Make your complaint brief, to the point, and polite. Don’t just make it about what the company did wrong—tell them exactly what you want them to do about it.

2. Resignation Letter

A resignation letter is what an employee sends to their boss when they want to quit their job. In most cases, you’ll need to allow at least 14 days or two weeks before your official departure date from the company.

Below is an example of a resignation letter from American Recruiters:

Resignation-letter

3. Cover Letter

A printed cover letter is sent along with a resume to briefly explain why you’re a good candidate for the job. Good cover letters are like appetizers in that they give recruiters a sense of what they can expect from you, without necessarily repeating what’s already on your resume.

Read these guides for more information about writing a cover letter:

writing a business letter

4. Recommendation Letter

Recommendation letters are sent to verify an applicant’s good standing with a previous employer or manager. In some cases, these recommendations are nothing more than a template generated by someone from HR after filling in the blanks about an employee’s start and end date. If you’re writing a cover letter for a good employee, however, it’s better if you go beyond the template to show that you appreciate the time you worked together.

Check out this guide if you need any help with writing a recommendation letter:

writing a business letter

5. Letter to Request Information

Letters requesting for information are often sent to businesses by individuals or representatives of other businesses when they want information on a particular product or service. These letters can also be written to government offices when requesting information about applying for a permit or inquiring about a government procedure.

6. Adjustment or Change Letter

Have you ever received a letter stating your phone bill’s due date was adjusted or that the amount you’re paying has been changed? That’s an adjustment letter. It’s not all about dates and amounts, though—adjustment or change letters are also sent when businesses want to notify customers about changes in the product or service they bought.

Below is an example of a due date adjustment letter from Corporate Finance Institute:  

adjustment-letter

7. Business Announcements and Invitations

Stockholder letters, new product announcements, and charity events are business letters. Letters announcing a new CEO, an IPO, and even those inviting you to a convention also fall under business announcement letters. These letters are either sent as an internal memo so all employees are aware of changes within the company, or as an announcement to company stakeholders.

Here’s an example of a business invitation for an educational seminar from Letters.org :

business invitation

Using the right justification and including all the right elements isn’t enough for a good business letter. Even more important is to strike the right tone and ensure that your recipient understands your letter’s intent.

Keep the following tips in mind next time you write a business letter.

1. Short and Simple

Avoid highfalutin words and flowery descriptions. Keep the first paragraph brief. If you’re not sure how to start, just write “ I’m writing in reference to…” and then explain your request from there.

2. Reader's Benefit

It’s easier to get the recipient’s cooperation if you write a letter with their benefit in mind. Emphasize what you can offer them instead of what you want them to do.

3. Right Tone

What's the purpose of the letter you’re sending? Are you expressing thanks, sympathy, or demanding payment for debt? Whatever it is, you've got to establish the right tone so the recipient understands the urgency of your request.

4. No Jargon

Avoid jargon unless you’re absolutely sure the recipient will understand what you’re talking about.

5. Use of Personal Pronouns

Even if this is a business letter, it’s okay to use personal pronouns like you, I, we, and us. Stick with “I” if you’re writing based on your opinion, and use “We” if you’re writing on behalf of the company.

6. Add CC When Needed

Did you know that “CC” means courtesy copy? Back in the day when letters were typed, “CC” meant carbon copy because that’s what typists use when making duplicates. Either way, this is the abbreviation you should include below the enclosure line if you plan to send a copy of the letter to someone else.

If you’re sending a courtesy copy to more than one person, list the second name underneath the first without the “CC.”

“Cc: Mark Smith, Chief Financial Officer XYZ Widgets”

Learn More About Writing Formally

When you're in a professional setting, it's great to know the proper business letter format with and without a letterhead. But there's more to learn about formal writing. To discover more about how to format email messages and other types of letters, study the following tutorials:

writing a business letter

Download Unlimited Professional Assets With Envato

Are you writing professionally? Then you'll want letterheads, email signatures, and presentations that look the part. You can always spend hours and days designing, revising, and designing again. Or you can use the professionally crafted assets from Envato.

Envato has an incredible offer for professionals. With a low monthly fee, you can download unlimited premium assets that you can use for your work or personal projects. Sign up for an Envato subscription today and start downloading as many PowerPoint templates, professional letterheads, and photos as you want, without penalties or worrying about licenses.

Premium Stationery Templates From Envato Elements

Start Sending in the Proper Letter Format Today

There are many types of business letters to send, but learning proper letter heading format will help you maintain a professional image.

Remember to use a business envelope if you’re sending a letter via post. Use an envelope with your company’s logo so the recipient can immediately recognize it’s from your company and to prevent your letter from getting trashed along with other promotional junk they receive. 

If you’re not sure whether your handwriting is legible, use your printer and word processor to print the address on the envelope. Send important documents and time-sensitive letters via courier. 

Now that you've learned how to format a letter, you can start sending out your own business letters with professional letterheads .

Charley Mendoza

writing a business letter

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > How to Write (and Format) a Successful Business Letter

How to Write (and Format) a Successful Business Letter

Even while most business communications have gone online, taking place over email, video, and chat, there’s still plenty of room in our digitized world for a well-written—and properly formatted—business letter. Use this guide on how to write a business letter to make sure that you represent yourself (and your business) well, get your points across, and can make things happen with your next letter.

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How to Format a Business Letter

Like the business-casual dress code of writing, the business letter typically sticks to a set structure and standard. Whether you are enquiring about an open position in a cover letter , writing a thank you note to someone at another business, or prospecting a potential customer, partner, or investor, there are certain elements that you’ll want to include within your business letter:

  • Your contact information: Whether in the letterhead of your template or at the top of your business letter, include your name, position, company, address, phone number, and email.
  • The date: Even if you’re sending a digital copy of your letter over email, it’s customary to include the date of writing at the top of your correspondence.
  • The recipient’s contact information: Beneath the date and justified to the left margin of the page, include the contact information of the person or business to whom you are writing.
  • An opening salutation: Begin your letter with a formal salutation like “Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. [Last Name].” If you’re not sure who exactly will be on the other end of your letter, use the salutation “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • The body of your letter: After a line break below your salutation, craft the body of your letter using single-spaced lines.
  • A formal closing and signature: Once you’ve made your case or request, sum up and reiterate the main reason for your letter before signing off with a complimentary close. While there are a wide range of appropriate closings to choose from, you can keep it simple with closings like “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or “Respectfully yours.” Below your closing, add your name and, if you have one, your current job title. As an added touch, you can include your written signature above your typewritten name.

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Tips for Writing a Business Letter

To go along with the typical formatting of a business letter, there are some guidelines for writing that should be followed to ensure that your letter is well-received:

  • Be Direct: While it’s typical to include a friendly greeting in the opening paragraph of your letter’s body, it’s important that you get to the point quickly. Use the first paragraph to directly explain why it is that you’re writing the letter, then turn to specifics to support your request or job candidacy in the paragraph that follows.
  • Keep It Concise: Throughout your letter, you will want to use concise writing. Avoid flowery language and stick to a formal tone in your writing .
  • Offer Options for Follow-Up: Within the closing paragraph of your letter, be sure to describe when and how you can best be contacted by the recipient, and if applicable, outline specific steps that can be taken to move forward with your request.
  • Avoid Typos and Errors at All Costs: For most business requests and job applications, typos and grammatical errors will adversely affect your prospects, if not lead to outright rejection. Double- and triple-check that the contact information in your letter is error-free and use a digital writing assistant like Microsoft Editor to help spot mistakes as you’re preparing your letter.

Once you’ve written a few business letters, the content will begin to come easier. Meanwhile, having a customizable letterhead can make the process of formatting your business letters as simple as can be. Explore a range of letter template designs available from Microsoft 365 to find one that suits your style and get a head start on your next business letter.

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Examples of business letter format.

In this section, you will find many instructional materials we’ve developed for our Writing Center teaching.

However, there are limitations to these materials. Assignments vary, and different instructors want different things from student writers. Therefore, the advice here may or may not apply to your writing situation.

Finally, handouts can give only a fraction of the customized guidance that an individual conference with a Writing Center instructor can provide. If you have questions about the information in our handouts, please make an appointment to see a Writing Center instructor.

5 Hill Street Madison, Wisconsin 53700

March 15, 2005

Ms. Helen Jones President Jones, Jones & Jones 123 International Lane Boston, Massachusetts 01234

Dear Ms. Jones:

Ah, business letter format-there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we’re demonstrating the block format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let’s hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make!

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. First provide your own address, then skip a line and provide the date, then skip one more line and provide the inside address of the party to whom the letter is addressed. If you are using letterhead that already provides your address, do not retype that information; just begin with the date. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations where possible.

Skip another line before the salutation, which should be followed by a colon. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginnings of paragraphs. Skip lines between paragraphs.

After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, followed by a comma, leave 3 blank lines, then type your name and title (if applicable), all flush left. Sign the letter in the blank space above your typed name. Now doesn’t that look professional?

John Doe Administrative Assistant

Indented Form

15 March 2005

Ah, business letter format–there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we’re demonstrating the indented format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let’s hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make!

If you are using the indented form, place your address at the top, with the left edge of the address aligned with the center of the page. Skip a line and type the date so that it lines up underneath your address. Type the inside address and salutation flush left; the salutation should be followed by a colon. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations.

Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch. Skip lines between paragraphs.

Instead of placing the closing and signature lines flush left, type them in the center, even with the address and date above, as illustrated here. Now doesn’t that look professional?

writing a business letter

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Business Letter Format

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What is the Proper Business Letter Format?

A business letter should always follow a certain format and structure to ensure it is received as professional and up-to-standard. While there are many different types of business letters, this guide will go through a detailed example of the most classic business letter format.

Business Letter Format - woman reading a letter in her office

Business Letter Overview

In business , a letter is simply any type of correspondence sent between two parties. It may be about any topic and sent via many delivery methods such as email , regular mail, and hand delivery.

The tone you take in the letter will depend on who the audience is and what the purpose of the communication is. Sometimes you will need to be more formal, and other times a more casual voice is appropriate.

The example provided below is a neutral voice and a moderate level of formality.

Business Letter Structure

Below is an example of how a business letter is laid out and structured. Feel free to copy and paste the text into your own email, Word, or Google document and be sure to customize and proofread it thoroughly.

[Sender’s Name]

[Sender’s Company Name]

[Sender’s Street Address]

[Sender’s City, State/Province, & Zip/Postal Code]

[Sender’s phone number and/or email address]

[Recipient’s Name]

[Recipient’s Company Name]

[Recipient’s Street Address]

[Recipient’s City, State/Province, & Zip/Postal Code]

[Recipient’s phone number and/or email address]

[Dear Name],

[Introduction – this is where you explain the purpose of the letter such as why you are writing it, what you hope to achieve from it, and any other important information you want to state upfront.]

[Middle Section – this is where you elaborate and provide more detail about what you outlined in the first paragraph. There may be several more paragraphs like this depending on how long the letter needs to be]

[Conclusion – this is the place where you wrap up and summarize things. There may be a call to action or next steps included in this paragraph.]

[Sincerely],

[Signature]

[Name of Sender]

Full Business Letter Example

Now that you’re familiar with the business letter format, let’s look at an example with real information built in.

ABC Education Inc.

1234 – 123 Street

New York, NY 01218

May 21, 2018

Sarah Geenie

XYZ Company Inc.

6789 – 789 Street

New York, NY 04851

Re: Updated Billing Frequency

Dear Ms. Geenie,

I am writing to inform you of our new pricing model effective February 1, 2019. On the first of February, we will be switching from an annual billing cycle to a quarterly billing cycle and this letter contains important information that may impact your organization.

After conducting extensive research and receiving feedback from our customers, we have determined that most customers strongly prefer a quarterly billing cycle rather than an annual one. In order to best suit your needs, we have decided to offer this benefit, which will take effect on February 1, 2019.

This letter is simply to notify you of the upcoming changes, and no immediate action is required from you at this time. We thank you for your continued business.

Download Business Letter Format Template

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Example of Business Letter Format Template

Additional Formatting Considerations

In addition to the overall format and structure laid out above, you may also want to consider the following information as standard business practices.

Common formatting standards include:

  • Arial, Times New Roman, or a similar standard font
  • Size 11 or 12 point
  • Sentence case capitalization
  • White background
  • 5” x 11” size paper
  • Portrait layout
  • 1” margins
  • Single, 1.5, or double spacing
  • Black font color
  • Use of corporate letterhead
  • Single or double-sided printing
  • Plain white background

Additional resources

Thank you for reading this guide on how to use the proper business letter format. CFI is a global provider of online education and offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) TM certification for financial analysts.

To continue learning and advance your career, these additional resources will be helpful:

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  • Resignation Letter Template
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How to Format and Write a Simple Business Letter

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People write business letters and emails for a variety of reasons such as requesting information, to conduct transactions, to secure employment, and so on. Effective business correspondence should be clear and concise, respectful in tone, and formatted properly. By breaking down a business letter into its basic components, you can learn how to communicate effectively and improve your skills as a writer.

A typical business letter contains three sections, an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 

  • The Introduction:  The introduction indicates who the writer is addressing. If you're writing to someone you don't know or have met only briefly, the introduction may also a brief reason of why you're writing. Typically, the introduction is only a sentence or two in length.
  • The Body: The letters body is where you state your business. This section may be as short as a few sentences or several paragraphs in length. It all depends on the degree of detail necessary to describe the subject at hand.
  • The Conclusion: The conclusion is the final section where you'll call for future action. This can be a chance to talk in person, to request additional information, or to conduct a transaction. Like the introduction, this section should be no more than a sentence or two and must make clear what you would like from the person reading your letter.

The Introduction

The tone of the introduction depends on your relationship to the letter recipient. If you're addressing a close friend or a business colleague, using their first name is acceptable. But if you're writing to someone you do not know, it's best to address them formally in the greeting. If you do not know the name of the person you're writing to, use their title or a general form of address.

Some examples:

  • Dear personnel director
  • Dear sir or madam
  • Dear Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms. (Last name)
  • Dear Frank (use this if the person is a close business contact or friend)

Writing to a specific person is always preferred. Generally speaking, use Mr. when addressing men and Ms. for women in the greeting. Only use the title of Doctor for those in the medical profession. While you should always begin a business letter with the word "Dear," doing so is an option for business emails, which are less formal.

If you're writing to someone you don't know or have met only in passing, you may want to follow the greeting by providing some context for why you're contacting that person.

  • With reference to your advertisement in the Times...
  • I'm am following up on our phone call yesterday.
  • Thank you for your letter of March 5.

The majority of a business letter is contained in the body. This is where the writer states his or her reason for corresponding. For example: 

  • I am writing to inquire about the position posted in The Daily Mail.
  • I am writing to confirm the shipment details on order # 2346.
  • I am writing to apologize for the difficulties you experienced last week at our branch.

Once you have stated the general reason for writing your business letter, use the body to provide additional details. For example, you may be sending a client important documents to sign, apologizing to a customer for poor service , requesting information from a source, or some other reason. Whatever the reason, remember to use language that is courteous and polite.

For instance:

  • I would be grateful to meet with you next week.
  • Would you possibly have time for a meeting next week?
  • I would be delighted to give you a tour of our facility this coming month.
  • Unfortunately, we will have to postpone the meeting until June 1.
  • Enclosed you will find a copy of the contract. Please sign where indicated.

It is customary to include some closing remarks after you've stated your business in the body of the letter. This is your opportunity to reinforce your relationship with the recipient, and it should just be a sentence.

Please contact us again if we can help in any way.

  • If you have any questions, feel free to call me.
  • You can also use the closing to request or offer future contact with the reader.
  • I look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • Please contact my assistant to schedule an appointment.

The final thing all business letters need is a salutation, where you say your goodbyes to the reader. As with the introduction, how you write the salutation will depend on your relationship to the recipient.

For clients that you're not on a first-name basis with, use:

  • Yours faithfully (if you don't know the name of the person you're writing to)
  • Yours sincerely, (if you do know the name of the person you're writing to.

If you are on a first-name basis, use:

  • Best wishes, (if you're acquaintances)
  • Best regards or Regards (if the person is a close friend or contact)

Sample Business Letter

Ken's Cheese House 34 Chatley Avenue Seattle, WA 98765

October 23, 2017

Fred Flintstone Sales Manager Cheese Specialists Inc. 456 Rubble Road Rockville, IL 78777

Dear Mr. Flintstone,

With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am writing to confirm your order for: 120 x Cheddar Deluxe Ref. No. 856.

The order will be shipped within three days via UPS and should arrive at your store in about 10 days.

Yours sincerely, Kenneth Beare Director of Ken's Cheese House

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8 Steps to Writing a Business Letter in English

Business letters are more formal than business emails . They communicate something more official in a business situation.

It is important to write business letters correctly, because the impression you create depends on how you write them.

In this guide, I will show you how to write business letters in English with fewer mistakes. Here is a list of eight steps to follow when writing a business letter, along with many valuable tips!

1. Decide What Type of Letter You Need to Write

2. write a short outline, 3. use the right layout and salutation, 4. use appropriate vocabulary for the type of letter you are writing.

  • 5. Check Your Spelling

6. Check Your Grammar

7. check your punctuation, 8. format your letter, and one more thing....

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Business letters have a sender and a recipient (person who receives the letter). The sender can be a person or a group (like a company) and the recipient can be another person or group.

Depending on the sender’s reason for writing, there are several types of letters. Have a look at the main types of business letters:

  • Letter of complaint : A business letter written by someone (a person or a company) who is dissatisfied with the products or services offered by a company.
  • Letter of inquiry : This type of letter is written by someone who has questions about the activity of another company.
  • Cover letters : These are written by people who are applying for jobs. They are usually sent together with a resume.
  • Adjustment letters : These letters are sent as replies to letters of complaint .
  • Order letters : This type of business letter is sent to place an order with a company. Order letters need to include correct information, so you need to double-check all figures before sending them.
  • Other letters : There may be all sorts of other business situations in which people may be writing letters. For example, a person might write a letter to convince others to buy their products or services, recommend employees for jobs , or announce their resignation.

Write an outline before you start typing. If you have a good plan, you won’t need to make a lot of time-consuming changes.

So first of all, start gathering all the information you can on the situation you are writing about. If you are writing a letter of complaint, you should know exactly what the problem was and what you hope to achieve as a result of your letter. If you are writing an order letter, remember to gather all the information about the product you need.

Next, write down the main ideas you want to include. For example, if you are writing a cover letter, your main ideas could look like this:

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writing a business letter

  • What job you are applying for.
  • Why you think you would be good for the job/why the company should hire you.
  • Why the job would be good for you.
  • When you are available for an interview.

If you know the main ideas, you know how many paragraphs you are going to write. Remember to have only one main idea in a paragraph. Also, use connectors to make transitions within and between paragraphs.

Business letters have quite strict rules when it comes to layout (format and order). You need to include the sender’s and the recipient’s addresses and follow some simple rules:

  • Start with the sender’s address. You can write it in the top right or left corner. Don’t include your name or title because these will appear at the end of your letter.
  • Leave an empty line and write the date just below the sender’s address. If you are writing to a company in the United States, remember to use the American date format: month, date, year.
  • Leave another empty line and write the recipient’s title, name, position and address. Make sure to pay attention to titles. Here is an example:

14 Bridge Street Baviera, California 92908

March 11, 2016

Ms. Jane Smith Customer Care Manager Chapman and Litt 711-2980 Nulla Street Mankato, Mississippi 96522

  • Start the letter with the right salutation , depending on whether you know the recipient and how well you know them. In American English, we use a colon after salutations in formal business letters. In British English, we use a comma. Here are some examples:

Dear Ms. Smith: (If you know the recipient’s name.)

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writing a business letter

Dear Jane: (If you know the recipient quite well and call each other by your first names.)

Dear Sir or Madam: (If you don’t know the recipient’s name.)

To Whom It May Concern: (If you don’t have a specific person to whom you are writing. It is a bit more general than “Dear Sir or Madam.” It is best to try to find a contact person when writing a business letter.)

  • Close the letter appropriately , depending on the salutation you used at the beginning:

(Dear Ms. Smith:) Yours sincerely / Sincerely / Sincerely yours,

(Dear Jane:) Best / Best regards / Kind regards,

(Dear Sir or Madam: / To Whom It May Concern:) Yours faithfully / Faithfully / Faithfully yours,

  • Sign your name if you are sending a hard copy and then write your name (your title is optional) and your position:

[Signature]

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writing a business letter

[Ms.] Rebecca Smith Director of Acquisitions

Depending on the type of business letter you are writing, you can choose to use some of the sentences and phrases suggested below.

  • Letters of complaint:

I am writing to complain about…

I am writing to draw your attention to…

I recently purchased … from your company.

Not only…(did the product arrive late), but…(it was faulty as well)

As you can imagine, I was quite disappointed/upset when…

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writing a business letter

I suggest that I get a full refund.

I feel entitled to a refund.

I would be grateful if you could give me a refund.

I would appreciate it if you could replace the product.

I look forward to receiving a prompt reply.

  • Letters of inquiry:

I am writing to inquire about…

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writing a business letter

Would you be kind enough to provide me with some information about …

I would be appreciative if you could help me find out…

Could you tell me whether…

I would also be interested in…

  • Cover letters:

I am writing to apply for the position of…

I am writing in response to your advertisement…

writing a business letter

I would like to apply for the position of…

I am particularly interested in this job because…

As you can see from my resume,…

As you will notice in my resume,…

I am currently employed by…

I am keen to pursue a career in…, because…

My main strengths are…

I would be available for an interview starting…

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  • Adjustment letters:

Please accept our apologies for…

We sincerely apologize for…

The mistake was apparently due to…

We are currently working on…

To prevent this from happening again,…

We understand how upset you must have been when…, but unfortunately…

  • Order letters:

We would like to place an order for…

We look forward to receiving your offer for…

Could you please confirm the prices for…

We are looking forward to your confirmation.

5 .  Check Your Spelling

When writing a business letter, perfect spelling is essential. If possible, use spell check to make sure your spelling is correct.

If you are writing a business letter as part of an exam, try to avoid spelling mistakes. You can simply replace words that you are not confident about with other words. For example, if you are not sure how to spell occur , you can use happen instead.

Another useful thing to do, especially if you are writing a cover letter or if you are trying to impress your reader, is to consider whether they use American or British spelling.

How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book

Grammar mistakes are a bit trickier. Of course, the safest route is to learn the rules and practice them as much as possible. You can use grammar books or online exercises or both, depending on what you find more convenient.

Another thing you can do is to know your grammar weak spots. For instance, do you tend to forget adding s  for the third-person singular when using the present simple? Or do you overuse the ? Then it is time to double-check for these mistakes.

Finally, here is a list of common mistakes people make in English writing. Make sure you understand why they are mistakes, so that you don’t make them yourself

To ensure that your business writing is free from grammar mistakes, you may want to use. This is a grammar-checking tool that will highlight mistakes and suggest corrections for you.

Try to make time to proofread your letter a separate time for punctuation mistakes.

Here are some of the most frequent punctuation mistakes to watch out for:

  • Forgetting commas

Mistake: We tried emailing them but there was no reply.

Correct: We tried emailing them , but there was no reply.

Explanation: If you are not sure whether to use a comma or not, try saying the sentence out loud. If you are pausing a little, you should probably use a comma.

  • Using exclamation marks or emoticons

Mistake: I was extremely upset when I received a faulty product !  🙁

Correct: I was extremely upset when I received a faulty product.

Explanation: Exclamation marks and emoticons make your writing rather informal, so you should avoid them when writing business letters.

  • Using too many or not enough spaces

Mistake: I haven’t applied for a job before , but I’ll give it a try now .  I’m not sure if I’m qualified,  though.

Correct: I haven’t applied for a job before, but I’ll give it a try now. I’m not sure if I’m qualified, though.

Explanation: When typing, we only use one space after commas or periods and no space before them.

Leave formatting for the end; it is less time consuming. Most business letters use a block format, and are left-justified and single-spaced.

You should use double spacing between paragraphs to make it clear where a paragraph ends and where another one begins. The most common font is Times New Roman 12, but Arial also works just fine.

That’s it! Now you know how to write business letters in English.

Remember that, whether you know your reader or not, writing business letters in a “friendly” way means writing them in a “professional” way.

Whenever you are in doubt, have another look at the eight steps above, and keep on writing!

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  • How to Submit

Who is JD Vance? Ohioans have not-so-pretty things to say about Trump's VP pick.

writing a business letter

Trump announced Sen. J.D. Vance as his running mate today.

The nation will soon know the Middletown native far better than it does now. He is already very well known to Ohioans and is a frequent subject of guest columns and letters to the editor submitted to this publication.

Most submissions have been critical. Vance has also penned several guest columns.

Scroll below for selection of letters and columns about J.D. Vance.

MORE: From 'America's Hitler' to a 'great president': JD Vance VP nomination in 5 cartoons

"Vance will hurt Trump's reelection chances. Ohio junior senator isn't ready to be VP."

July 15, 2024

Written by University of Dayton Professor Christopher Devine, Co-Author of "Do Running Mates Matter? The Influence of Vice Presidential Candidates in Presidential Elections."

First, Vance will have limited appeal to voters outside the Republican Party base. This is partly because Vance often conducts himself as a hysterical partisan – for example, by  claiming that the Biden campaign was “directly” to blame  for Saturday’s assassination attempt against Trump before any facts about the shooter were known..."

"Second, Vance probably will not help Trump win—and might cost him votes."

Link: Vance will hurt Trump's reelection chances. Ohio junior senator isn't ready to be VP.

"Ex-Portman director: Elect Tim Ryan. Deceitful Vance follows Trump's hate-mongering steps"

Aug. 16, 2022

Written by Jonathan Petuchowski , principal of First Majestic Asset Management and former legislative director to U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

"J.D. Vance, on the other hand, has made clear that he is all about division, and following in the hate-mongering steps of Donald Trump."

"These flip-flops and contortions aren’t just embarrassing. They show exactly the kind of person J.D. Vance is—a craven shapeshifter who will say whatever he needs to say to get elected."

Link: Ex-Portman director: Elect Tim Ryan. Deceitful Vance follows Trump's hate-mongering steps

"J.D. Vance wrote about being poor in Ohio now he's pulling ladder from poor Ohioans"

Written by Jeanna Kenney, advocacy chair member for Building Freedom Ohio.

Jan. 18, 2024

"Many Americans are too familiar with the struggle to feed their family —including our  U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance  — but instead of supporting benefits that families like his relied on, he supports enormous budget cuts to them.

While I’m struggling to pay rent on time and afford groceries, Congress is running out of time to make sure SNAP benefits are covered."

Link: J.D. Vance wrote about being poor in Ohio now he's pulling ladder from poor Ohioans

Letters to the editor about J.D. Vance:

J.d. vance's views on divorce, same-sex marriage send 'dangerous' message.

Sept. 8. 2022

Written by Margo Bartlett of Delaware

"In the Sept. 5 article, " Vance pushes back on divorce, porn, " Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance tells his campaign audiences he's anti-divorce, even in the case of unhappy or violent marriages, "because if you actually raise kids in stable families, they're much more likely to be prosperous, and I think that's what we all want, is kids to grow up in healthy, happy situations.

First, we all know that kids need and deserve to grow up in happy, stable homes. It's Vance’s definition of “stable families” that's ominous.

Vance appears to believe  unhappy, violent marriages  are preferable to divorce. I have my doubts.  Many divorced couples successfully collaborate  to give their children love, support and security. Children in unhappy, violent homes surely don’t feel loved, supported and secure in those homes. "

LINK: J.D. Vance's views on divorce, same-sex marriage send 'dangerous' message

"Trump should do Ohio a favor and take 'bootlicking' J.D. Vance off our hands"

May 22, 2024

Written by Joe R. Tilley of Columbus.

"I am hoping that Trump picks Sen. J.D. Vance for his running mate. Then Ohio could get rid of the lying, bootlicking, butt kissing, weak-willed, integrity lacking, sickening obsequious sycophant."

Letter: Trump should do Ohio a favor and take 'bootlicking' J.D. Vance off our hands

"Surely J.D. Vance took good notes"

May 16, 2024

Written by William Cotton of Blacklick

"Mr. Vance pulled a 180 from being a 'never Trump guy' who said Trump was 'noxious' . . . 'reprehensible' . . . and 'an idiot.' He now sucks up to Trump trying to be the No. 1 saprophyte vying for the vice presidential ticket spot."

Link: J.D. Vance, fellow Republicans mastering art of intimidation at Trump’s hush money trial

J.D. Vance's behavior disgraceful

Written by Toba Feldman of Columbus

"After the unanimous jury verdict, he called the verdict a disgrace and an absolute miscarriage of justice. If the verdict had been not guilty, he probably would have said the proceedings were fair and a shining example of American justice, even though the several weeks of trial would not differ except in the result.

What I find disgraceful is Vance’s, a former lawyer, behavior."

Link: J.D. Vance's behavior disgraceful

Who is J.D. Vance?

Vance was raised in a poverty and abuse-stricken household, chronicled in his bestselling "Hillbilly Elegy," which delved into his criticism of politics and the effectiveness of their policies on the working class. His resulting fame from the novel catapulted him into celebrity status.

Back in 2016, Vance was cynical of Trump .

"I go back and forth between thinking Trump is a cynical asshole like Nixon who wouldn't be that bad (and might even prove useful) or that he's America's Hitler," Vance wrote. "How's that for discouraging?"

When he decided to run for Senate in 2022, Vance started to support the presumptive GOP nominee for president. Vance enlisted his own connections to Silicon Valley to garner campaign backing, connections he now extends to Trump.

Vance has even built a strong relationship with Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., who supports Vance as his pick for vice president.

Vance will hurt Trump's chances. Ohio junior senator isn't ready to be VP.

Trump gave Vance his endorsement in the 2022 Senate race, which helped Vance ultimately win the seat.

Two years later, Vance stands strong as a Trump supporter, supporting him through his recent trial in Manhattan , his immunity case with the Supreme Court and even helping the former president to fundraise in the state.

Orlando Sentinel

Letters to the Editor | Letters: Biden isn’t selfless | Harris can do…

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Letters to the Editor | Letters: Biden isn’t selfless | Harris can do the job | Hurting Hispanic-owned business

President Joe Biden, who announced on Sunday that he would not seek re-election, exits the stage after speaking at the 115th NAACP National Convention on Tuesday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Biden withdrawal isn’t a ‘selfless act’

I think President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the 2024 elections was not a “selfless act.” No, it was merely a correction of rather selfish conduct (Editorial: “Joe Biden’s selfless act alters the arc of history,” July 23) . He should have had the self-awareness to have never run for reelection in the first place. That would have given the Democrats proper time to conduct primaries and choose a candidate who was fully vetted by the voters. Instead, a small cadre of party elites have anointed their preferred selection, hardly democratic by any stretch of the imagination. No, Joe, it would have been selfless about six to eight months ago.

Don Duenes Orlando

Harris’ candidacy isn’t based on DEI

We knew it was coming. Some Republicans are saying Kamala Harris is a DEI candidate. Make no mistake about what Republicans are saying when they attack DEI. It’s only one step away from the actual meaning for them: they won’t admit anyone other than a white, male Republican can do the job or should even be considered.

Gary Ulmer Oviedo

Shooting had no divine intervention

Newt Gingrich (“Providence and President Trump,” July 22) seems to believe in a god who would kill an innocent person and wound two others to show support for a moral degenerate. If such a god exists, we should all despair.

George Ord Melbourne Beach

Payment-method probe hurts Hispanic-owned businesses

Florida is reliant on its Hispanic-owned small businesses. They are worth over $800 billion to the state’s economy. Today, many of these businesses are still trying to recover from COVID-19 and need every tool at their disposal to succeed. Unfortunately, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is posing a threat to these businesses with its investigation into scams and fraud on peer-to-peer payment platforms like Zelle.

Zelle offers small businesses a way to instantly receive or send money, with the safety of their bank, at no cost. For small businesses, the ability to take electronic payments without paying a transaction fee can make a real difference.

In the Senate, some are considering onerous regulations that would require Zelle and other services to act more like credit cards. These proposals would come with new costs for small businesses and could take away a tool many are using to attract and keep customers.

Florida’s senators must work with their colleagues to find a better way to fight fraud. Our leaders should go after crooks and criminals and enhance consumer education efforts. These are ways to end fraud that will not hurt small businesses.

Julio Fuentes Wellington

Julio Fuentes is president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

More in Letters to the Editor

Some studies show the use of rail has little value in today’s land use and human population distribution. We just do not live, work, shop, and play near rail stops. So why prop up SunRail?

Letters to the Editor | Letters: SunRail waste | Sasse resignation | Harris’ VP pick

Two readers downplay the 'statement' adding unforeseen costs to the Amendment 4 abortion referendum on the ballot this fall.

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Letters to the editor | letters: abortion referendum | pat williams’ gifts | sunrail is a waste.

Ben Sasse was a Ron DeSantis crony hire. With Sasse resigning, UF deserves better.

Letters to the Editor | Letters: Next UF president | Trump speech redux | Don’t leave Taiwan

Pat Williams, who died Wednesday, had a major impact on Orlando sports and culture, but he had the personal touch, too.

Letters to the Editor | Letters: Remembering Pat Williams | Abortion bill ‘warning’ is bogus | Biden as president emeritus

Hey job seekers — hiring managers are onto your ChatGPT-written applications

  • Job seekers using AI-generated applications face detection and potential rejection by employers.
  • Companies note an uptick in AI-written job applications, complicating the hiring process.
  • Experts suggest customizing AI assistance to stand out — using it as an editor instead of a writer.

Insider Today

If you're hoping to use ChatGPT to get a leg up on job applications, you might just be shooting yourself in the foot.

While companies have been leveraging AI to automatically weed out résumés, job seekers have begun responding with chatbot-generated applications to keep up — and employers are noticing.

Jakob Knutzen, cofounder and CEO of video collaboration platform Butter, said he received around 450 applicants for a product designer position. But Knutzen told Business Insider he was able to detect what he believed was ample usage of ChatGPT-written responses to the form's three questions.

"The formulations were incredibly similar and used a bunch of phrases that I would never imagine people using," he said.

When Knutzen took his concerns to a LinkedIn post , other employers reported seeing a similar trend of a spike in AI-written job applications.

Christina Hallman, who is head of demand generation for cybersecurity risk management company Outpost24, recently said she received over 250 applications for two open positions.

She told Insider she estimated that 45% of the optional cover letters were AI-generated.

"I went over to ChatGPT and I put in our live job posting, and I said give me a cover letter," Hallman told Insider. "And it spit out almost the identical template that I was receiving time and time again."

She said that it didn't necessarily eliminate the candidate from the running, but when it came down to choosing between an application that used a ChatGPT-generated cover letter and a similar one that didn't, the latter would be hired.

"It just ended being like, well, it's not helping you," she said. "It's better to have just not attached anything."

Related stories

Hallman, who said she has a decade of hiring experience, said that she's seen a noticeable increase in the use of AI in applicants over the past one to two years.

And it's likely going to keep climbing as ChatGPT and other AI tools become more accessible — and popular.

A 2023 study conducted by iCIMS found that 47% of college seniors were interested in using ChatGPT or other AI bots to write their résumé and cover letters, while 25% of Gen Z who were surveyed said they already have.

Some recruiters have considered creating "AI-proof" questions, such as requiring an introductory Loom video. Others have even set chatbot traps by sneaking hidden instructions for LLMs that show up in the applicant's response.

Although Knutzen said his company did contemplate using videos or other questions that could cut down on the likelihood of AI-generated responses, they decided against it due to concerns that the "barrier for entry would be too high."

However, some comments under Knutzen's post said that job seekers were simply leveling the playing field with recruiters — especially with an increasingly tough job market .

One person wrote, "When companies use automated systems to decide who is worthy of an interview, what do they expect applicants to do?"

Over 97% of Fortune 500 companies use automated hiring systems , according to a 2023 study conducted by Jobscan.

"I think it's more of a frustration with the application process overall," Knutzen said. "I don't think that companies are respecting the process for applicants."

Knutzen, who said his company does not use ATSs, points out that many companies tend to ghost candidates or send an automated rejection, which can discourage job seekers.

"If you don't get a lot of feedback on the applications that you send, then you begin thinking that they don't matter," he said. "If the company doesn't think it's important, why should I?"

However, Knutzen stresses that the issue isn't necessarily the use of AI but rather using it "as a writer and not an editor."

Hallman said she "fully expects" people to use AI in their jobs and applications to save time, but she warns candidates against relying on it blindly.

"It's not the use of AI that's the problem, it's the lack of customization that is coupled with it," Hallman said. "If you're going to use AI, I think you need to use it really intentionally."

She said that applicants using the same chatbot-written responses become lost among their identical competitors.

"You need to have that human checkpoint," Hallman said. "Or it will just be a sea of everyone spitting out the same thing."

writing a business letter

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Chaos and Confusion: Tech Outage Causes Disruptions Worldwide

Airlines, hospitals and people’s computers were affected after CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity company, sent out a flawed software update.

  • Share full article

A view from above of a crowded airport with long lines of people.

By Adam Satariano ,  Paul Mozur ,  Kate Conger and Sheera Frenkel

  • July 19, 2024

Airlines grounded flights. Operators of 911 lines could not respond to emergencies. Hospitals canceled surgeries. Retailers closed for the day. And the actions all traced back to a batch of bad computer code.

A flawed software update sent out by a little-known cybersecurity company caused chaos and disruption around the world on Friday. The company, CrowdStrike , based in Austin, Texas, makes software used by multinational corporations, government agencies and scores of other organizations to protect against hackers and online intruders.

But when CrowdStrike sent its update on Thursday to its customers that run Microsoft Windows software, computers began to crash.

The fallout, which was immediate and inescapable, highlighted the brittleness of global technology infrastructure. The world has become reliant on Microsoft and a handful of cybersecurity firms like CrowdStrike. So when a single flawed piece of software is released over the internet, it can almost instantly damage countless companies and organizations that depend on the technology as part of everyday business.

“This is a very, very uncomfortable illustration of the fragility of the world’s core internet infrastructure,” said Ciaran Martin, the former chief executive of Britain’s National Cyber Security Center and a professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.

A cyberattack did not cause the widespread outage, but the effects on Friday showed how devastating the damage can be when a main artery of the global technology system is disrupted. It raised broader questions about CrowdStrike’s testing processes and what repercussions such software firms should face when flaws in their code cause major disruptions.

writing a business letter

How a Software Update Crashed Computers Around the World

Here’s a visual explanation for how a faulty software update crippled machines.

How the airline cancellations rippled around the world (and across time zones)

Share of canceled flights at 25 airports on Friday

writing a business letter

50% of flights

Ai r po r t

Bengalu r u K empeg o wda

Dhaka Shahjalal

Minneapolis-Saint P aul

Stuttga r t

Melbou r ne

Be r lin B r anden b urg

London City

Amsterdam Schiphol

Chicago O'Hare

Raleigh−Durham

B r adl e y

Cha r lotte

Reagan National

Philadelphia

1:20 a.m. ET

writing a business letter

CrowdStrike’s stock price so far this year

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COMMENTS

  1. Writing the Basic Business Letter

    Learn how to write a business letter with the correct format, structure, and punctuation. Find examples, tips, and resources for different styles and situations.

  2. How to Format & Write a Business Letter (with Examples)

    6. Put the date 2 lines underneath the address. Writing out the full date is the most professional choice and lets the recipient know when you mailed the letter. Keep a left indent for this line as well. [6] For example, rather than writing "10/15/12," write the full date as "October 15, 2012" or "15 October 2012.".

  3. Business Letter Format With Free Template

    Learn how to write a professional business letter with the correct format, elements and examples. Download a free template and get tips for email business letters.

  4. How to write a business letter: Format + template

    Learn the basics of business letter writing, including types, parts, and format. Get a free template to create your own professional letters for various purposes.

  5. How To Format a Proper Business Letter (With Examples)

    Learn how to write a formal business letter with examples and a template. Find out when and why to use a business letter format for references, verification, offers and more.

  6. Business Communication: How to Write a Formal Business Letter

    Learn the structure, layout, and tone of a business letter with this free lesson. See an example of a polished letter and tips for revision and appearance.

  7. Proper Letter Format: How to Write a Business Letter Correctly

    Your Phone Number. Your Email. 2. Today's Date. Spell out the month and include the complete year. Write the month, date, and year if sending a business letter in the U.S., but start the date with the day (e.g. 18 October 2018) if you're sending a letter in the U.K. or Australia. 3.

  8. 8+ Business Letter Examples & Business Letter Format Guide

    Learn how to write a formal business letter with this comprehensive guide. Find out the five elements of proper business letter formatting, see examples of different types of business letters, and download free templates.

  9. How to Write a Business Letter

    To keep your business letter concise and to the point, make sure the body is no longer than three to four paragraphs. Use the following formula for the body: Paragraph 1 (Opening): Introduce the ...

  10. How to Write a Business Letter: Formatting and Tips

    Learn the basic structure and elements of a business letter, and get tips on how to write clearly, concisely, and professionally. Find out how to use Microsoft 365 tools and templates to create and edit your letters easily.

  11. Business Letter Format (With Template and Example)

    Learn how to write a professional business letter with this guide. Find out the components, sections, format and tips for composing a clear and readable letter.

  12. The Writing Center

    Learn how to write a standard business letter with format, grammar, punctuation, and style tips. See examples of full block and modified block styles, and how to use abbreviations and enclosures.

  13. Examples of business letter format.

    Ah, business letter format-there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we're demonstrating the block format on this page, one of the two most common formats. ... After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, followed by a comma, leave 3 blank lines ...

  14. How To Start a Business Letter (With Examples and Tips)

    Follow these steps to start your business letter: 1. Write your salutation. Write your salutation at the top of your letter. The appropriate salutation depends on how well you know the recipient, but it should always be relatively formal for business correspondence. The following salutations are appropriate for business letters:

  15. Business Letters

    Learn how to write direct, concise, and professional business letters for different purposes and audiences. Find tips on organizing, details, format, and sample letters in block format.

  16. How to write a business letter with format & examples

    3. Pick a format. Choose a format for your letter based on the purpose and recipient of the letter. Block format is suitable for formal business letters like cover letters, thank-you letters, and letters of recommendation. Modified block format works for less formal letters like internal memos or letters to colleagues.

  17. Business Letter Format

    A business letter should always follow a certain format and structure to ensure it is received as professional and up-to-standard. While there are many different types of business letters, this guide will go through a detailed example of the most classic business letter format. Business Letter Overview. In business, a

  18. PDF Business Letters

    This handout will help you write business letters required in many different situations, from applying for a job to requesting or delivering information. While the examples that are discussed specifically are the application letter and cover letter, this handout also highlights strategies for effective business writing in general.

  19. How to Format and Write a Simple Business Letter

    People write business letters and emails for a variety of reasons such as requesting information, to conduct transactions, to secure employment, and so on. Effective business correspondence should be clear and concise, respectful in tone, and formatted properly. By breaking down a business letter into its basic components, you can learn how to communicate effectively and improve your skills as ...

  20. How to format a great business letter [+Template & Examples]

    Parts of a Business Letter. There are different ways to arrange the layout of a formal letter; We recommend including at least the following parts of business letters. Your Contact Information. The Date. The Recipient's Contact Information. The Salutation. The Body. The Closing Salutation. Your Signature.

  21. 8 Steps to Writing a Business Letter in English

    For example, a person might write a letter to convince others to buy their products or services, recommend employees for jobs, or announce their resignation. 2. Write a Short Outline. Write an outline before you start typing. If you have a good plan, you won't need to make a lot of time-consuming changes.

  22. Trump picks Vance for VP. Here's what Ohio thinks of him

    Scroll below for selection of letters and columns about J.D. Vance. MORE:From 'America's Hitler' to a 'great president': JD Vance VP nomination in 5 cartoons "Vance will hurt Trump's reelection ...

  23. Letters: Biden isn't selfless

    I think President Joe Biden's withdrawal from the 2024 elections was not a "selfless act." No, it was merely a correction of rather selfish conduct (Editorial: "Joe Biden's selfless act ...

  24. Employers Say They Can Tell When ChatGPT Is Used in ...

    A 2023 study conducted by iCIMS found that 47% of college seniors were interested in using ChatGPT or other AI bots to write their résumé and cover letters, while 25% of Gen Z who were surveyed ...

  25. CrowdStrike-Microsoft Outage: What Caused the IT Meltdown

    Airlines, hospitals and people's computers were affected after CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity company, sent out a flawed software update.