Business latterOktober 30, 2012
A business letter is a letter written in formal language, usually used when writing from one business organization to another, or for correspondence between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. The overall style of letter will depend on the relationship between the parties concerned. There are many reasons to write a business letter. It could be to request direct information or action from another party, to order supplies from a supplier, to identify a mistake that was committed, to reply directly to a request, to apologize for a wrong or simply to convey goodwill. Even today, the business letter is still very useful because it produces a permanent record, is confidential, formal and delivers persuasive, well-considered messages.
The most important element you need to ensure in any business letter is accuracy. One of the aspects of writing a business letter that requires the most accuracy is knowing which type of business letter you are writing. A number of options are available for those looking to trade in business correspondence, and you will significantly increase your odds for getting a reply if you know the form you need to send.
1. Letter of Complaint
A letter of complaint will almost certainly result in an official response if you approach it from a businesslike perspective. Make the complaint brief, to the point and polite. Politeness pays off regardless of the extent of anger you are actually feeling while composing this type of business letter.
2. Resume Cover Letter
A cover letter that accompanies a resume should revel in its brevity. You should take as little time and as few words as possible to accomplish one task: persuading the reader to anticipate reading your resume. Mention the title of the job for which you are applying, as well or one or two of your strongest selling points.
3. Letter of Recommendation
A recommendation letter allows you to use a few well-chosen words to the effect of letting someone else know how highly you value a third party. Resist the temptation to go overboard; approach your recommendation in a straightforward manner that still allows you to get the point across.
4. Letter of Resignation
An official letter of resignation is a business letter that should be fair and tactful. Be wary of burning any bridges that you may need to cross again in the future. Offer a valid reason for your resignation and avoid self-praise.
5. Job Applicant Not Hired
In some cases you may be required to write a business letter that informs a job applicant that he was not chosen for an open position. Offer an opening note of thanks for his time, compliment him on his experience or education and explain that he was just not what the company is looking for at the present time.
6. Declining Dinner Invitation
Declining a dinner invitation is a topic for a business letter that, if not done tactfully, may result in a social disadvantage. Extend your appreciation for the invitation and mention that you already have an engagement for that date. Do not go into detail about what the engagement is.
7. Reception of Gift
It is very polite to return a formal business response letting someone know that you have received her gift. Extend a personalized thanks to let her know that you are exactly aware of the contents of the gift. If possible, it is a good idea to include a sentiment suggesting that you have put the gift to use.
8. Notification of Error
When sending a business letter that lets the receiving party know that an error has been corrected, it is good business sense to include a copy of the error in question if there is paperwork evidence of it. Make the offer of additional copies of material involved in the error if necessary.
9. Thanks for Job Recommendation
A letter of thanks for a party that helped you get a job should be professional and courteous. Above all else, avoid the temptation to go overboard in offering your thanks. Be aware that your skills also helped you land the job and it was likely not handed to you as a result of the third party.
10. Information Request
A business letter that requests information should make the request specific and perfectly understandable. It is also a good idea to state the reason for the information request. Extend advance appreciation for the expected cooperation of the recipient.
A. Your company name followed by all contact details (including address, telephone, fax, company url and email).
B. Recipient’s address (including their name and title if you know it).
C. Date on the right- or left-hand side of the page.
D. If required, add the file references, both yours and the recipient’s (use ‘Ref’as an abbreviation for ‘reference’).
Business letter : the content
E. The greeting.
Casual: Dear [first name and surname]
Formal: Dear Mr [surname], for a man, or Dear Ms [surname] for a woman. If you don’t know the name of the recipient, use Dear Sir or Madam or Dear Sir/Madam.
F. Stating the subject of the letter using Re (used as an abbreviation for regarding).
G. Here are some options for starting your letter:
I would like to enquire about (or whether) …
I am writing regarding …
I am writing in response to …
I am writing to inform you that/of …
I am writing to complain about …
Further to my letter of 15th May…
H. The details of the letter are to be added at this point.
Business letter: the end
I. Here are expressions you can use to end a business letter.
Please let me know if …
I look forward to receiving your reply.
Thank you in advance for your help.
I would be most grateful if you could inform me …
J. For a casual ending, use Regards or Best wishes. A formal ending (if you know the recipient), use Sincerely or Yours sincerely. A formal ending (if you don’t know the recipient): Yours truly orYours faithfully.
pp: indicates the letter was signed on behalf of someone else
cc: these people have received a copy of the letter
enc: documents are enclosed with this letter