I do much of my business transactions through email and snail mail. Because of this, I like to make my correspondence look as presentable and intelligent as possible. When I can’t stand before my business contacts, I have confidence in my letters. From the moment they’re opened and read, to when they are filed away, I know that my letters represent me accurately. Back in college, I didn’t give a hoot about letter writing but since then I’ve had the chance to rethink my attitude.
Each business letter is written in 11 parts. It sounds complicated but it’s not really. Get in the habit of using this set of 11 and you’ll have a professional looking letter.
Heading: Have your company’s logo and address together for a smart-looking heading. I keep mine on a Word document for handy grabbing whenever I need to write a letter. The heading goes at the top and center of the page.
Current date: Don’t use the 00/00/00 format. Instead write January 1, 2012 or the current date. This goes at the upper right hand corner of your business letter.
Reference line: The reference line goes on the left side of the page, a two or three lines under the date. The reference line should note a specific file, invoice or business code. If no reference is necessary, skip this line.
Addressee: Next, type in the name of the contact person, including their proper title and role. For example, you should write Dr. Harry Smith or Harry Smith, CEO. Add the office address including suite numbers and the like. Hit “Enter” twice after adding the addressee information.
Subject line: Here is where you give the next content clue. Write, “Re: Back Up Files” or “Re: Employee Benefits.” This gives an indication of what the letter is about.
Body: This is the most important part of your business letter. Write the letter in paragraph formats using clean text. Always spell check and look for grammatical errors before sending your letter.
Closing: After you’ve written your letter, you’ll need to close it with a salutation. If writing a letter to an acquaintance or if they letter is general in nature, end with “Yours Truly.” If the letter is to someone that has a higher rank than you, write, “Respectfully Yours.” If the business letter is to someone you have personal ties with, write, “Sincerely.”
Signature: Once you’ve finished the closing, hit the “Enter” tab four times. Sign your official business name like, “Mr. Edward Munroe, CEO” or “Mrs. Margaret Jones.”
Notations: Next indicate who received a copy of the letter with notations. This will also note who wrote and typed the letter. The author goes first adding his first and last initial in capital letter. For example, instead of Martha Ray, I would write MR. Add a colon to separate the two then note the initials of the typist. The finished product should look like MR:bt or MR/BJ/bt
Post Script: Most of us know that P.S. stands for post script. Is the area where you add personal information or add something you may have forgotten.
Finish your professional-looking letter with quality paper and envelopes. Always add your signature above your typed name using blue or black ink. My top notch letters have helped me get interviews and appointments that I would never have had without them. Give them a try!
More from this Contributor:
10 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account
How to Use Charity Ratings
Ways to Cut Office Costs