How to get the correct format in Business Letter Writing

Here is a survival guide to business letter writing formats that are covered on a good business letter writing course. You should make sure at first that you are clear on business letter format and follow this formal format. This will ensure that the overall look of your business letter is professional. Try to make sure that you use a font which is standard, so Times New Roman or Arial. You should also ensure that there is a suitable sized margin and that letter body is left justified.

The letterhead is essential in a business letter. In most company’s you will have headed printed paper for your business. This should always be used where available, as it shows a greater level of professionalism. However, if you do not possess headed paper, you can put your full contact details in the top right hand corner of the paper.
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The letter should be left hand justified at the top, below the level of a manually written address which should be written out in full. Therefore, it should appear like this: 25 February 2011. The Year should be in YYYY format and the month written in full. Deviation from this format will appear clumsy to experienced clerical workers.

Make a space and then below that you should input the full details of the recipient. You should write the recipient's name in full, followed by their title then by the name of the company and finally the address. Always remember to include their reference number, when possible.

Too many people make mistakes with the salutation. There are many choices that you have here and you need to be sure to make the correct choice. You must select the correct level of politeness and formality. Here are some examples

·         "To Whom It May Concern" is to be used when you do not know who you are sending the letter to within the organisation.

·         "Dear Sir/Madam" is appropriate when you do not know the recipient very well. Use plurals, when you are right to more than one person, “Dear Sirs/Madams”.

·         However you could opt to use the title and the surname instead "Dear Mr Coulsdon."

·         If you know the recipient well and enjoy an informal relationship with him or her, you may consider a first-name address, e.g. "Dear Susan."

In the body of the letter you should use body paragraphs, which means that you should put 2 spaces between your paragraphs. This will make the presentation look much better.

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In a formal business letter you can use "Yours faithfully", when you do not know the person. However, when you know the person you should use "Yours sincerely".

A gap of four lines should be left for you to sign. You will leave your signature here, or that of your boss, after you have printed the letter. Always use blue or black ink to sign, other colours will look unprofessional.

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