October 1, 2011

Business Letter Writing Etiquette

You are required to write a business letter for making an inquiry, replying to an inquiry, fixing an appointment, for sales, purchase, accounts etc., for writing a cover letter while applying, for reference letters, for writing a business proposal etc. In a business letter, certain format with clear tone and courteous language, is to be strictly followed. Usually, business letters are so written, that a 'positive attitude' reflects through them. Let us see, how a business letter is written.

Business Letter Writing Etiquette

Following are the important parts of a business letter.

  • Heading: How to write a business letter heading? You should write your name and address here. Nowadays, different types of letterheads (different colors, paper types, etc.) are used for business writing, as compared to plain boring ones used normally. Your name and address should be located on the top right-hand corner of the paper. No punctuation (commas, full stops) is required in the address.
  • Date: The date is useful for filing and determining priorities. Date is important while taking any legal action. Date is written immediately under your own address. Writing a date in the form '10 March 2009' is the clear and concise form, which is least likely to lead to any kind of confusion.
  • Reference: You can write down in short the reference if any, or the purpose of this letter in 5-6 words.
  • Opening: The opening part of the business letter includes the name, title (doctor, professor, manager) if any, address of the recipient and the salutation or greeting.
  • Body: Here you are expected to write the message you wish to convey, in a clear, concise, courteous tone and language. The reason behind letter writing decides the exact content of the letter. Not a single sentence should lead to any confusion or misunderstanding. Language should be simple and not ornamental. Use of unfamiliar words should be avoided. A good beginning, short description of the purpose in the middle part and a precise ending will ensure effective communication.
  • Closing: You are expected to offer thanks to the person for any help given, through professional letter closing. You can sign off the letter by writing 'Yours faithfully' when you don't know the name of the recipient or 'Yours sincerely' when you know the name of the person, whom you are writing. Your signature can be on the right hand corner, if you have written your address in the right hand corner, at the top of the page. Your own address at the top and your signature at the bottom can be at the left hand corners respectively.
  • Enclosures: If you have enclosed any documents like resume, along with your letter, then you have to mention it at the bottom of your letter. If there are more than one documents, then you should make a proper list of them at the bottom of the letter.

Business Letter Writing Format

While writing business letters, a block format has to be followed. Your letter can be left justified and single spaced. There can be a double space between the paragraphs. A little bit variation in this format, regarding writing the address or date is observed nowadays. The 'Times New Roman' font, with size 12, is the commonly used but there can be variations of font also.

In schools, letter writing is included as a part of the language study, with an emphasis on business letter writing. You can have a look at the business letter writing example below and know more about how to write a business letter.

Your name/Your designation
Name of your organization
Address of your organization
Your telephone number

Employer name/Hr Department
Employer address

Ref: Letter of resignation

Dear Sir/Madam,

I (your name), working since (your date of joining), at the position of (your designation), in your esteemed organization, hereby tender my desire to resign from my services. The reason behind my resignation is (what you wish to mention). My date of resignation will be (the desired date), which is one month away as per our contract.

Resigning from this job is really a tough decision for me. For me, it has been a very good experience working with this organization. I am grateful to the management and my colleagues for the support and love they have bestowed upon me, during my tenure in this organization.

I kindly request you to accept my resignation and relieve me on (desired date). I will readily abide to all the exit formalities.

Yours sincerely,

Your name and signature.

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