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How to Write a Professional Letter

When writing a professional letter, it's important to use the correct format. This means including the addresses of the sender and recipient, and using the proper salutation and closing.

There are many occasions when a professional letter is appropriate. These include an application letter, a thank you letter and a letter accepting or declining a job offer.

Every professional letter should contain the following, in this order:

  1. Sender's address
  2. Date
  3. Recipient's address (also called the inside address)
  4. Salutation (e.g. "To Whom It May Concern")
  5. Body
  6. Closing (e.g. "Sincerely")
  7. Enclosures (Type the word "Enclosures" if there are other documents included with the letter, e.g. your resume. You may list the documents when more than one is included.)
  8. Signature
  9. Typist's initials if you did not type the letter yourself

[Source: Professional Letter Samples]

The body of your letter should be single-spaced and left-justified. There should be a blank line between paragraphs. [Source: Purdue OWL]

The body of the letter should contain:

  1. First paragraph A friendly opening followed by a statement of the letter's main point.
  2. Second paragraph Justification of the main point's importance.
  3. Third through penultimate paragraphs Supporting information and details justifying the main point's importance.
  4. Closing paragraph A restatement of the letter's purpose and a request for a specific action, when relevant.

[Source: Purdue OWL

Here are some other tips for writing a winning professional letter.

  • A professional letter should be diplomatic and respectful.
  • A professional letter should be concise. Readers generally want to get to the bottom line without going through a lot of fluff.
  • A professional letter should use a standard font. Times New Roman is the most widely accepted font, and letters are generally typed in a 12-point size.
  • A professional letter must have correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Use a colon (:) after the salutation and a comma (,) after the closing [Source: Purdue OWL].

Always check your letter thoroughly for errors before sending it.