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What Is a Business Letter? How to Communicate Professionally

February 27, 2023

business letter

Business communication is not the same as regular communication.

The average day in a corporate environment involves communicating via the phone, video calls, or business letters. Communicating at work is formal and professional - or so it should be. Even in a relaxed culture, you should create and record written correspondence with document creation software.

Business letters are often private and confidential, and the nature of them varies on the stakeholder you're sending them to. The subject matter should be cut-and-dry and purpose-driven, encouraging immediate attention.

For every speaker invitation, testimonial, vendor payment, or client follow-up, you can write a business letter.

To draft an ideal business letter, you must pay special attention to the recipient. When writing to an investor, your language should be persuasive and clear. If you are emailing a freshly onboarded client, list the product implementation timeline. Also, ensure you use the organization’s official letterhead while sending the letter.

Some examples of business letters we will discuss are recruiter emails, thank you letters, recommendation letters, appreciation letters, and client onboarding letters. 

No matter the use case, a business letter should sound crisp, action-driven, and professional. Hone your writing skills and be prepared for what's coming your way.

Easy-to-understand business letter format 

First, let's talk about how you should format a business letter. The specifics of each letter will look different, but if you need to send a generic business letter, you need to go by a structural representation. 

1. Heading: Like any letter, you should have a heading with the address and the date. 

Grace Pinegar
Content Marketing Specialist
G2 
1234 Generic Ave.
Chicago, IL
60622
Feb 21, 2023

2. Salutation: Next, you should write the salutation. Mention the name. email, designation, and address of the sender and the recipient of the letter. The standard format is the recipient's name followed by their title, company, and address. 

Ms. Claire Brenner
Senior Content Marketing Specialist
G2
20 N Upper Wacker
Chicago, IL 60622

2. Then comes the subject line. Summarize the moot of the business letter in one line before moving to the next section.

Grace Pinegar
Content Marketing Specialist
G2 
1234 Generic Ave.
Chicago, IL
60622

Feb 21, 2023

Ms. Claire Brenner
Senior Content Marketing Specialist
G2
20 N Upper Wacker
Chicago, IL 60622


Subject: Oncoming content projects for FY23-24 

Then comes the body of the letter. You'll need to refer to the recipient by name. If you don't know their name, you can address the letter to "To whom it may concern." 

Once you have finished writing your (very important) business letter, you'll sign off with a polite signature. 

I hope you found the brief to your liking. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,
Grace Pinegar

Let's piece it all together to create a rough business letter template that you can use to evaluate project success and improvement.

Grace Pinegar
Content Marketing Specialist
G2 
1234 Generic Ave.
Chicago, IL
60622

Feb 21, 2023

Ms. Claire Brenner
Senior Content Marketing Specialist
G2
20 N Upper Wacker
Chicago, IL 60622


Subject: Oncoming content projects for FY23-24 

Introduction:  Facilitate the senior member or peer with a proper greeting 

Paragraph 1: Introduce the main subject of the letter, which is "content projects and audit." List all the projects you wish to discuss, involved people, timelines, resources, and other factual details.

Paragraph 2: Elaborate more on the subject. If you are discussing content projects, mention the progress till now, new ideas, concepts, and early completion strategy. Shed light on your strengths, challenges, and newer ways to expedite work. 

Closing paragraph: Finally, end on a positive note with an affirmation to hit the targets soon; also, keep an open door for cross-questioning.

 

I hope you found the brief to your liking. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Signing off,
Yours sincerely
Grace Pinegar

Business letter best practices

As you get in the groove of letter-writing, remember business letter is not a birthday party invitation. Or an annual barbeque dinner with your team members. You need to skip the pleasantries and get straight to the point.

One way to make sure your message is received as intended is to abide by the following best practices, no matter the letter's unique purpose. 

  • Proofread: Be sure to go over your letter two or three times, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes. This will make sure you seem more astute in your communications. 
  • Peer edits: If you have a friend, colleague, or mentor you know would be willing to edit the document for you, don't be afraid to ask. Having a fresh mind look over the letter will catch mistakes your brain has glossed over. 
  • File format: Make sure your letter aligns with the requested file format. For example, send cover letters as PDFs, but send sales letters per your company's preference. 
  • Check name spelling: I know I already mentioned proofreading, but checking to see that you spelled names correctly should be a step. This is especially true for cover letters and letters of intent. It's a sign of respect to get the name of an individual or organization right. 
  • Letter length: Control the word length of your business letter. Skip the flowery jargon or introduction, and if possible, list the content in bullets. Break down your concerns, one by one, in a clear tone. Don't confuse your recipient with a bulk emailer. 
  • Right tone: Avoid sarcasm while writing the letter. Ensure at no stage your recipient feels as if they are being compelled or ordered to complete a certain task. Be intuitive, empathetic, and kind, as these are the cornerstones of a good professional.

We can't put our finger on any one kind of business letter that holds importance. One business letter cannot have the same content as another. Hence, following a rough draft and editing it every time might be malpractice. 

Types of business letters

Business letters are split up according to their purpose. Not every piece of communication aims to send the same message. Some letters end your time at a company; others get you noticed by a new hiring manager. Some are a summation of your tenure as an employee; others are surveys to gauge your satisfaction with your current workspace. 

Below is a list of different business letter formats, along with samples of business letters that would help you digest the meaning better. 

Types of business letters

    1. Email to recruiter
    2. Cover letter
    3. Thank you letter
    4. Resignation
    5. Reference letter
    6. Letter of intent
    7. Sales letter
    8. Complaint letter
    9. Adjustment letter
    10. Order letter
    11. Acknowledgment letter

To maintain a professional rapport within the workplace, familiarize yourself with the following types of letters and when to use them.

1. Emailing the recruiter

As you enter the swamp of the corporate world, look out for ways to safeguard yourself. Every job seeker fills out applications and personal details and submits a resume. That doesn't catch the trained eye.  How can you stop yourself from falling into this ditch of redundancy? By sending an email to the recruiter

We are currently witnessing the most competitive phase of the century. For each job vacancy, candidates are lining up in hundreds and even thousands. The job description for an entry-level role includes unrealistic expectations like "top tier MBA," "five years of experience," and whatnot. Humble candidates have no place to go if they don't ace the history of academics. A well-written email to a potential recruiter can pull you out of this rut and make your application shine.

Example of business letter to recruiter, requesting re-evaluation of candidature

Dear [Mr. or Mrs.] [Recruiter name],

 

Subject:  Appeal for re-evaluation of the candidature for [position name]

 

I am writing this email to you in the interest of my current job application status for the position of [Position Name] in your esteemed organization. As the application has been withdrawn by the company, I am putting my appeal for re-evaluation of the same.

 

I have completed my Bachelor's in International Marketing from [Institute Name] with a GPA of 7.5 (all-rounder).  Right after graduation, I interned at [Previous Company] as a [Position Name] for eight months. During my internship, I was trained extensively on [hard skill 1], [hard skill 2], and [hard skill 3].  I also attended workshops on business communication that mustered my [soft skill 1] and [soft skill 2].  

 

To summarize my concern, I request you reconsider my application or state a detailed reason for rejection. I truly believe my professional experience and academic expertise can be a perfect fit for this responsibility.  Hoping for a revert!

 

Best,

[Your name]

2. Cover letter

A cover letter is a letter that you send to a company when you wish to be considered for a job opportunity. It covers additional aspects of the professional journey you have covered till now, apart from what's mentioned in your resume. You can go personal and touch on a few quirks to attract your recruiters with your mind. Cover letters are typically submitted alongside your job application and resume.

Cover letters aim to hire you for who you are. This is information they typically wouldn’t be able to glean from your other professional materials.

For more information on how to write cover letters, read everything you need to know about cover letters

Example of business letter to HR department for re-evaluation of candidature

Dear [Mr. or Mrs.] [Recruiter name],

 

Subject:  Cover letter for the position of [position name] at [organization name]

 

I am submitting this cover letter and my resume for the position of [position name] at your esteemed organization. I wish to take this moment and highlight my soft skills.

 

From my college days, I have always been a front-desk student. Diligently copying notes, eyes bent upon my books and notebooks and sparing time to only play basketball.  I identified myself as a problem solver. Someone with the knack of being consistent with her work. 

 

Soon after graduation, I was interviewed by a handful of companies for several positions. I was appointed as [position name] at [company name]. At that point, I was dedicated to gaining professional thrust. Although the initial days were hard, I slowly adapted to diverse business scenarios. I received appreciation for my communication, problem-solving, analytical, and email skills. 

 

As I stand on the verge of a new role, I cannot contain my excitement for all the amazing ventures. I would focus on my goals and will help the company scale new pillars of growth and excellence. 

 

Best,

[Your name]

You should write a cover letter whenever you are trying to get hired for a job in the corporate world. Many job applications will say a cover letter is optional. However, I encourage you to write one anyway.

3. Thank you letter

A thank you letter is a token of appreciation towards the recipient for any help or time they provided to you. You can write a thank you letter to a potential interviewer, manager, or peer who helped you swim through challenges and emerge confident. Typically, professional thank you letters are written to the hiring managers or interviewers from a candidate who has been interviewed and considered for a job.

Thank you letters are a way of signaling gratitude to your potential new organization, as well as showing managers you’re not afraid to take the initiative.

 

Example of a thank you business letter after getting a promotion

Respected [Mr.] or [Mrs.] [Manager Name]

Subject:  Expressing my sincere thanks for promoting me to [new position]

 

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to you for promoting me to the coveted role of [new position name]. This news came as a surprise today and left me in a state of amazement. For every employee, there is no bigger gift than being understood, valued, and appreciated for their work. I wish to give you sheer credit for believing in me, mentoring me, and encouraging me to take that leap of faith.

 

As I gear up for the new position of [Position Name], I promise to uphold the virtues of integrity, team effort, and constant improvement. I am fortunate to have learned so much and come this far in the journey. I hope to aim for even greater peaks and set new bars of excellence. 

 

Thank you once again!

 

Best,

[Your name]

You should write a professional thank you letter for a number of reasons, but in this scenario, we’re referring to letters as an ode to the employer. For interviewees, they should thank the employer before they organize during a personal video interview.

4. Letter of resignation

 A letter of resignation formally informs your current employer that you will no longer be working there after a brief period of time. In more extreme or urgent cases, a letter of resignation informs your employer that you will be quitting, effective immediately.

In most scenarios, employees will turn in this letter with two or three weeks’ notice. This means you’ve informed your employer that you’re leaving but will continue working for a predetermined amount of time to help out with the transition of either hiring a replacement or losing an employee altogether. 

resignation letter format

 

To demand your full and final (FnF) settlement from your ex-employer, use the following draft: 

Example of business letter to ex-employer for release of the full and final settlement 

Respected Madam

 

Subject: Release of full and final settlement for [position name] from [date start] to [date end]

 
I wish to bring to your kind concern that I was working at [company name] as a [Position Name] under employee ID [ID number] 
 
That on [date], I have submitted my resignation letter duly approved by [Manager's name] and your good self. I have also served my notice period with the company.
 
I m writing to re-iterate that on [date], I got my relieving and experience letter, but my full and final settlement is still pending. I request you initiate the process from your and let me know in case my documentation is pending.
 
If you have any questions about my request, please call me at [phone number] or reply to this email. I shall be happy to answer.
 
Thank you for your time and your attention to this matter.
 
Kind regards,
 
[Name]
[Address]
[Employee number]

You should write a letter of resignation when you are ready to quit your job. The amount of notice you give will depend entirely on your situation. Do not, however, turn in a letter of resignation unless you are ready to quit within the next two or three weeks.

5. Reference letter

A reference letter is written by a professional or personal connection that vouches for a candidate’s skills and experience in the hopes of helping them get a new job offer. Reference letters are often written by former managers or other executives or teachers, professors, and mentors. Reference letters will sometimes, but not often, be written by friends or neighbors.

No matter who writes them, they should be positive recountings of a professional’s experience working with or overseeing the candidate. They should mention specific anecdotes and describe aspects of the candidate’s character. A reference letter is also known as a "letter of recommendation."

Example of reference letter for a potential friend/acquaintance

 

Dear [Mr.] or [Ms.] [ Name]

 

Subject: Submitting a referral of [Name] for [Position Name]

 

Greetings to you.

 

I am writing this letter to refer [Name], who has been my acquaintance and colleague in [previous company], for the current role of [new role] in our company.

 

I have known [name] for [x years] at [previous company] and was on the same team as her. She was promoted twice and was appointed to lead the entire [project name] on the client side. She is an [qualification] in [discipline of education] and has a diverse professional portfolio. I have found her level-headed, thought-driven, and passionate about her job. She rarely missed any meetings and maintained a near-perfect attendance record throughout. She also led workshops on [hard skill 1] and [hard skill 2] as the team transitioned into different software. She took the responsibility to educate the entire team and was always up for doubt-solving.

 

I strongly recommend [name's] candidature for the position of [position name]  as I believe she has the potential to be an asset to our team. Please feel free to write back in case of any potential concerns.

 

Best regards

Name

You should write a reference letter if you have been asked to write reference letter. You should only say yes if you can honestly and positively speak to a person’s character and work experience. If someone you don’t know well or don’t think highly of asks you to write a reference letter, it might be best to decline politely.

6. Letter of intent

A letter of intent is exactly as it sounds: it is a letter that declares your intentions. Letters of intent are used to form an agreement between various parties. They can be used when drafting a proposal, applying for or accepting a job, or agreeing to a particular deal.

A letter of intent displays your affirmation for a certain task. You might be assigned to a new project but do not know how to start. A letter of intent can display your likeability, help you seek guidance, and jazz things up. 

Example of business letter of intent for a job opportunity as a social media marketer

 

Dear [Mr.] or [Ms.] [ Name]

 

Subject: Interested in the position of social media marketer in [company name]

 

I am writing in response to your recent job vacancy for a full-time social media marketer. I have been working in the content and social media marketing space for over three years now. My core strengths include social media campaigning, brand activation, copywriting, hygiene handling, scriptwriting, and email marketing for business-to-business (B2B) clients. I am a trained SEO specialist and have received recognition as a "tech marketer" in the social media community. 

 

As far as my personal education goes, I have completed my Bachelor's in Computer Science and Master's in Brand Marketing. When I started as an early adopter in the social media space, I was not sure of how it worked. But I grew my proficiency with time.

 

I cross-collaborated with product and engineering teams to learn about new releases and how we can leverage them for consumer acquisition. The results unraveled an impressive conversion rate optimization of over 3% in the last GTM launch alone. I am highly interested in this full-time position that will help me achieve a successful future and career growth. 

 

If donned with the opportunity, I will bring my skills on board, along with my penchant for growth, and help the team touch new heights!

 

Best regards

Name

You can use a letter of intent to communicate future concerns, as well as to announce or make your preferences public. A letter of intent binds both parties in an "implicit" agreement with some common bridge of interest. 

8. Sales letter

A sales letter, perhaps more prominently understood as a sales email, is a form of communication that exists to engage and interest the reader in learning more about a product or service.

There are many different strategies regarding how one should write a sales letter. Ultimately, you should pursue the strategy your company lays out in its playbook. All sales letters, however, should include a call-to-action, as well as a method of contacting you should the reader be interested.

Example of a sales letter to pitch an Education CRM product to a potential B2B lead.

 

Dear [Mr.] or [Ms.] [ Name]

 

Subject: One platform to manage, streamline and grow your admission enrolments

 

Admission management remains an uphill journey for educational institutions.

 

Students are now making smarter choices. When pursuing further studies, they analyze the if's and but's of every university program. They do not get lured into "spray and pray" marketing gimmicks online institutions throw at them. To survive this tough hour, you must look past standard, horizontal CRM solutions. But that's what we were feeding on till now for lead gen.

 

What's the change?

 

An education CRM specifically tailored for your students and your admission teams. Tieing these entities together in a single knot results in a personalized journey and more conversions. Integrating the efforts of all stakeholders involved, like admission, finance, management, and counseling, into one single CRM solution eliminates silos, peaks ROI, and puts you on the path to success. 

 

That's our synergy at <company name>. We have successfully partnered with over [number of colleges], including stalwart names like [college 1], [college 2], and [college 3].  <A word from our partners>

If you find this useful, you can drop us a line or schedule an appointment through <company website>. I hope this goes somewhere in the future!

 

Best regards

Name

You should write a sales letter when you are seeking to gain a professional or an organization’s attention. In other words, when hoping to interest someone in a deal or sale.

9. Complaint letter

A complaint letter is a letter you write when you have a bone to pick with an organization or individual. It whistleblows on your concerns and raises them to the limelight. One complaint can speak on behalf of several other team members. Say, you received horrendous customer service, or you found an ad targeting you inappropriately.

You’d write a complaint letter to inform an organization of the situation and allow them to decide the next steps.

Although it has the word “complaint” in the title, not all complaint letters have to be rage documents wherein you ream out a company for some wrongdoing. They could be a simple description of your dissatisfaction with a few suggested expectations for recourse.

If you are angry, though, by all means, have at it.

Example of a complaint letter to an apartment rental agency on account of denying security deposit.

 

Dear [Mr.] or [Ms.] [ Name]

 

Subject: Raise a complaint for delayed security deposit

I, [name], am a resident of [Apartment Name], which is located in [area] in [city]. I wish to bring to your concern that I have rented this apartment through your agency services. I have been living over here for the past year. I had paid a security check of [Amount] prior to my onboarding for [number of months]. Yesterday, I received a call from the department head, saying that my request to retrieve the security deposit has been declined.

 

Per my rental agreement, I am liable to receive my full security amount. I had put in a request for evacuation 30 days before leaving the apartment. I served the entire notice period and paid my utility, electricity, gas, water, and all other bills on time. The landlord has also conducted a thorough inspection of the property. Nothing has been worn off, stolen, or damaged. I am failing to understand why the money hasn't been released.

 

I also wish to highlight the poor sense of duty of your agents, who do not assist tenants in hard times. Please look into the needed resolution for this matter. In case you want document proof, do let me know. 

 

 

Best regards

Name

You should write a complaint letter when you have a complaint. Granted, we have many other methods of complaining these days (lucky customer service reps).

It’s more common to see someone calling a company’s customer service hotline or even chatting with a representative online. A letter is a more formal way of communicating, but it does get the message across that you’re serious enough about this issue to write in.

10. Adjustment letter

Adjustment letters are a company or individuals responding to a complaint letter. The letter should clearly state the company’s stance in the case.

If you’re siding with the customer, state that immediately. If you’re not siding with the customer, be sure to communicate that clearly while still offering exceptional customer service.

You should write an adjustment letter after your company has received a complaint letter from a customer. It’s important to respond to support queries to save face and keep customers loyal.

Adjustment letter from the rental company's end on denial of security deposit.

 

Dear [Mr.] or [Ms.] [ Name]

 

Subject: Regarding the security deposit for your rented apartment

 

Greetings from [company name]

 

I am extremely sorry for the experience you have had. This is extremely unacceptable and apology-worthy on our behalf. Rest assured; the matter will be immediately looked into and sorted out. However, please allow us to look into the entire situation and assess things from our end.

 

You will be shortly receiving a call on your registered mobile number. The call would be from an assigned [company] executive who would attend to your queries. As far as the security deposit is concerned, if you have submitted a 30-day prior notice request, you are eligible to receive it. If you encounter any unwanted or misleading behavior of our staff, I suggest you raise a complaint ticket from the help desk. We strive to make our services better for everyone and would not tolerate behavioral inadequacy,

 

I appreciate your patience, and please remain connected.

 

Best regards

Company Name

11. Order letter

An order letter is a document wherein business managers, or owners communicate to their manufacturers the specifics of what they will buy. Order letters contain information such as quantities, sizes, colors, product names and order numbers, and the anticipated price.

Order letters are often formatted as a form rather than an official business letter. This is because forms and spreadsheets make it easier to understand the bigger picture of what a person wants.

You should write an order letter when you’re ready to purchase wholesale goods for retail sales. Some business managers and owners will include payment for goods in the order letter, so it’s imperative you don't’ send in an order letter until you are ready and able to make the purchase.

12. Acknowledgment letters

Acknowledgment letters are like order confirmations. Businesses send them out to let a customer or relation know they have received prior phone calls, emails, letters, etc.

Acknowledgment letters do not guarantee anything. They also do not communicate that a business has taken steps to improve a situation. Rather, they tell a customer they have been heard.

Businesses should write a letter of acknowledgment when they feel it is necessary for an individual or organization to know they have received their correspondence. This is especially necessary if the original communication regarded something serious, such as an in-store injury.

A letter of acknowledgment does not imply that you have taken any action. Rather, it is the business equivalent of a read receipt – offering reassurance.

To the letter

A business letter explains the brevity of the situation and suggests ways to go about it without harm. Think of it as a replacement for professional coffee table conversations. You need to hold your pen carefully, lest you'll spill unprofessionalism.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea about business letters. Make it your official way of interaction so that the other party has very little to say in objection.

The stronger the company culture, the fewer negative business letters. Incorporate best company culture practices and be at the forefront of employee satisfaction. 

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document creation software
Have a print-eresting day!

Create, manage, and monitor work documents with ease and simplify content collaboration with document creation software.

What Is a Business Letter? How to Communicate Professionally Learn how to draft different types of compelling business letters with this comprehensive guide and get a superior edge in the competitive business market. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/G2CM_FI476_Learn_Article_Images-%5BThe_Best_Business_Letter%5D_V1a.png
Grace Pinegar Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers) https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/GracePUpdated.jpeg

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