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Business Letter Writing Etiquette

Business Letter Writing Etiquette

Although letter writing is an art, when it comes to writing a professional letter, you are supposed to follow the typical format. The language used should be formal, decent, and polite. This article would help you know the etiquette that is to be followed when writing such letters. Scroll down, and take a look at the sample business letter...
Workspirited Staff
You may or may not be running your own business, but you may have to write a letter to make an inquiry, to reply to an inquiry, or to fix an appointment. Those working in sales, purchase, or accounts department often need to send queries, or have to reply to a number of queries. Cover letters and reference letters are also often needed. Sometimes, you are expected to write a business proposal. In a professional letter, certain format has to be strictly followed. The tone should be clear, and the language used should be courteous. Usually, these letters are so written, that a "positive attitude" reflects through them.

Important Parts of the 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 that were used in previous decades. 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 for determining priorities too. It is very important in case of legal matters. It should be written immediately under your own address. It is better to write the date in the form "10 March 2009" as it is the clear and concise form. It 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 the letter in 5-6 words.
  • Opening: This part 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, and courteous tone and language. The reason behind writing would help decide the content. 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 also 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 the letter. If there are more than one documents, then you should present a proper list at the bottom.
Format

While writing a business letter, 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. Nowadays, a little bit variation in this format, regarding writing the address or date is seen. The "Times New Roman" font, with size 12, is the commonly used font, but there can be variations of font too.

Your name, your designation
Name of your organization
Address of your organization
Your telephone number
Date

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 by all the exit formalities.

Yours sincerely,

Your name and signature.

Business letters written on behalf of an organization reflect the image of the organization, and so they must sound apt. After reading the writing tips, and after going through the sample letter, writing a professional letter should no more be a problem for you.