A business letter is a professional letter meant for business purposes, whether that is writing a company, or applying to a job. It is different than other types of letters because it cuts out all creativity. Business letters are to the point, factual, and specific. Most times business letters are short, because it is assumed that the person reading the letter doesn’t have a lot of time to read it. This emphasizes the importance of getting to the point quickly, after all the person reading wants to know the bottom line. The format of the business letter gives it added professionalism. There are three different types of formats for a business letter than can be used. Which format is used, depends upon the personal preference of the sender. All three business letter formats have the same parts, or components all throughout the letter.

There are seven to eight components to a business letter. All three of the business letters contain all components. The first part of a business letter is the sender’s address. The sender’s address is the person who is sending the letter. Start with the street address, go down a line and type in the city, state, and zip code of the sender. The next part of a business letter is the date. The date is the date at which the letter was written, or finished. It should be formatted as the standard format of the American date, where each part is written out. The recipients address follows the date. This includes the name of the person whom the letter should be addressed to. The rest of the recipients address will follow the same guidelines as the sender’s address.

Once the beginning format is finished, it’s time to start the article. The first thing to do when starting the letter is to add a salutation. After the salutations comes the body of the business letter. The beginning of the body should be friendly but should still sound professional. The beginning should also contain the main focal point of the letter. This is done to get right to the point, the main reason why the letter is written in the first place. That way the person doesn’t read through the letter and still wonder why the sender wrote it in the first place. The rest of the body should back up the main focus, and should be concise. It’s important to not add a creative flair to the letter. If it gets off the main focus point, the reader will often stop reading. The rest of the body should back up and provide proof for the main focal point. If the sender is applying for a job, then proof should be provided of why the sender should be considered.

The last few parts of a business letter include the closing, signature, and if someone is typing the letter then the initials should be placed under the signature area. The closing can be as professional as needed, or can give a nice thank you to the sender. The signature area should be signed by the sender in pen, to make it professional and proves accuracy of the letter.

Block Format

The block format is the most commonly used format of all the business letters. The format of the letter includes all indentations starting on the far left hand side of the paper. The only double spacing in the article is between each paragraph. Otherwise, all line spacing is single spaced.

How to Write a Business Letter

Semi-Block Format

The semi-block formatted business letter is the most uncommonly used business letter today. The format of the semi-block is identical to the modified block format except for one exception. Each line is indented, instead of the left justified lines in the modified format.

Writing the Basic Business Letter

Modified Block Format

The modified block format is another common format that is used for business letters. It is the second most commonly used format out of the three. Line spacing in between paragraphs is double spaced, except four lines between personal contact information and the business contact information. Four lines are also placed between the salutations and the signature line. With the modified block format the personal contact information is formatted centered on the right hand side of the paper, while the rest of the information and letter is placed on the left hand side of the paper. The closing and the signature are formatted on the right hand side of the paper, too.

Sample Business Letter – PDF

Business Guide: Business Letters