Developing Business Letters

New Professionals Students

Some of our readers are new professionals that have been working in their careers for about 1 to 5 years. Other readers are college students soon to begin their careers. One of the more important things to know, and know early in your career, is how to develop a business letter. You might ask, what the heck is a business letter? Or, I’m not in business, why do I need this? Well, my response is that it’s important to know how to write a professional letter regardless of your career or occupation. Teachers, chefs, accountants, entrepreneurs, you name it and in this day and age the more tools you have to make yourself more marketable, the better off you will be.

When To Write A Business Letter

  • When corresponding with someone outside of your organization or company

  • When a paper trail or record is needed (often times you don’t realize that emails are records that people will keep for those “just in case” reasons)

  • When formality is important

  • When organization and presentation are important (proposal to a supervisor)

Business Letters

All good business letters have some common characteristics. These are the type of letters that when you read them, they make you think, “wow, this is good.” Content, tone and form are the 3 common components that good business letters have.

  • Clear Content– Putting ideas into paragraphs is one of the most difficult things to do. Use short sentences and paragraphs to guide the reader through your ideas.

  • Goodwill Tone– Goodwill is a positive feeling that the reader gets about you or the organization.

  • Correct Form– The appearance and format of your letter will reflect your carefulness and experience. Make sure it’s clean and justified.

You want to make sure you keep these 3 things in mind before you begin the writing process.

  1. Determine your purpose

  2. Visualize the audience

  3. Anticipate the reaction to your message

Writing a good business letter takes practice. Many times people have to learn it by trial and error. It takes a lot longer to learn that way. Keep these steps in mind and you’ll be on your way to writing great business letters. Just make sure not to forget where you got this great info:)

Some of this information I read in Guffey.

Also, if you would like to view and download a sample business letter, Job Search Tech has a good one to use.


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22 thoughts on “Developing Business Letters

  1. Very good info – as usual! I also think it’s worth noting that correct tone is important – especially now with SMS and email.
    It’s a business letter, keep it professional!

    1. Yes, I completly agreee. Tone is very important in a business letter. You don’t want to come of authoritarian, at the same time you don’t want to be a push-over…there is a fine line to consider.

  2. Thanks for bringing this topic. I realized this rquirement all the times. Apart from above very wel-taken 3 points, one also needs to be on the target of the business matter. Half of the times many correspondences had shuttle back and forth several times before the matter gets clear.

  3. Great information on business letters. The art of business letters has seem to be forgotten by many.

    1. Yeah, it is a lost art, I guess I’ll have to post about “developing business IM’s” next!!!
      Need to keep up with the new tech age

  4. March 5, 2007
    RE: Your post on developing business letters
    Career Ramblings
    Attention: Jane
    Dear Jane,
    I enjoyed your post on developing business letters. I believe your readers will find it very engaging.
    I would like to suggest that the art of writing business letters is a great skill to have outside the business arena as well. There are times, during the conduct of ‘personal’ business, that writing an effective letter can be helpful in gaining the right attention to remedy a difficult situation.
    To conclude, I would also like to add that I’m not sure it’s the best format for blog commenting.
    Head Whatever at Zoomstart
    CC: Careerramblings commenters

    1. Shane,
      Thanks for the sample business letter…have we had some practice…hmmmmmm???

    1. Yeah, it adds a lot of weight to your letter if you have an important title like Head Whatever.

    1. hahaha…You heard it here folks, CR teaches with a hands on approach. All you need to do is submit your drafts to our comments and we’ll give you feedback…well, I’m sure someone here will
      (Comments wont nest below this level)

      1. Nice letter Shane. Although I did notice heavy usage of the word “I” in your letter, which may come off as a little self-centered in the business world.
        Just kidding.

  5. Head Whatever is still better than “Person in Charge of Something or Other”

  6. Michael I may contact you about some help with a resume. I have one done, but I think someone like yourself could make it look even better.

    1. More,
      If you need another set of eyes, don’t hesitate to send it over! I look at tons of resumes all the time. The most common thing I see is formatting issues. I can’t tell you how many people don’t format properly.

  7. Informative reading it is. Also, I would like add here is that one should not use capital letters/words inappropriately in business letters

  8. I am just now reading back on older posts and came upon this one. I needed this refreshed very much. Thank You!

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