Formal letters are written messages to a person or group within a professional setting. Formal letters are used when you would like to be formal and professional. Letters may vary in length depending on the objective, purpose, and message of the letter.
A formal letter can address anyone including, but not limited to: clients and customers, managers, agencies, suppliers, and other business personnel or organizations. It is important to remember that any formal letter is a legal document between the interested parties. These documents can be held for up to seven years, so it is important that all information is honest and legitimate.
When writing a formal letter to a company, everything must be stated clearly, focused, and to the point. You should avoid interjecting personal stories. You can be held liable for anything written in the letter. For example, if it is stated that a project will be completed by a certain date in a formal letter, the project legally must be completed by that date.
However, if the project can’t be completed by that date, another formal letter can be written stating that the project is behind schedule and why. For this reason, formal letters must be written differently than letters used for personal use. A formal letter is used primarily to request or provide information, to relate a deal, to bring or continue the conversation, and/or to discuss prior negotiations.
Formatting Your Formal Letters A Company
- Use single spacing. There is no need to double space a formal letter.
- Use a simple format with a font that is easy to read.
- Leave a blank line between each paragraph. This makes it easier to follow the changes of topics within the letter.
- This paragraph should introduce why you are writing the formal letter a company and sum up the key points in the following paragraphs.
- Include a statement that shows you are knowledgeable of the audience to which your letter is directed.
- Provide background or history regarding the purpose of the formal letter.
- Talk about key points you are making.
- Include a justification of the importance of the main points.
- List any important dates, discussions, and conversations that are relevant.
- Ask questions, if necessary.
- A formal letter needs to be concise and clear. Being too wordy is the biggest downfall in this form of writing.
- Keep sentences short and precise.
- Organize the letter from most important subjects to least.
- The content of the formal letter to a company should be persuasive and usable.
- The tone of the letter should be formal and professional.
- Summarize the main points of the formal letter.
- Restate the problem and resolution if pertinent.
- Include deadlines.
- Provide contact information (Email, Phone Number, Fax, Etc…).
How To Close A Formal Letter To A Company
Always close a letter. ‘Sincerely’ would be the safest way to close out a formal letter. On a typed Formal letter, following the closing, you should leave space to sign your name with a pen. This will allow for a more personal touch on an otherwise bland letter.
This is the only handwriting on the paper so make sure the signature is clear. Below this personal signature should be your typed first and last name to allow for easy reading. After this, you can include anything else that the recipient may need to know.
This could include anything from the job title, identification, a notation that there are copies attached at the bottom of the document, or other contact information, such as e-mail address or business phone number. A few other general ending salutations deemed professional include:
● Kind regards,
Tips on Writing Formal Letters
- Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible, and not the company so it does not get discarded.
- Use company letterhead to make the document more professional, if the document is related to company affairs.
- Collect all the information you will need for your letter and jot down the basic order in which you plan to cover this information. Organize your material in the most persuasive order.
Example of a formal THANK YOU LETTER to a company
Dear Dr Elvis Stone:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to sit down with you and Dr Bob to discuss the Lab Assistantship at Harvard. I am grateful to be considered for the position. I think I will be an asset to your department, especially given my experience with dissecting frogs.
It was nice to chat with you about how much you adore the TV show Big Brother, and I really appreciate the natural lighting that you have all added to the employee lounge; I’m sure it will encourage people to hang out a while longer, thus increasing morale. I look forward to hearing from you.