How to write a business letter

Many instances in life may occur where it is necessary to write a business letter. Whether contacting a business in writing to lodge a formal complaint, make a professional inquiry, or even offer a suggestion, business letters take on a different format than a friendly letter.

A business letter has five basic parts; heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature. The heading serves the purpose of formally addressing the letter and is placed at the top. The heading should include the businessís name, complete address, and the date. When formatting the heading of a business letter, the date can come before or after the business name and address, but there should be a double space between the date line and the name and address lines.

The greeting of a business letter can be personal, such as Dear Mr. Jones, if you know the name of a specific contact. Otherwise, use a more formal greeting such as Dear Sir or Madam. The body of the letter follows the greeting and it is here that you should state your purpose for correspondence. Be as brief and to the point as possible in the body and do not go beyond one full page. It is widely recommended that you use a blocked format with no indentation and only double space between paragraphs. However, it is acceptable to use indented format.

The closing is the last line of the letter and should be a properly chosen word such as sincerely or regards and is directly followed by a comma. Follow this with four hard returns and then include your name, job title if applicable, and contact information if necessary or desired. This is the signature part of the letter, but you should also physically sign the letter in the space provided by the four returns if it is being mailed by post rather than sent electronically.