Depending on the circumstances, your apology letter should include about one page of text. If you say too much, the most important details may be lost; conversely, if you write too little, your apology may not seem sincere. Think before you write and choose your words carefully.
Get to the point: Don’t ramble your way into the primary message of your letter. Make sure your most important statement (“I want to apologize for …”) occurs within the first or second sentence.
No cop-outs: Apologizing can hurt our pride, and at some point we’ve all felt obligated to make amends for something we don’t actually regret. It’s also tough to apologize for something so embarrassing (or painful) that we aren’t ready to admit that we’ve done it. But don’t weasel-word your way out of taking responsibility. Watch out for passive voice (“The vase was smashed” instead of “I smashed the vase”) and subtle blame shifting (“My team behaved irresponsibly” instead of “My management led my team to behave irresponsibly”). These are grade-A message killers; in the end, they tend to make things worse, not better.
Don’t wander off course: Stick to the point. Don’t mix issues or start talking about other topics that shift the focus away from you, what you’ve done, and how you plan to make it right.
Be respectful: There’s a time and a place for casual language, text-speak (“I hope U R not upset”) and silly jokes. As you can see from these heartfelt apology letter samples, this is not that time.
Take action if possible: Some mistakes can’t be corrected easily (or at all). For example, if you put someone your recipient loves in danger, you can’t simply make this right with a few easy gestures. But if you broke something that can be fixed or ruined something that can be recovered, share exactly how you plan to do this and explain what you’ve already done to remedy the situation.