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How to Write a Professional Letter
When writing a professional letter, it’s important to focus on capturing the appropriate tone, using the right language, and including all the appropriate elements. Here are a few handy tips to help you write an effective professional letter, but keep in mind that each individual letter type has its own requirements.
Be sure to take a look at our free professional letter samples to get the necessary pointers for the specific letter you need to craft.
1. Stay Focused: Keep your professional letter on track by stating only the necessary details to carry out the letter’s purpose. The less you give your reader to process, the easier it will be for them to lock in on the most important information.
2. Be Brief: In business – time is money, so be sure to make good use of your reader’s time by keeping your letter as brief as possible. If you can say what you need to say in one page or even two paragraphs, do so, as seen in our professional letter samples.
3. Keep it Professional: Avoiding slang and keeping your language professional will help ensure that your letter is taken seriously. Even if your work relationships extend beyond the office, keep all official office correspondence in this tone.
4. Be Meticulous: Your professional letter will make a far better impression if it’s well written and free of any spelling and grammar mistakes. Always take the time to carefully proofread your letter. Asking someone else to read it can be really helpful.
How to Format a Professional Letter
Your professional letter should always be written in the style of a traditional business letter, as demonstrated in our professional letter samples. Always be sure to use the recipient’s name in the greeting, and then catch their attention in the opening paragraph by clearly and concisely conveying your key message.
In the following sections, lead the reader clearly through any necessary information you need to share, using bullet points if necessary. In closing, thank the reader for their time and set up any necessary action steps, being sure to include your contact information so they can properly follow up with you.
Common Professional Letter Mistakes
• Lacking Confidence: No matter the subject of your letter (i.e. requesting time off, responding to a promotion, writing a letter of reference, etc.) if the language is weak and convoluted, it’s much easier for the reader to disregard it. Find a way to be bold without being presumptuous or cocky.
• Exaggerating the Language: Using excessive, over-flowery, or emotional wording in your professional letter can make it come of as insincere. No matter the situation, it’s always a good idea to sincerely stick to the facts.
• Rushing the Writing: Crafting a good, well-thought-out professional letter takes time. If you rush, your letter may be sloppy, confusing, and ultimately ineffective. Take your time and get the results you need.
You’ve Written Your Professional Letter. Now What?
You’ve done the hard part, now it’s time to make sure your hard work gets into the right hands in the right way.
Do Your Research: It is important to make sure that the professional letter you’ve written is speedily delivered to the correct recipient. Remember: personnel and addresses can change at a company at any time, so be sure to double check you’ve got the right one before sending your letter off.
Stay In Touch: Depending on the type of professional letter you’ve sent, it’s usually a good idea to follow up with the proper channels within a week or so about the necessarily next steps after it’s been received.