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How to Write Formal Business Letter or Email

How to start a formal email letter

Besides knowing how to type a formal letter, it is also relevant to know how to start it.

Most employers or customers read only the beginning of a letter, and it has to be convincing so that they are interested in reading on.

The beginning of the letter should be a brief introduction, so they know who is addressing them. Be brief and point out why you are contacting the person in question. You can do all this in a few sentences.

This short yet straight to the point beginning is the essence of writing formal business letters.

Formal Letter Salutation

When addressing someone in a formal letter, you need to use a proper salutation. Use the person's title, such as Mr, Mrs, Ms and so on. This has to be followed by a last name, and a comma. If you want to be more polite, precede all this with Dear such as Dear Mr Smith, and then start the letter. Make sure you use the last name and not the first name.

I can happen that you don't know the name of the person you are writing to. If you are really sure that you cannot find out the name somehow, the proper way of addressing is Dear Sir/ Dear Madam. If you don't know the gender of the person either, use Dear Sir or Madam.

Formal Email Layout

The layout of the email has to consist of several paragraphs. You will need to begin with the address, the name of the person and the company, all in the upper left corner. After addressing the person you are writing to, the body of the letter can start, which should be two or three paragraphs long.

In the first paragraph introduce yourself and let them know the purpose of your letter. Remember that most people only read these lines, and if you are two long or you are not getting to the point, they might not read on.

In the second paragraph you can elaborate on your purpose. If you have a request, explain it here. This paragraph should be at most 5 sentences long.

The last paragraph should be the conclusion. You can close it with a sentence such as Thank you for your consideration or I am looking forward to your response.
Sign the letter in the bottom left corner.

Closing - Ways of Ending Formal Email

The ending of an email is just as important as the beginning. The best and most common way of correct closing is Yours sincerely or simply Sincerely. You can also use Respectfully, Yours faithfully, Best and Yours cordially. This should be in the bottom left corner and it should be followed by your full name.

Formal Letter Style

Be sure to avoid informal writing in business letters! To begin with, respect the salutation when writing formal business letters. Avoid abbreviations such as ASAP and so on. Do not use any emoticons, since this is also not professional. When you close the letter, use the proper ending, and avoid other terms. At all times be polite but not too friendly when you are writing, keep the professional relationship between you and the addressed. Find out the correct title such as Doctor, Dean etc. when writing the letter. 

Addressing Formal Letter

When you write the address, you need to pay attention to two things: the position of the address on the layout and the order of the information in the address. The address of the recipient has to be on the left upper corner of the letter, while your address on the upper right corner. The address should be written as follows: full name and title, position, street address with number, zip code, state and country.

How to Write Formal Business Letter

Informal vs Formal Letters

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Formal Request Letter Sample

Formal Letter of Resignation Template

Formal Thank You Letter Sample

Formal British Letter Template

Formal Letter of Apology Sample