Professional Business Letter Template
A business letter is a professional piece of correspondence. If you are writing a cover letter, letter of recommendation, or thank you note, you will need to follow the formal conventions of a business letter. Following these guidelines is important. It sets the tone that you're taking the correspondence seriously and ensures that the letter's recipient can focus on your message (and not formatting inconsistencies, typos, or any other small errors).
Before you write — or finalize — your next business letter, take some time to review how to format the letter, from font choice to style, along with which salutations and sign-offs are appropriate to use.
Different Formats for Business Letters
A note on formats for business letters. There are three basic styles of business letters:
- Block format: In this style, all text is left justified. Skip one line between each section.
- Modified block format: Most content is left justified in this style, just as in the block format letter. Here are the exceptions: for your contact information and complimentary close, tab over to the center of the page, and write information there.
- Semi-block format: Also sometimes referred to as indented block format, this style is the same as the modified block format, except that it has each paragraph indented.
Any of these styles is acceptable for use in a business letter, but since the rules for the block format are so clear-cut, this may be the easier option to select.
Many word processing programs will have templates available to help you format your letter appropriately. Whichever format you choose, make sure to single space the letter, and skip a space between every paragraph and section.
Appearances matter! A business letter is a professional piece of correspondence, but it won't be perceived that way if you opt for a wacky font or have lots of typos.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Choose an appropriate font and font size.
- Avoid casual language or slang.
- Prevent typos and grammatical errors by proofreading carefully.
- If you are printing out the letter, consider choosing high-quality paper. Whatever paper you choose, fold the letter carefully before placing it in the envelope. If you can, type the recipient's address on the envelope; if that's not possible, use your neatest handwriting.
The following business letter template lists the information you need to include in a business letter.
Business Letter Template
Contact Information: Include your contact information in the following order.
If you are using personalized letterhead that includes this information, leave off this section.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Date: In the United States, the format for writing the date is month, date, and year. For example, September 3, 2017. Do not abbreviate the month.
Contact Information: Include the contact information for the person you are writing to. If you do not have a specific name, leave that off.
City, State, Zip Code
Salutation: Start off the letter with a salutation, such as "Dear" followed by the title and name.
See more examples of appropriate greetings to use in a business letter, as well as advice on what to do if you do not have a specific contact person. Follow the person's name with a colon.
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Body of Business Letter
Keep your letter simple and focused, so the purpose of your letter is clear.
The first paragraph of your business letter should provide an introduction to why you are writing. Then, in the following paragraphs provide more information and details about your request. The final paragraph should reiterate the reason you are writing and thank the reader for reviewing your request.
Single space your letter and justify your letter to the left. Leave a blank line between each paragraph.
Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter)
If you're unsure what to write the body of a business letter, review these sample job search and employment letters for inspiration.
Consider Using a Template
Overwhelmed by all the steps involved in formatting business letter correspondence? A template can help. Microsoft letter templates are available as a free download for Microsoft Word users or are available within your Word program, to use to create a variety of business and employment letters.