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5.9: Letter

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    A Story:

    Paper means more than an email. It takes extra time to write up a letter and mail the sucker off. Businesses are aware of this.

    When my sister was in high school and trying to get her first job, she interviewed at a local grocery store. She interviewed horribly because it was her first time, so after telling this story at a family gathering, our uncle suggested that she send a Thank You letter. She did. She explained her nervousness, she thanked him for the experience, and… yes, she got a call back! They offered her a part-time gig!

    Letters vary in motivation and in their messages. Some letters are written without the need for a response, some are written with a simple message of “Hi,” and some letters are harsh like complaint letters to companies and are meant to be that way.

    The Difference Between Letters\(^{117}\)

    The main thing that differentiates a business letter from other letters is that a business letter is a legal document. The writer can be held liable for anything written in the letter. For example, if it is stated that a project will be completed by a certain date in a business letter, the project legally must be completed by that date. However, if the project can’t be completed by that date, another letter can be written stating that the project is behind schedule and why. For this reason, business letters must be written differently than letters used for personal use.

    A business letter is used primarily to request or provide information, to relate a deal, to bring or continue conversation, and/or to discuss prior negotiations. A business letter can be classified as private; however, it is typically not circulated to others, but rather meant for the eyes of the participants involved. Therefore, a business letter needs to be clear, focused, and to the point. When writing a business letter, the author should avoid interjecting personal stories.

    Formatting Your Letters

    • Use single spacing. There is no need to double space a business letter.
    • Use a simple format with font that is easy to read.
    • Leave a blank line between each paragraph. This makes it easier to follow the changes of topics within the letter.

    Tips on Writing Letters

    • Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible, and not the company in general so it does not get discarded.
    • Use company letterhead to make the document more professional if the document is related to company affairs.
    • Collect all the information you will need for your letter and jot down the basic order in which you plan to cover this information. Organize your material in the most persuasive order.

    Example: Complimentary Letter to a company

    Andrew Thomas

    **** *th Ave N

    Wahpeton, ND 58075

    February 09, 2021

    Timberland Boots & Clothing

    200 Domain Dr

    Stratham, NH 03885

    Dear Timberland,

    I've been a customer of yours for quite a few years. Mostly just your boots for work, but a few other thaings as well. I'm writing to give you my feedback about my expiriences with your products..

    I have not had an easy job since I was aproximately sixteen. Be it construction or factory work its always been very physical for me. I was also in the military so I like to think my feedback on boots holds a little weight. I have no complaints. In fact I only have words of praise for you. No matter how bad my job was your boots took the abuse and lasted for quite some time.

    In closing, you have an amazing product. You also have me as a lifetime customer.


    Andrew Thomas\(^{118}\)

    Example: Cover Letter

    Alisa Priebe\(^{119}\)

    555 70th Avenue West, #555
    Fargo, ND 58555

    January 30, 2013

    Human Resources
    c/o Flint Communications
    101 North 10th Street
    Suite 300
    Fargo, ND 58107

    Dear Mr. Person:

    I am writing to you to apply for the open position of Production Artist. I am an excellent candidate; I have strong communication skills, I’m a quick learner, and I have a fun, creative personality.

    I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from North Dakota State University. I chose this educational path because I am a strong communicator and I enjoy expressing myself. My writing abilities are exceptional; while my specialty is creative writing, I excel at technical writing as well. Not only did my education allow me to sharpen these skills, but my employment experience played a large part as well.

    For example, at Integreon, a company which provides document support services to law firms and other corporations, I spent nearly three years corresponding with clients (mostly attorneys and legal secretaries) via email and telephone. Through these exchanges, I would follow a particular process: receive request to format, edit, or proofread a legal document; delegate the request to the appropriate coworker; review said request; and, return the request by the requestor’s preferred timeline. I learned how to understand their needs and complete their requests accordingly.

    While polishing my communication abilities, I was fortunate to become skilled at many different types of software. The training team at Integreon did an amazing job with its employees. Most training courses were required while others were available to expand your computer skills and complete a wider range of project requests. At every job since my time at Integreon, I have had fellow employees approach me and tell me that my computer and software skills are impressive. It is a true testament to both their training and my ability to learn quickly.

    With many types of software, I have been able to create and design different documents. At Warner and Company Insurance, I created a recipe booklet of potluck favorites for the employees. At Integreon, I created the first team-specific newsletter which included images, quotes, short stories, and tips and tricks. At Vogel Law Firm, I acted as Co-Captain for the United Way drive and created certificates for prizes and “kudos” cards for employee appreciation.

    Example: Thank You Letter

    Dear Dr. Julie Jackson:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to sit down with you and Dr. Joseph Sanchez to discuss the Lab Assistantship at Harvard. I am grateful to be considered for the position. I think I will be an asset to your department, especially given my experience with dissecting frogs.

    I was nice to chat with you about how much you adore the TV show Big Brother, and I really appreciate the natural lighting that you have all added to the employee lounge; I’m sure it will encourage people to hang out a while longer, thus increasing morale.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


    Zelda Smith

    This page titled 5.9: Letter is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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