Written communication is a crucial part of every business. No business can survive without it. Companies use different types of business letters to pass information in a memo to staff within the organization and to customers.
However, it is important to note that all business letters are different. They are unique and have their own format.
This article explores 15 different types of business letters and their uses. Furthermore, you will learn how to choose the best business letter for your unique needs. These business letters will aid communication within and outside your organization.
Types of business letters
There are different types of business letters, depending on their uses. The followings are the most common types and how to use them to improve your business.
1. Cover Letters
A cover letter is a business letter typically sent by a job applicant to the hiring company, along with a resume, when applying for a job in that organization. It is one of the most popular types of business letters.
Although, not all employers need applicants to submit a cover letter when applying for a job. However, it is a means to tell them about your skills, job experience, qualifications, and why you are interested in the job.
These are the sections that ought to be on a cover letter:
- Contact information: Include your name, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. This will make your contact information visible to the hiring company, making it easy to contact you.
- Salutation: Address the letter to the person identified in the job listing, such as the hiring manager, department head, or another company representative, with a gender-neutral greeting. For instance, in “Dear Charlie Benson.” In most cases, you might be unsure about their names. Instead of messing up the first opportunity with the company, you can use the most relevant job title, such as “Dear HR Manager“. However, avoid using words like “To Whom It May Concern” as it may come across as impersonal.
- Purpose of the letter: The purpose of the letter is important. Tell the employer the name of the company, the role you are applying for, and how you got the job listing.
- Qualifying skills: The letter highlights the skills that make you a strong candidate for the open position. Include the qualifying skills in the resume to provide more specific details of the candidate’s professional experience.
- Conclusion: Conclude your cover letter with an eye-catching statement about why you are a good fit for the open position and a call to action to follow up on the application.
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2. Letters of recommendation
A recommendation letter is written on another professional’s behalf to attest to their educational and professional qualifications and work ethic. Furthermore, a letter of recommendation can help when applying for a job, graduate school, or other professional opportunities.
The sections below should be included in a recommendation letter:
- Relationship of the recommendation: The letter should state the writer’s relationship with the applicant. Letters of recommendation are written by co-workers, managers, etc.
- Assessment of the applicant’s qualifications: The recommendation is the body of the letter, highlighting the candidate’s skills, character traits, professional goals, and potential. Qualifications should be relevant to the job for which the writer is recommending.
- Examples: In this section, the writer should highlight how the candidate demonstrated their problem-solving skills during their time together with examples. Prospective employers can gain insight into how a recommended candidate positively impacts their employers.
- Closing statement: This is the last section of the letter. It should include final confirmation of qualifications and the writer’s contact information.
3. Interview follow-up letters
After attending a job interview, employers often don’t get back to the candidate. In this case, you can send a follow-up letter to the employer weeks after the job interview to demonstrate an interest in the vacant role.
An interview follow-up letter should contain the following sections:
- Overview of the interview: Add important conversation points from the interview, like particular job duties or an interest in the conversation. Furthermore, ensure to include the position’s title. It shows active listening, which demonstrates interest in the vacancy.
- Skills relevant to the job: The follow-up letter should emphasize your important skills needed for the vacant position. Explain how you used your skills to solve problems in your previous job.
- Gratitude: In this section, you can thank the hiring manager for their time. It shows professional courtesy, which is essential for successful job interviews.
4. Offer letters
An offer letter is an offer of employment written by the hiring company to the applicant, outlining the specific terms and conditions of the job.
The contents of offer letter include:
- Job description: The job description outlines the specific requirements and tasks of the role.
- Job title: Specifying the job title gives you an insight of your roles in the organization.
- Resumption date: The start date is the day that you will start working. If you need to change the date, you can talk to your employer about it.
- Salary and benefits: The section includes the salary, benefits, and bonuses associated with the job. Often, employers may state when they will distribute bonuses and benefits.
- Acceptance timeline: This is the deadline for responding to an offer letter.
5. Sales letters
Companies use sales letters to introduce a product or service to new and old customers. Furthermore, sales professionals use sales letters to make new contacts and strengthen relationships.
The content sales letter include:
- Description of product: Add important information about the product or service. Identify a solution from using the product to demonstrate value.
- Cost: Disclose the price of a product or service, especially if the buyer is a new customer.
- Call to action: Give directions to readers to take action if they want to buy. Sales letters should include contact information, the best times to reach you, and a date for a reply.
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6. Letters of commendation
A Letter of commendation is a form of employee appreciation. Also known as commendation letters, they are sent to employees to commend them for doing their job well. Most letters of commendation come with remuneration.
A letter of commendation includes the following:
- Purpose: Letter of commendation should identify who is being commended and why.
- Details: State the tasks completed or accomplishments for which the staff is being recognized.
7. Letters of resignation
People will not work for a company forever. They will want to leave at some point, depending on their reason. A resignation letter tells your employer about your plans to resign from the company.
While some people choose to verbally inform their coworkers and boss about their intention to resign, organizations prefer an official letter to notify employees of plans to leave for documentation purposes.
A letter of resignation should contain the following information:
- Statement of resignation: Start with your official declaration of leaving the company.
- Reason for your resignation: Employers should be aware of why you are leaving to understand your decision. Some reasons people leave an organization include relocation, seeking further education, or accepting a higher offer from another company.
- Effective date of resignation: Add the letter delivery date and the date of the last official day of working with the company. It can help your employer to prepare for your departure and, therefore, fill your position.
- Thank you: Show appreciation for the opportunity and skills gained throughout the period you worked for the company. This professional courtesy will strengthen your professional relationship with the company, and they will be available to give you a recommendation letter if you need it.
8. Thank you letters
Once in a while, we appreciate people who have done great things for our businesses. Therefore, a thank you letter is a way to show appreciation to colleagues, vendors, employers, and other business partners. A thank you business letter can build rapport and communicate future intentions.
Send a thank you letter when someone helps you, makes a purchase, or awards you a contract. Furthermore, you can send a thank you letter to express appreciation for someone.
Typically, a business thank you letter should contain the following:
- Greetings: Begin your letter with a professional greeting and consider your relationship with the recipient. Keep everything professional. Don’t greet like you are writing to your family and friends.
- Reason for appreciation: Express gratitude in brief paragraphs. Be specific about your reasons for thanking them.
- Clearly State Details from your previous conversation: Sharing details from an encounter helps personalize a letter and shows the extent of gratitude.
- A polite closing: Closing statements should be polite and professional. Conclude with “thanks again,” etc.
9. Complaint letters
The goal of every business is to make sales. However, some customers may be unsatisfied with your services. Complaint letters are sent by consumers to companies whenever they are unsatisfied with a service rendered or a product bought.
On the other hand, businesses can also write complaint letters to suppliers. For instance, an employee of a company may write a complaint letter on their behalf when they are unsatisfied with a product or service.
Some important content of a complaint letter are:
- A formal greeting: You can use “To Whom It May Concern” when writing to a company due to a lack of clarity about who would read and respond to the complaint.
- Details of the purchase: Add crucial details of the purchase, such as order number, date of transaction, cost of product or service, etc.
- Description of the issue: In this section, you should clearly describe the issue encountered when using the service or product. Some problems could include the product not working well, poor services, a wrong bill, or something misrepresented.
- Resolution needed: You can Propose a possible solution to the problem, such as a repair, exchange, refund, or discount.
10. Apology letters
An apology letter is a business letter used in the workplace to express regret and ask for forgiveness. Apology letters are a formal record of acknowledging a mistake or failure and trying to remedy it.
A professional apology letter should contain the following:
- An admission of the mistake: Start by explaining your wrongdoings. The idea is to acknowledge and accept the consequences of mistakes. Owning up to your mistakes will ensure the recipient hears it from you rather than a third party. It will also help resolve the issue quickly.
- Sincere apology: An apology should be sincere and without blaming anyone else. Expressing regret can help earn forgiveness.
- Share your plan to address the issue: Do everything you can to fix the issue and share specific steps. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices to appease the recipient.
11. Office memorandum
An office memorandum, or business memo, is a formal letter for communicating information between businesses and employees. A memo is concise, and easy to read and understand. It is for internal use, such as announcements of personnel changes or company meetings.
Office memorandum should include the following details:
- A straightforward subject: Communicate the title of a memo in the subject line if you are sending it through email. Furthermore, if you want to share the memo with employees via paper, include a subject at the beginning of the letter.
- The purpose of the memo: Include a purpose in the introductory paragraph and keep the language positive.
- The details: Outline the purpose of the memo in the body paragraph and conclusion. Furthermore, add information about how employees should respond to this memo. You can redirect them to a particular person if there are any follow-up questions.
12. Welcome letters
A welcome letter introduces an employee or company and gives basic information about the company. This letter provides employees with details to help prepare them for their first day of work. However, a new customer welcome letter thanks the customer for their patronage and provides an overview of the company.
A welcome letter uses a welcoming tone to foster a strong working relationship between the company and employees or customers.
Typically, a welcome letter will include the following:
- A warm greeting: The opening lines of a welcome letter may change depending on what you want to achieve with it. For instance, if you are creating a welcome letter for a new employee, it is important to show enthusiasm about joining the team. Start by thanking them for their patronage.
- Personalized information: It is crucial to personalize your letter. You can do this by making mention of previous conversations. When writing a welcome letter for a new employee, tell them why you’re excited and looking forward to having them on your team. If you are writing to a new customer, reassure them that the goods or services they bought are worth the price they paid for.
- Important information about your business: Ensure that the recipient has every details of the new partnership from the beginning. For instance, give them an overview of what they should expect on their first day at work. You can create a list of documents required for their first day and state company dress codes.
13. Request letters
A Request letter is used to ask for something in an organization. Employees can use a request letter to ask for a raise, training, recommendation, or a meeting to request a promotion.
A request letter should include the following information:
- Details of the request: Start with clear details of your request. The tone of the request letter must be polite and convincing so that your employer will see reasons to grant the request.
- Supporting documentation: It is crucial to support your request with evidence and other documents concerning your request. For instance, if you want a request letter, you should include a resume to refresh their memory. Furthermore, if you request a pay raise from your employers, you should dedicate a paragraph to explain how valuable you are to the role. Attach a document with evidence of job skills and experience to demonstrate success.
- A deadline for response: It is crucial to provide a timeline for request letters. For instance, a recommendation letter request must be submitted by a specific date. Tell them to inform you if they can’t provide the letter on the requested date to enable you to send the request to someone else.
14. Announcement letters
A business announcement letter is sent to announce a policy change, employee or management change, merger, takeover, product release, or event in an organization. This letter is short and written formally.
Letters of announcement ought to contain the following:
- An introduction with the announcement: Present the news in the first or second paragraph. It should be straightforward.
- Extra details: This section explains your announcement in detail. For example, if your announcement is towards hosting an event, share the purpose of the event in this section.
- The details: Your announcement must contain specific information that is relevant to it. These could be the opening and closing times of the store or ways to get in touch, including an address, phone number, or website. However, If you are telling your employees about something internal, like a merger, you should appoint someone who will answer questions that may arise.
15. Termination letters
A termination letter, also called a letter of separation, is a respectful and effective way to sack an employee from their current job. Termination letters are issued to employees when a company is no longer interested in their services.
The components of a termination letter include:
- Date of Termination Notice: You should inform the employee of termination and specify the date it will be effective to avoid confusion and prepare for life after the job.
- Grounds for termination: The reason for termination should be accurate and stated clearly to avoid misinterpretation. If possible, provide evidence to support the reason for dismissal.
- Future compensation and benefits: The employer should explain any benefits or compensation the employee will receive when their employment end. This may cover severance money, reimbursement for unused leave time, and other unpaid wages. Inform them of what will happen to their retirement, life insurance, and health care.
- Next steps: Lastly, make a list of the actions the employee should take. Ask them to return any company’s property in their possession, such as keys, laptops, cell phones, ID cards, etc.
7 Components Of A Business Letter
Although the different types of business letters kinds have specific formatting guidelines and contain a range of information, most business letters have a few elements in common, such as:
1. Contact information
The contact information is an important component of a business letter. Contact information should include name, business address, phone number, and email address.
2. Subject line
You can use a subject line if you are sending a business letter through email. Frequently, the purpose of your letter appears in this section.
The formality of greeting depends on the business relationship. Your greeting should be formal when applying for a new job. You can use a first name when sending a follow-up to a customer you have a relationship with.
The introduction explains its purpose and what you want to accomplish with it. It is an opportunity to attract the reader’s attention.
5. Detailed information
Here, you should include the full details of the letter, such as asking or responding to inquiries, etc.
The conclusion of the letter should have a call to action. It can include means of contact for additional information or how to order a product from you.
Signatures are simple but can be complex sometimes. It can be as simple as writing your name. Signing a business letter depends on your personal or professional relationship with the recipient.
Understanding the types of business letters is essential for effective communication. Each letter has its purpose and tone. Whether the letter is professional, inquires, complains, or serves as a sales pitch, knowing how to write each letter can help you convey your point clearly and professionally.
If you want to improve your business writing skills, it’s easy. All you have to do is study different types of business letters and practice how to write them to improve your writing skills. Study the purpose, format, and appropriate tone for each letter.
Therefore, mastering these skills will help you communicate effectively and achieve business success. Keep in mind that successful communication is essential in the corporate environment. Invest in business writing skills to become an effective communicator. Or you can hire a business letter writer today.