Business Letter Layout (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 11, 2020

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Knowing how to write a professional business letter is crucial for communicating with your boss, colleagues, clients, distributors, and potential employers.

The term “business letter” encompasses several more specific letters, including cover letters and reference letters. Both of these usually play a substantial role in the application process. However, a business letter can also simply be a message to a boss or another professional figure.

Regardless of the type of letter, the basic formatting will remain the same. Therefore, it’s crucial that you know the best way to format your business letters.

Formatting Basics: Fonts and Spacing

As with any professional document, your business letter should pull from a group of acceptable font types, which are sized and spaced appropriately.

If you’re not sure what font types are acceptable, here is a list of ten potential fonts you can use:

  • Arial

  • Calibri

  • Corbel

  • Garamond

  • Georgia

  • Gill Sans

  • Helvetica

  • Open Sans

  • Roboto

  • Times New Roman

When in doubt, pay attention to the simplicity of the style. If a font seems simple and easy to read, it is probably acceptable. Simple fonts are preferred in part because heavily stylized fonts might be difficult for someone to read. Ideally, the reader should be able to skim the most important information from your letter quickly and efficiently.

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

After selecting a font, you should choose your font size based on the same logic as the font type. Therefore, choose the smallest size that is still easily readable—typically between 10 and 12. The font type you chose may alter the size slightly, but be sure to avoid oversizing your font, as your letter may appear more unprofessional.

Finally, the spacing of your business letter also plays an essential role in making it appear readable and professional. Typically, your letter should include a line of blank space between each paragraph, and it’s recommended that you write at least three to four paragraphs.

Remember that you should single-space your letter’s body paragraphs and align the entire letter on the left side of the page, which will maintain a nice flow for your reader.

How to Address your Letter

If you’re new to writing business letters, the headings at the top can seem a little excessive or confusing.

But don’t worry!

You will address every business letter you write similarly, so if you have a general idea of what you write, the formatting will seem much more straightforward.

First and foremost, you should write your name and address at the top of the letter, either on the left side or center of the page. If you have a relevant job title, you can include that as well.

Next, you’ll skip a line and include your recipient’s name and address.

Ideally, you should know the name of the person you’re writing to. However, it is very common not to. If you don’t know their name, simply address the letter “To Whom it May Concern.”

However, If you do know their name, make sure to use an appropriate title. You shouldn’t assume women are married, so it’s good to favor Ms. over Mrs. Also, if you know they have a doctorate or Ph.D., you should use the title Dr.

Here are a few examples of how to properly address your letter:

  1. Robert Sperling
    Supervisor
    Rune Museum
    888 Lyne St.
    Hillsburg, KY, 01230

    September 8th, 2020

    Sarah Parker
    Curator
    History Museum
    742 Dru Rd.
    Hillsburg, KY, 01230

    Dear Ms. Parker,

  2. Jerry Fitz
    93 Herring Rd.
    Roland, CA, 59421

    September 16th, 2020

    Best Restaurant
    58 Clarendon Rd.
    Roland, CA, 59421

    To Whom it May Concern,

Perfect! Now that you know how to address your letter, you’re one step closer to getting your message across properly.

Business Letter Etiquette and Tone

Being professional by nature, a business letter should maintain a polished tone. After all, you don’t want to throw slang at a hiring manager or your boss.

As you start your letter, your first paragraph should serve as an appropriate introduction. State why you’re writing the message, and use polite but direct language.

Words you should avoid include: kinda, yeah, totally, literally, etc. Ideally, you should cut anything that seems too informal from your letter.

Finally, you should select a brief, appropriate closing to end your letter. Some good options include: “Sincerely” or “Respectfully” followed by your first and last name.

Business Letter Examples

Now that you know how to write a business letter, here are five sample letters you can use to aid in your writing:

  1. Sarah Silvers
    8 Park St.
    Dudley, TN, 01230

    September 8th, 2020

    Matt Williams
    Human Resources
    City Hall
    23 Main St.
    Dudley, TN, 01230

    Dear Mr. Williams,

    I’m pleased to recommend Heather Ingrid for the City Hall Government position. I have known Heather for over a decade now and know that she is a passionate, caring person who’s organized several community events throughout her life. With that in mind, I know she is highly qualified for a position at Town Hall.

    In high school, Heather was a member of our student council and played a pivotal part in raising money for our school’s extracurricular programs. Due to her efforts, we not only maintained the programs we were afraid of losing but also added a new art program that year. Additionally, she’s participated in several hours of community service and taken part in local grassroots campaigns. Overall, she is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.

    Without hesitation, I am happy to recommend Heather for this position, as I know she would be an incredible asset to our local government. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ssilvers@mail.com or (333) 333-3333.

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Silvers

  2. Nathan Burns
    632 Park Ave.
    Villtown, VT, 01301

    September 2nd, 2020

    Villtown Auto Sales
    553 Central Ave.
    Villtown, VT, 01301

    Dear Hiring Manager,

    I am interested in applying for the Automotive Sales Representative position at Villtown Auto Sales. As a recent graduate with a degree in Sales and experience in customer service, I believe I’d be a perfect fit for this position.

    I have over four years of customer service experience, including the work I did at Helpers Retail while taking college courses. I have also participated in two summer internship programs related to sales, where I gained knowledge of accounting, customer patterns, and had in-person experience with sales pitching. I also have experience working with cars, as my father was an auto mechanic, and I worked with him for many years before I went to college.

    Given this experience, I believe I possess the skills necessary to succeed in your company. I even bought my first car at Villtown Auto Sales and loved the representative I worked with at the time. Therefore, my experience is highlighted by knowledge of your company and taking into account that I have all of the requirements for this position, I am ready and willing to start working immediately.

    I hope you will consider my application, and I look forward to hearing back from you. You can reach me at 444-222-1111 or nburns@mail.com.

    Sincerely,

    Nathan Burns

  3. Jerry Fitz
    General Manager
    Good Eats
    93 Herring Rd.
    Roland, CA, 01230

    September 8th, 2020

    Best Restaurant
    58 Clarendon Rd.
    Roland, CA, 01230

    To Whom it May Concern,

    I’m writing to recommend James O’Leary for the Line Cook position at Best Restaurant. As James’ previous supervisor, I worked with him for nearly five years. I know he is highly qualified for a job in your kitchen through my experience working with him.

    At Good Eats, James excelled at his work. He always had orders ready at a fast pace, without sacrificing the quality of the food. He communicated very well with the rest of our team and made sure that our other chefs and line cooks were all on the same page. On top of that, he’s a hardworking young man who has a passion for cooking.

    Without hesitation, I am happy to recommend James for this position, as I know he would be an amazing asset to your team. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jfitz@mail.com or (222) 222-2222.

    Sincerely,

    Jerry Fitz

  4. James Tudor
    767 Semloh Rd.
    Dewfield, MA, 01230

    August 17th, 2020

    Ron Johnson
    General Manager
    Pet Inc.
    401 Main St.
    Dewfield, MA, 01240

    Dear Mr. Ron Johnson,

    As a detail-oriented, experienced dog enthusiast, I was excited to see an opening for the Dog Groomer position at your company. Considering my deep passion for dogs and dog care, I believe that, if given the opportunity, I would be a valuable asset to your team.

    I have over five years of dog grooming experience, including the work I did at Love Dogs Co. for the past three years. During my time in this position, I learned how to professionally neaten a dog’s coat and specialized cuts such as the lamb cut, lion cut, and teddy bear cut. I am also knowledgeable in calming methods, such as keeping dogs under control while being washed or having their nails clipped. All of this experience is highlighted by my overwhelming passion for our canine friends.

    Given this experience, I believe I possess the skills necessary to succeed in your company. I even received my dog trainer’s certificate from Dog College. Therefore, considering that I have all of the requirements for this position, I am ready and willing to start working immediately.

    I hope you will consider my application, and I look forward to hearing back from you. You can reach me at 222-111-3333 or jtudor@mail.com.

    Sincerely,

    James Tudor

  5. Robert Sperling
    Supervisor
    Rune Museum
    888 Lyne St.
    Hillsburg, KY, 01230

    September 8th, 2020

    Sarah Parker
    Curator
    History Museum
    742 Dru Rd.
    Hillsburg, KY, 01230

    Dear Ms. Parker,

    I’m writing to invite you or another representative from your organization to speak at the annual Museum Conference, which will be held at Rune Museum, October 27th.

    The theme of our upcoming conference is “skills students should hone when looking for jobs in the anthropology field.” Considering your position at the History Museum, I believe you’d have ample knowledge to offer to our students.

    As part of the speaker’s package, we offer a modest honorarium and a table for ten at the Friday night dinner.

    If you have any questions or wish to know more about the speaking opportunity, please feel free to contact me at rsperling@mail.com or (444) 444-4444. I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Sperling

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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