Letter Of Transmittal: What It Is And Examples

By Amanda Covaleski - Jul. 19, 2021
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Important documents pass between people in professional settings all of the time. Sometimes these documents require the recipient to take some kind of action, like signing them. In these cases, including a letter of transmittal is a great way to ensure that your recipient knows what needs to be done.

Other times, there’s no necessary action, but the documents that you’re handing off can be confusing. If you feel like you need to explain the documents you’re sending or their purpose, you can also include a letter of transmittal.

In this guide, we’re going to go over all of the essentials. We’ll get into when it’s appropriate to include a letter of transmittal and give you a sample letter so you can write a perfect letter of transmittal.

Letters of transmittal serve a variety of purposes, but like any professional letter, they follow a specific format. As long as you know what you need to clarify and communicate in your letter and you follow our template, you’ll have a great letter of transmittal on your hands.

What Is a Letter of Transmittal?

A letter of transmittal is a business letter that accompanies a document you send someone; it clarifies or explains what the document is or instructs your recipient to take an action with the document, like signing it.

Letters of transmittal act like cover letters when you share documents with an individual or another company.

These letters can also serve as documentation that other documents were sent or received. It’s just an acknowledgment that a document was handed off to someone else.

Typically, letters of transmittal are short and concise since they accompany longer documents. You simply need to give a little bit of context for whatever longer document you’re sending.

People usually include these letters when they need to provide instructions for a document, reiterate important points of a document, address changes that were made to the project, request follow up or feedback from the recipient, or the document needs to be prefaced since the results were different than what was expected.

When to Use a Letter of Transmittal

It’s good practice always to include a letter of transmittal when you send professional documents. They can serve as an explanation for your recipient or just an official document that acknowledges that something was sent.

It’s especially important to include a letter of transmittal when you’re sharing something with someone outside of your team or company. If there’s any reason for your recipient to be unfamiliar with the details of the project you’re sharing, you definitely want to include a letter of transmittal.

Letters of transmittal are usually included with certain types of documents. Consider what you’re sending, who you’re sharing it with, and what they know about the project when you think about whether to send a letter or not. Here are some common scenarios for sending letters of transmittal.

  • Confidential documents or any sensitive material. You might need to give your recipient a heads up if they’re dealing with confidential material so they know that it can’t be shared. This can prevent any sharing of private documents, so be clear when dealing with a sensitive document.

  • Financial reports. Sometimes financial reports require context and explanation, so if you’re sharing something complicated like financial reports, don’t hesitate to include some extra clarification.

  • Proposals. You might need to distill your proposal down into a few sentences just so your reader knows what they’re getting into before they read the full document. You can also take this opportunity to remind your recipient who you are and why you’re sharing the proposal with them.

  • Technical documents. When sending technical documents, it’s especially important to consider your audience. Think about what they wouldn’t understand and try to address any questions before they even get to the document.

Other times you may want to use a transmittal letter include:

  • To instruct the recipient to take an action with the document you’ve sent

  • To describe how a plan has changed course or met with challenges

  • To send a draft that needs to be approved or reviewed

  • To explain why a document should be read

  • To emphasize the key findings of a report

  • To describe the result of a project

How to Write a Letter of Transmittal

For a letter of transmittal, you’ll want to follow the standard business letter format. Make sure to include a formal heading or use a professional letterhead, a professional greeting, your reason for writing in the opening paragraph, and a thank you in your closing paragraph. Here’s a step-by-step guide of what to include in your letter of transmittal:

  • Use a formal heading. Start your letter with a formal heading, including your name and information, the date, and the recipient’s information. This way, you follow business correspondence etiquette, and there’s a clear record of who is involved in the correspondence in case the documents are confidential.

  • State the purpose of the letter. In the first paragraph, you need to tell your recipient why you’re writing and who you are if they don’t already know you. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy introduction or explanation; you can do this in a few sentences but make sure it’s clear who you are and what the attached documents are about.

  • Go into details. The next paragraph should cover the name of the attached document and what the document is about, plus any extra explanation it might need. Think about any project details or technical concepts that might need to be explained in order for your recipient to understand the document. You can also include essential points from the document to reiterate or emphasize them if it makes sense.

  • Give any instructions. If your recipient needs to do something, like sign the document, or there’s something expected of them, make sure to spell it out in your letter of transmittal. Don’t be afraid to present any instructions or expectations point-blank since you want to make sure they know there’s something they need to do.

  • Thank them and give your contact info. In your last paragraph, make sure to thank the recipient for their time, cooperation, feedback, or any relevant action. You should also provide your contact information so they can follow up with you or get any clarification about the document. It’s impossible to fully prepare someone for a document in a short letter of transmittal, so give them a way to reach out if something is unclear.

  • Use a professional signature. Don’t forget to include a professional sign off and sign your letter if it’s a physical copy.

Tips for Writing a Letter of Transmittal

The most important parts of writing a letter of transmittal are following the standard business format and keeping your message concise yet thorough. Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you draft your letter:

  • Keep it light. You want to keep a friendly and professional tone, no matter what you’re attaching in the included document. Transmittal letters are formal, but you can be a bit more casual with your tone since there’s another professional document attached.

  • Keep it concise. Since you’re attaching another longer document, you can keep your letter of transmittal short and sweet. Just hit the points that you need to and don’t include any extra fluff. This letter is only meant to introduce and accompany your actual document.

  • Have an extra copy. Just in case, it’s a good idea to keep an extra copy of your letter on hand. You or the recipient might need it for reference in the future.

  • Make sure to proofread. As with any professional document, make sure you proofread your letter before you send it. Keep your letter writing skills in mind and double-check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

  • Don’t forget the document. It happens to the best of us when we draft an email and say that we’re going to attach a document but forget to do it. With a letter of transmittal, you want to make sure you include the document you’re writing about.

  • Double-check you included all necessary information. Make sure that all of the required information is there. A quick way to check is just to make sure that you’ve answered the who, what, where, when, and why, as appropriate. Plus, a way of contacting you if they have any questions.

  • Follow company format. Your company might have a transmittal letter template that they prefer you to use. They might also have policies in place for authorizing and approving such letters and the documents they go alongside, so make sure to ask a seasoned coworker if you’re unsure of the correct procedure.

Letter of Transmittal Template

Your Name
Your Job Title
Your Company Name
Your Company Address

The Date

Recipient’s Name
Recipient’s Job Title
Recipient’s Company Name
Recipient’s Company Address

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Explain you are, why you’re writing, and what the attached document(s) are about.
Provide detail about why the attached document is important, give easily understandable context to help the reader appreciate the document’s content, and/or emphasize key points
State any instructions or requests you have for the recipient. Make sure your request is clear and stands out visually so that the reader won’t miss it
Thank the reader, offer to provide additional information upon request, and provide your contact information.

Sincerely,

[signature]
Your Name

Letter of Transmittal Example

Here’s a sample letter of transmittal so you can keep your letter in the correct format. Don’t forget to refer to the necessary sections of your letter while you write and reference business letter writing guides.

John Doe
Account Manager
ABC Company
123 Main St
City, State 12345

November 12, 2020

Jane Smith
Director of Marketing
XYZ Company
123 Street Rd
City, State 1235

Dear Mrs. Smith,

Please find our final campaign report, XYZ Company Report, attached to this letter. This report includes all of the data from the marketing campaign we ran for your company, including an analysis of key results and proposals for future projects.

Our analysis shows that your sales greatly improved with our marketing efforts, particularly in the paid search campaigns. I’d also like to highlight that this campaign’s ROI was extremely high, particularly for a campaign with our limited budget. We have included suggestions for future work and marketing plans that we can enact together if you choose to work with us again.

If you have any further questions or would like to go over any of the data, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or anyone on my team that you worked with. I can be reached on my cell phone at (123)-456-7890 or by email at john@abccompany.com. Thank you for the opportunity to work with XYZ Company, and we hope you find the results of this campaign as successful as we do.

Sincerely,

[signature]
John Doe

Final Thoughts

A letter of transmittal is the perfect thing to include when you’re sending over a complicated document, especially to someone outside of your company or team. They help to explain the document’s contents, emphasize its key points, and record who has seen the document.

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Author

Amanda Covaleski

Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

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