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Formal English letters are quickly being replaced by email. However, the formal letter structure you learn can still be applied to business emails and other formal emails. Follow these structure tips to write effective formal business letters and emails.
First Paragraph: The first paragraph of formal letters should include an introduction to the purpose of the letter. It's common to first thank someone or to introduce yourself.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me last week. I'd like to follow up on our conversation and have a few questions for you.
Body Paragraphs: The second and following paragraphs should provide the main information of the letter, and build on the main purpose in the introductory first paragraph.
Our project is moving forward as scheduled. We'd like to develop a training program for staff at the new locations. To this end, we have decided to rent out space in the local business exhibition center. New staff will be trained by our experts in personnel for three days. In this way, we'll be able to meet demand from the first day.
Final Paragraph: The final paragraph should shortly summarize the intent of the formal letter and end with some call to action.
Thank you for your consideration of my suggestions. I look forward to an opportunity to discuss this matter further.
Open with an expression of formal address, such as:
Dear Mr, Ms (Mrs, Miss) - if you know the name of the person you are writing to. Use Dear Sir / Madam if you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, or To Whom it May Concern
Always use Ms for women unless you are specifically requested to use Mrs or Miss.
First, provide a reason for writing. If you are beginning correspondence with someone about something or asking for information, begin by providing a reason for writing:
Frequently, formal letters are written to express thanks. This is especially true when writing in response to an inquiry of some kind or when writing to express appreciation for a job interview, a reference, or other professional assistance you have received.
Here are some useful phrases of gratitude:
Use the following phrases when asking for assistance:
The following phrases are used to offer help:
In some formal letters, you will need to include documents or other information. Use the following phrases to draw attention to any enclosed documents you might have included.
Note: if you are writing a formal email, use the phase: Attached please find / Attached you will find.
Always finish a formal letter with some call to action or reference to a future outcome you desire. Some of the options include:
A referral to a future meeting:
Sign the letter with one of the following phrases:
Make sure to sign your letter by hand followed by your typed name.
Formal letters written in block format place everything on the left-hand side of the page. Place your address or your company's address at the top of the letter on the left (or use your company's letterhead) followed by the address of the person and/or company you are writing to, all placed on the left side of the page. Hit the key return a number of times and use the date.
In formal letters written in standard format place your address or your company's address at the top of the letter on the right. Place the address of the person and/or company you are writing on the left side of the page. Place the date on the right-hand side of the page in alignment with your address.
This letter is being sent to you as a participant in the ______ study. Please contact us at [Insert telephone number(s) (and contact name(s) if applicable)] so.
By: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
When you have written a letter making a request, you should get a response from the school system, either by telephone or in writing, within a reasonable period of time. In some cases, "reasonable" is defined (for example, local policy may say the school must answer you within 15 working days). In other cases, the timelines are not exact. So, be reasonable in your expectations. But if you feel too much time has passed (10 working days or so) without receiving a response to your letter, then call and ask if your letter has been received. If you are sure the school has received your letter (some parents send their letters by certified or registered mail), then ask when you can expect an answer. More than likely, when you call you will talk to a secretary or administrative assistant. Leave a message for the person you wrote to; ask that person to call you back.
If your request still goes unanswered, then you may want to write again. It's useful to enclose a copy of your original request with this letter. Be sure not to send your only copy. Remember, you always need to have a copy for your records.
Today's Date (include month, day, and year)
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number
Name of Person To WhomYou Originally Wrote
City, State, Zip Code
I wrote to you on (date) and also called to make sure you had received my letter. I left a message for you to call me back on (date), but since I have not heard from you, I thought it best to write again.
I am writing to request . . .
Enclosed is a copy of my first letter to you.
I would like to hear from you by (give a date, 3-5 working days). Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
This information is copyright free.
Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). NICHCY Parent Guides are published in response to questions from individuals and organizations that contact us. We encourage you to share your ideas and feedback with us!
Publication of this document is made possible through a Cooperative Agreement between the Academy for Educational Development and the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
P.O. Box 1492
Washington, DC 20013
v/tty: (800) 695-0285
Fax: (202) 884-8441
e-mail: [email protected]
Excerpted from Communication with Your Child's School Through Letters. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. www.nichcy.org (2002). Washington, D.C.: Academy for Educational Development.
We discussed the importance of creating an email cover letter in our previous post, Five Steps to a Standout Resume Email, and thought would be helpful to our job-seeking readers to provide some examples to use as a starting point for your next email cover letter.
The examples below come from real-life job seeker emails, although we’ve altered the details and contact information. Whether you prefer a “salesy” approach or you’re more of a “direct and to the point” kind of person, choose the template that suits your style. Just be sure to include these key elements in your email cover letter.
Without a signature at the end of your email cover letter, you could be missing out on incredible potential job opportunities. This quick snippet of your contact information makes it easy for recruiters and hiring managers alike to contact you.
When it comes to deciding between a physical signature and a name sign-off, there are benefits to either option. With a name sign-off, you can use a digital signature service like Eversign and RightSignature to give your cover letter that personal touch.
If you’d prefer to include just a regular email signature, make sure to include your full name, email and phone number. You can also consider adding a LinkedIn button so the hiring manager can have more insight on your experience and skill set.
Wondering how to format your email cover letter? You’re not alone. Once you’ve written your incredible cover letter providing more information on your expertise and how it relates to the job you’re applying for, it’s vital to format it correctly before sending it to any recruiters. If it isn’t formatted correctly, you could be missing out on the job opportunity.
Regardless of the cover letter template you’ve chosen, make sure to include these key components when formatting your email cover letter:
If you’re looking for more guidance on cover letters, here are our top tips specific to legal professions.
Example #1: If you prefer to keep it brief.
Subject Line: Interest in Litigation Associate Position
To Whom It May Concern:
I am interested in the Litigation Associate position advertised on LinkedIn. I have attached my resume and cover letter for your review.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
First Last Name
Example #2: If you’re relocating to the city where the job opportunity is located.
Subject Line: Expressing Interest and Relocating Near Litigation Secretary Position
Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to express my interest in the Litigation Secretary position listed on Monster.com. My resume is attached for your review and consideration.
I am a fast learner, very dependable, organized, and computer savvy. I have extensive experience assisting firm attorneys and multiple paralegals, as well as supervising and managing an office. While I currently reside in Los Angeles, I will be moving to San Francisco at the end of the month.
I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you to learn more about your firm, its plans and goals, and how I might contribute to its continued success. I can be your ideal candidate if given this opportunity. Thank you.
First Last Name
Example #3: If a colleague referred you.
Subject Line: John Mentioned Your Firm is Seeking a Litigation Secretary
I was referred to you by a mutual acquaintance, John Smith, who said you have an opening for a litigation secretary. I have many years of experience as a litigation secretary, most of them working with managing partners. I am a professional looking for a career, not just a job. I am organized, reliable and self-motivated. I like being part of a team, but can also work independently.
Included with this e-mail is a copy of my resume for your review and consideration. Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please contact me if you have any questions or to arrange an interview. I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
Thank you for your time,
First Last Name
Example # 4: If you’ve been at your current position for less than one year.
Subject Line: Experienced Legal Secretary Seeking Long-term Opportunity with Stable Litigation Firm
Please allow this introduction. My name is Jane Smith, and I have 12 years of legal secretarial experience working with managing partners of small, mid- and large-sized law firms. My current typing speed is 105 wpm from written form and 120 wpm from live dictation with the utmost accuracy. I am interested in the Litigation Secretary position advertised on your firm’s website.
I am currently working for a small civil litigation firm. However, after only 11 months in this position, the financial stability of the firm has significantly changed. Therefore I am seeking long-term tenure with a stable civil litigation firm.
Attached please find my resume and list of references. If you are interested in the professional skills and positive attributes I can contribute to your firm, please contact me at [phone number] at your convenience to schedule an interview.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First Last Name
Example #5: If you want to be dazzle the hiring manager with your qualifications.
Subject Line: Do you need a conscientious paralegal at your firm?
Dear Recruiting Administrator:
Do you need a hardworking, creative and conscientious paralegal to meet your firm’s needs? If so, I can help you. The following is a summary of my qualifications:
I would like to meet with you to discuss how I might assist your firm in fulfilling its present needs. My resume is enclosed for your review. If you need someone who is highly motivated, eager to learn, and willing to work hard to succeed, please contact me at [phone] or via e-mail: [email].
Thank you for your time and consideration,
First Last Name
They say the first impression is a lasting one- so make sure your digital introduction represents you well. Use your best judgement with each position you apply to; for an entry level position keep your cover letter more concise while go into further depth and providing more information with upper level positions.
These examples are meant to be a starting point only – add your own voice, style and experience to make your own standout (or at least solid) email cover letter.
Categories: Career Advancement
May 01, 2019
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If you're sending a paper cover letter, for example, you might write, “You can reach me during business hours at the phone number above.” Or in an email.
There are some situations in which writing a business letter is more appropriate than writing an email. If you need a permanent record of what you are writing, or if you are writing in a formal situation, a letter is a better choice. For example, you would probably write a letter of resignation instead of an email.
Business letters often contain the following elements:
– A standard greeting (For example: Dear Sir / Madam)
– A reference to previous contact or reason for writing
In this first paragraph, say why you are writing the letter. Use a sentence that refers to a previous contact, such as a previous letter or phone call. Or use an objective sentence to say why you are writing: to confirm, clarify or enquire about something, for example.
– (The background to the letter.)
This is an optional paragraph and gives your reader more information to become familiar with the subject of the letter.
– Main point or idea
– Additional points
– Asking for action / reference to the future
In the final paragraph, close your business letter with an offer of further help, or ask for future action.
– Standard closing (For example: Yours faithfully)
Here are some useful phrases for each section of your business letter:
“With reference to your letter, I…”
“In response to your letter, I can confirm…”
“With regard to your memo, I…”
“Following our phone conversation, I…..”
“I am writing with reference to your enquiry.”
“Thank you for your letter of…”
Replying to a request
“As you requested, I am enclosing a brochure about our adventure holidays.”
“As you suggested, I am sending you my CV.”
“In answer to your enquiry, I am enclosing information which I hope will be useful to you.”
“As promised, I am sending you the…”
“Your name was given to me by (source)”
“My colleague, Ewan Jones, suggested that I write to you concerning…”
“I have been advised to contact you regarding your policy on insurance claims.”
“I am the Marketing Manager of a search engine optimisation company, and I am writing to you to ask if your company would be interested in promoting …”
Making reference to something your reader knows
“As you may already know / have heard, the Production Division is merging with…”
Saying thank you
“Thank you for your letter in which you enquired about…”
“Thank you for your advice regarding…”
“I am writing to thank you for your assistance.”
“It has come to our notice that…”
“I am writing to inform you that…”
“Please be advised that…”
“I am writing to advise you that…”
“I am writing to confirm ….”
“I would like to confirm ….”
Asking for information or advice
“I am writing to enquire about ….”
“I would be interested to receive further details about ….”
“Please could you give me the necessary details concerning …?”
“I would be grateful for your advice concerning…”
“I would appreciate your advice on …”
Explaining and clarifying
“I am writing to explain …”
“I would like to clarify certain points regarding…”
“I would like to take this opportunity to clarify …”
Making a suggestion or giving advice
“In response to ….. may we suggest that you contact ….”
“With regard to your enquiry about … we advise you to … ”
“We would like to advise all our customers to …”
“Please find enclosed ….”
“Enclosed please find …”
“Enclosed is a …”
“Enclosed are ….”
“I am enclosing a …”
“I have pleasure in enclosing …”
“Please accept our apologies for this misunderstanding.”
“We apologise for our mistake and we would like to take this opportunity to assure you that it will not happen again.”
“We hope that this misunderstanding has not caused you too much inconvenience.”
Referring to a meeting
“I look forward to seeing you on…”
“I look forward to meeting you on…”
“I would be delighted to arrange a meeting with you.”
Asking for action
“I would be grateful if this matter could be resolved…”
“I would appreciate further information on…”
“I would be grateful for further advice.”
“I would be grateful if you could send me…”
“Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.”
“If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me on…”
“Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.”
“As this matter is now urgent, we would appreciate a prompt reply.”
“We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.”
“Due to the urgency of the situation, I would appreciate receiving your advice as soon as possible.”
Also check out How to Write an Email and How to Start and End a Business Letter or Email.
Level: Pre-intermediate and above
The first collection letter should be sent to your customer as soon as the Please contact us or send your payment of $ to the address.