You can’t work with others if you don’t know how to communicate, and your first communication should always be professional. Text messaging and e-mail have made the
written word overly casual. Misspelled words, lack of punctuation, and slang terms might make a date via text message, but those things are distracting in a business letter.
Search “how to write a business letter” and you’ll get thousands of results. Miscrosoft Word has a dozen different business letter templates you can use. There’s no excuse for improperly formatting that first letter. What you need, however, is to make sure your letter gets noticed for all the right reasons. Here are a few ideas for composing your best possible business letter.
1. Do your research. At all costs avoid To Whom It May Concern. Figure out who you’re contacting as use his or her name. Then go the extra mile – find out if Mel is a man or woman before addressing Melanie Smith as Mr. Mel Smith.
2. Forget about Elle. Pink, scented paper worked for Elle Woods … in the movies. Use a traditional font, size, and color.
3. E-mail is still mail. An electronic letter is still a letter. Don’t let it trick you. It shouldn’t matter whether your letter is on the computer monitor or a sheet of paper. The same rules apply – use them.
First impressions matter, and your first letter or e-mail will leave a big imprint. Don’t let mistakes and a casual attitude distract the reader from what you really have to say. A clean, well presented letter puts all of the focus on your words, as it should.