All business letters should have one commonality--clear and cordial writing. Business letters may vary in their objectives, creating an assortment of business-letter styles.
All business letters should have the current date, a return address, recipient address, salutation and signature.
Business letters can be written in either full-block or modified-block styles. In a full-block letter, all writing begins at the left margin with no indentations in paragraphs. In the modified-block style letter, however, the paragraphs are indented at five spaces, and the date and signature begin at the center of the page.
The application letter is a very popular business letter style. Application letters are written by people seeking employment. These letters act as an introductory tool for potential employers. Application letters are also referred to as cover letters, but it is important to note that the term "cover letter" can also refer to another business-letter style. These types of business letters refer to documents that are included in packages. These cover letters usually itemize the contents of a package for the reader and serve as confirmation for the recipient.
An acceptance letter is usually written in response to an application, or in response to an invitation of some kind. An acknowledgment letter would be sent in response an acceptance letter, and act as a receipt for both parties.
When a customer is unhappy with goods or services, it is customary to send a complaint letter. The complaint letter should contain specific information to assist the recipient in identifying the individuals or goods involved with the problem. Complaint letters are also sent between businesses.
All business letters, regardless of the style, serve as documentation of communication between two parties. This can be extremely beneficial to both parties should disagreements or misunderstandings arise.
Be care to use cordial, formal language when writing a business letter. Avoid the use of slang, as this type of informal language is not appropriate for business. Also, be sure to spell the name of the recipient correctly, and keep your letter brief and to the point.
Joanna White-Oldham is a freelance writer and has published human interest articles in "Colleton Magazine." She is the founder of The Center for Active Learning in Brooklyn, N.Y. An active learning expert, Oldham implements new and creative ways to involve adult learners in the learning process. She holds a Masters of Arts in education from Central Michigan University.