What Are the 5 Parts of a Business Letter?

by Joanne Guidoccio - Updated September 26, 2017
Ensure that each business letter contains the following components.

Whether you are ordering merchandise, applying for a position, requesting funds, expressing appreciation or complaining, whenever you deal with an organization, you must write a business letter. You should follow established procedures and include the necessary components in each letter you write. Start with a sheet of letterhead paper containing your organization's address. Alternatively, you could create your own personal header which includes your full name, address, postal code, telephone number and email address.

Date

Leave at least one blank line between the letterhead or header and the date. Use the American date format, for example, May 23, 2011, when writing to organizations within the United States. Do not use subscripts such as 2nd. You can either left justify the date or tab to the center point and type the date.

Inside Address

The inside address or the recipient's address begins one inch (three blank lines) below the date. It is always left-justified. Double check the spelling of the recipient's name and the mailing address. Include a personal title, such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Ms. or Miss, and a business title such as Marketing Director. If you are uncertain about either title, telephone the receptionist at the organization.

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Salutation

Leave a blank line after the inside address. If you know the recipient, you can use her first name, for example, Dear Mary. In other cases, use her personal title and surname, for example: Dear Mrs. Johnson. If you are uncertain about the recipient's gender, use the full name. You can include a comma or colon after the salutation or omit any punctuation.

Body

Leave a blank line after the salutation. Single space and left justify the paragraphs in the body of the letter. Most letters contain at least three paragraphs. In the first paragraph, introduce the purpose of the letter. If you are responding to a job advertisement, name the position and identify its source. For example, you could write "The position of Marketing Director advertised online accurately describes my skills and abilities."

The second and third paragraphs contain specific details which support this purpose. For example, if you are complaining about a product or service, include the date of purchase, invoice number and the reason for your dissatisfaction.

Use the final paragraph to restate the purpose and the expected response. For example, writie "Please contact me personally if you have any questions or comments regarding our new product line. I look forward to serving your business correspondence needs for many years to come." Leave a blank line between each paragraph.

Closing

Leave a blank line after the final paragraph of the letter. Conclude the letter with an appropriate complementary closing such as Sincerely, Yours respectively or Cordially yours. If a colon or comma followed the salutation, include a comma after the closing. Leave three to four blank lines for your signature. End with your typewritten signature and title, for example, John Stewart, Sales Manager.

About the Author

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio opened a wordsmith business. She has been published in the "Guelph Daily Mercury," "Waterloo Record" and "Winnipeg Free Press". A retired school teacher, Guidoccio has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and psychology from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of education from the University of Western Ontario and a Career Development Practitioner Diploma from Conestoga College.

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