WHAT IS A FORMAL LETTER?
A formal letter is a letter written in formal language with a specific structure and layout. Formal letters also referred to as business letters, are generally used to communicate with people you do not have personal relationship with. Formal letters are used in official or business communications.
WHY WE WRITE FORMAL LETTERS
We write formal letters for different reasons. Some reasons for formal letters are:
- To find out information
- To make a complaint
- To give information
- To make a request
- To send an apology
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN WRITING A FORMAL LETTER
- The receiver
- Purpose of the letter
- Content of the letter
- Expected result of the letter
When writing formal letters, you must be very mindful of the format and font used. It is advisable to make sure the entire letter is justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.
FORMAT OF A FORMAL LETTER
- Your address – This is usually right justified at the top of the page. You would not usually include your telephone number or email address here
- Receiver’s position and contact details – The role and address of the person you are writing to goes directly below your address, on the left. You should always address the letter to a particular person if at all possible.
- Date – The position of the date is more flexible. It can go on the left (second line below your address), or the right (second line below the receiver’s address).
- Salutation – The salutation at the beginning of the letter depends on whether or not you have the name of the person.
- If you do, write Dear Mr Adebayo, Dear Mrs Ebere, Dear Miss Sholafunmi, or, if you do not know the marital status of a woman, simply write Dear Ms Farida. If the person has a specific title, use this: Dear Dr Ajani.
- If you don’t know the name of the person, you should write Dear Sir/Madam. You should put a comma (,) after the salutation.
- Subject of the Letter – This should be in bold or underlined. The purpose is to give the reader an idea of what the letter is about before reading it, and to be able to pass it on to a more appropriate person if necessary. If you are replying to a letter which had a reference (or ref.) on it, you should repeat this on your letter. Write ‘Your ref.:—-‘
- Body of the letter. The content of your letter should be as short as possible, divided into short, clear paragraphs. It is common to end your letter with a phrase such as I look forward to hearing from you. I would be grateful if my request is granted. Thank you in anticipation of a favourable response
- End of the letter – To end the letter, you should write Yours sincerely if you have started the
letter with the name of the person, or Yours faithfully if you have started with something like Dear Sir/Madam.
- Signature and Name – Your signature should come directly below Yours faithfully/Yours sincerely. Your full name should come under your signature, and then your position (Head Boy) is there is any. Sign you name directly below this and then print it below the signature.
SAMPLE OF A FORMAL LETTER
2 Olu-Kadiri Road
Off Simbiat Way
25th October 2016
The Human Resources Manager
XYZ Company Limited
APPLICATION FOR INTERNSHIP
I am writing to you regarding the internship role that is available in your organisation. I came across the role description on [Website Name], and was delighted to find that my academic accomplishments meet all of the necessary requirements. I am seeking a challenging but rewarding internship, which is why I was drawn to this exciting opportunity.
I am a second year student of Economics at the University of Ibadan. I have demonstrated strong academic performance in all finance courses, maintaining a 5.9 GPA in my major. The courses I have completed have given me a solid foundation in the tools, processes and methodologies involved in the successful analysis and management of portfolio-investment strategies. I have a proven ability to learn challenging concepts quickly and have developed competencies in diverse areas.
My enclosed CV provides more details of my skills and achievement track record.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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