How to Address a Letter Properly

If you’re looking for a career or networking professionally, good letter writing is a necessary ability you must have. This will ensure you are seen as a competent professional and stand out from others. While text messaging and emails offer a faster means of communication, the proper way to address a letter also needs to be known. Besides, a professional letter, such as a cover letter, is the first document that employers or recruiters view. It showcases your skills immediately and, thus, is a deciding factor on whether you are hired. The following are some basic guidelines on how to address a letter correctly.

Contact Information

When you are writing a letter, it is important that your contact information is included, such as your name, address, and designation. This will provide the recipient with pertinent information, so they are able to respond to your letter. This information should be placed at the very top of your letter. The following is an example of how the contact information should be written:

First Line (Sender’s full name): Sponge Bob Square

Second Line (Company name): Under the Ocean, Inc

Third line (Street address): 1234 Crabby Patty Blvd

Fourth line (City, State, Zip code): Jones, Ohio 12345

Fifth line (Phone number and email address): 123-345-6789

 

As shown above, the address should be positioned to the left and underneath the sender’s full name. If the letter will be addressed to someone outside the country, the country name should be placed on the fourth line as well. Also, if you want to provide additional contact information, add your email address or phone number on the fifth line. This is important information to know, when learning how to address a letter.

Date

It is essential to include the date on your letter, so the recipient can know when it was written. The date should be positioned either to the right or left margin. The date should be written, before the recipient’s information. The month of the year should always be written out, followed by the day and year. Also, be sure to include all four numbers for the year. For example, it should be written as: January 18, 2021.

Name and Address of Recipient

The recipient’s information should be placed right below your contact information, specifically on the left margin. It should also include their name and address. If they hold a title or degree, be sure to include that as well.

For example, if you are writing to a registered nurse, you should write, “Chuck Board, RN.” This information should be written on the first line. The second line should include the Company’s name, and their mailing address on the third line. The fourth line should include the city, state, and zip code. Again, if they live in another country, include it on the fourth line as well.

 

(Sender Information)
Full Name
Title or Company Name
Your Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number/Email address

Date

Recipient Name
Recipient’s Company Name
Recipient’s Address
Recipient’s City, State Zip Code

Importance of Salutation

The salutation should come after the recipient’s contact information. The type of salutation used is dependent upon if you know them personally. “Dear,” is the most commonly used salutation, if you have a personal connection to the recipient. If you don’t know the recipient, you should address the individual as “ Dear Madam or Sir.” You can also use “Ms. or Mr.” as well. If they are a doctor, use the salutation, “ Dr.” If you are unsure about who will receive the letter (such as someone at an organization), you may use “To Whom It May Concern.”

The recipient’s name should be added, after the salutation. Their name should be followed by a comma or colon. The following are some examples of how to write salutations.

Dear Mrs. Thomas,

Dear Mr. Thomas,

Dear Dr. Hankins,

Dear Ms. Kimble,

 

Body of Letter

The first section of the letter should be an introduction. It should include the purpose of your letter and what you are hoping to achieve. Other essential information should also be included that relates to why you are writing the letter. The middle section, on the other hand, is where you should elaborate more about your discussion in the first section. This section may require a couple of paragraphs. It all depends on why you are writing the letter. Finally, the last section is where you would conclude the letter. In the conclusion section, you are to summarize the letter. Also, if there are additional steps or actions that need to be taken, it should be discussed in this section. Always end the letter with “Sincerely,” followed by a comma. Then, sign your name and print your name, just below it. The following is an example:

Sincerely,

(Signature of Sender)

(Printed Name of Sender)

Letter Template

Now that all the guidelines have been discussed, the following is an example of how an entire letter should be written:

(Sender Information)

Full name
Your Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number/Email address

Date

Recipient Name
Recipient’s Company Name
Recipient’s Address
Recipient’s City, State Zip Code

Subject

Dear Name,

Introduction section (Purpose of the Letter)

Middle section (Details on why letter is written, may be a couple of paragraphs)

Conclusion section (Summary of your letter)

Sincerely,

(Signature of Sender)
(Printed Name of Sender)

Final Thoughts

If you want to add the subject of your letter, that is perfectly fine. The subject can be placed above the salutation, as shown above.

Download the template above here.

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Capitalize My Title is a dynamic title capitalization tool used to make sure your titles or headlines use proper capitalization rules according to various style guides include APA, AP, MLA, and Chicago. It also counts your words and checks for grammar issues.

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