A very large part of the business of the world is conducted by means of correspondents. Therefore it is extremely important to be able to write good business letters – letters that represent one’s self and one’s organization to best advantage.
Writing good business letter is a matter of detailed and often quite specialized technique, which is not so complicated as you may have been let to fear. All you need is a supply of visiting cards, some good paper, a pen, a typewriter and a little good will.
- You should be familiar with two kinds of letters: business letters and personal letters. Business organizations usually use printed letter – head for their business letters. Private business letters are typed on plain paper.
- You should answer all letters promptly-within ten days at the outside. If you can’t fully answer them within that period, the least you can do is acknowledge them and explain your delay.
- Let everyone involved know what action has been taken on a letter.
- You should always write a thank-you note to anyone who has given you a letter. Write thanks for all written congratulations or good wishes. ‘Thanks for presents, favors, for anything which came to you because of your business may be typed on business paper. It is only when you are speaking neither for your company nor for yourself as a member of that company that you must be careful to use your personal paper.’
-You should sign and send out only letters that are well typed, well-spaced, faultlessly neat and inviting to the eye, i.e. letters that make a good impression at first. The letter you write, whether you realize it or not is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste and character.
Here are the essential qualities that go to make up an attractive, well – groomed business letter:
- Use the best quality of paper you can for business correspondence.
- Envelopes should match the letter – head in quality and weight. Any printing or engraving that appears on the envelope should conform with that on the letter sheet.
- Quality and dignity should be the distinguishing characteristics of your business stationery. Never use unconventional stationery for the general run of routine business letters.
- All business correspondence should be typed, and at least one carbon copy made and kept on file.
- Your business letter should be well-spaced and organized. Whether long or short, your letter should present an even, well – balanced appearance. Bear in mind that wide margins make your letter more readable and inviting, never continue a business letter on the back of the sheet.
- Make an effort to keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Use a new paragraph for each new thought or idea, and express that thought as simply and briefly as you can.
- Your letters should not contain misspelled words, typographic errors, or incorrectly or poorly constructed sentences. Poor grammar misspelled words, lack of punctuation or the improper use of it may destroy the effectiveness of your letter.
Business letters may be written in:
- the first person singular: “I must apologize for the delay in fulfilling your order of November 20. I shall see that the spare parts are sent immediately.”
- the first person plural: “We must apologize…”
- the impersonal passive: ”The delay in fulfilling your order is regretted. The spare parts will be sent immediately.”
Note: The first person singular can be used only by a person of authority as he is reporting his personal actions and opinions and yet they represent those of the film and organization.
The impersonal passive is inclined to be cold and distant; the first person forms are therefore usually to be preferred. There are many ways to lay out a business letters.
The arrangement style of a letter depends upon the horizontal placement of the various letter parts. The order or sequence in which the parts are positioned is fixed in a logical pattern that is normally not altered to suit individual tastes.
Letters in which all the parts begin at the left margin are written in block style.
“Block style” is the most useful to learn because it is accepted everywhere.
Another popular style is modified block style. In this format the date line, reference line, complimentary close, author’s name and title begin at the centre of the paper. The first line of each paragraph may begin at the left margin or may be indented 5 or 10 spaces. All other lines begin at the left margin.
Punctuation: most organizations use mixed punctuation; a colon follows the salutation, and a comma follows the complimentary close. In open punctuation style, no punctuation follows the salutation or the complimentary close. Sentences in the body of the letter are punctuated normally.
Stylistic And Lexical Peculiarities Of Cover Letter
Definition: A cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience.
A cover letter typically provides detailed information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences.
Successful cover letter has the following characteristics:
1. They are personal. Always get the name and address of the person to whom you intend to mail your letter. Never start with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To Whom It May Concern.’
2. You can obtain the name by calling the firm and asking for the personnel officer’s name and title. Check the spelling.
3. You will either inquire whether any positions are available or you will say which position you are applying for. If you are applying for a specific position identify the source of the information (a person, a newspaper, including date, etc.)
4. Describe your educational background and professional experience. ‘Focus on those things from your resume that best related to the position you are applying for.’ [3,p.21]
5. Say you are enclosing your resume and /or other supporting material. State your willingness to provide more information and to be interviewed.
6. Thank them for their consideration. Say you look forward to hearing from them.
Cover letter are short (not more than two pages) and have perfect spelling and grammar.
Clichés and expressions of cover letter:
- With reference to your advertisement in “…” of Tuesday, January 10, I would like to apply for the position of … in your company.
- I recently heard from … that there is a vacancy in your sales department.
- I am used to working on my own.
- I appreciate the opportunity to work on my own initiative and to take on a certain amount of responsibility.
- During training for my resent job I took courses in marketing.
- Since my present position offers little prospect for advancement, I would prefer to be employed in an expanding organization such as yours.
- I am at present earning … per month.
- Thank you for offering me the post /position of …
- I have pleasure in accepting this position.
- I am looking forward to commencing work on September 1.