Whenever we decide to write a letter, we merely look for formats or templates ready for editing. Most of these letters have a unique structure and compelling opening lines that get your attention right away.
A great example of a helpful letter is a cover letter that we often attach with our resume while applying for a job. In various cases, hiring managers solely focus on the cover letter.
Sure, the resume can be enough to talk about your experience and capabilities. But a cover letter can be more descriptive in explaining your skills and expertise to your employers.
This article will bring you some valuable tips and guide you on how to write useful letters to get noticed by your employer. We will also mention a checklist to ensure while following the writing format of an effective letter.
Format of an Effective Letter
The most important thing that goes without saying is the format of a letter. Formatting is the crucial element that makes it stands out from other writings like applications, essays, etc. While writing it, you should focus on the following areas:
- The first rule of writing an effective letter is the left-side text alignment. Do not feature things in the middle like an essay as it may negatively impact.
- Make sure to mention your credentials, including name, address, and contact, on top of the page. It is better to compile this information in 2 to 3 lines per word.
- Mention the date when you write a letter and make sure it is covered in one line.
- Right under the date, the recipient’s credentials should be mentioned. These credentials can include the recipient’s name, company title or designation, address, and contact information.
- Add a formal salutation adding words like “Respected”, “Dear”, or “Honorable” before the recipient’s name or designation. If you are unsure about the receiver, you can mention “To whom it may concern”.
- Write a concise introduction that briefly states the purpose of writing the it. This area should be featured before the body of the letter.
- The next portion is the body of the letter. This portion should contain all the supporting information, which must be compiled within two to three paragraphs max. Each paragraph should be two to three lines long and not more.
- After the body, you must include a concluding statement, which summarizes the letter’s objective. It’s recommended to provide the recipient with a call to action.
- You can finish the letter with a complimentary close like “Sincerely” and add your name under the complimentary close.
The formatting templates can be found online, but we don’t recommend you follow one as each letter’s nature is different.
You can adjust the format of your letter by using a WordPad online and editing your plain text as per requirements. This online editor helps you set the text alignment and makes the letter effective and easy to read.
Add a killer opening line
The opening line should define your thoughts and impression of the writer, which should be positive. It’s recommended to mention the job title if you’re applying for work with a cover letter.
Avoid mentioning your name in the opening line. Instead, you can mention your designation or title to refer to your relevance to the topic.
You can also state your accomplishments and capabilities related to the job title. These accomplishments can include an overview of relevant work experience or academic achievements.
The introduction part imposes the first impression that defines whether or not a reader is interested in going through the rest of the contents in the letter’s body.
Keep the reader’s persona in mind
While writing a letter, we state things from our end to explain everything as much as possible. We try our best to cover everything.
But we forget some key elements that assist a reader in understanding what we are trying to convey.
While writing an effective letter, we should be focused on the choice of words, tone, and terms that are easy to understand by our recipient.
Avoid using highly formal terms, which may impose a negative impression as the reader may misunderstand that term.
In addition to all that, we must focus on writing to read concepts. Mentioning words like “we”, “you”, or “our” can impose more of a personal impression which helps to engage the reader with our writing.
Keep it concise
An effective letter should not include lengthy blocks of text overlapped with paragraphs and sentences. You should clearly state the intention or objective featuring the necessary information in the body of the letter.
The intention for writing the letter should be covered in the introduction part of your letter. You can focus on the sole reason for writing it and try your best to feature it within the introduction lines.
In some cases, like writing a cover letter, you may have to include your experience, achievements, and educational background, which can get quite lengthy. But you can manage to divide things into small portions of paragraphs covering two to three lines each.
Proofread your letter
Proofreading is a must-to-do thing in any writing. Before submitting your it, you have to make sure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes.
It’s recommended to run a letter through a grammar checker to identify and correct any mistakes which can save your time and effort to manually proofread each word and sentence.
Proofreading helps you realize your mistakes by focusing on the areas of improvement. This technique allows a writer to go through the letter from the reader’s perspective. In this way, we can evaluate our work to make it more professional and easier to read.
An effective letter is not overstating your enthusiasm or being extremely formal in your writings. You have to focus on the technicalities and structure of the letter.
Aspects like format, tone, and length matter the most while writing it. Moreover, each kind of letter follows a specific type of format. Therefore, it is recommended to take a look at some samples of structures relevant to our letter’s type.