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Career Development Tips

How to Write a Professional Letter

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a professional letter?Why should you write a professional letter?How do you write a professional letter?Tips for communicating a professional imageExample template for a professional letterSample professional letter content

Guide Overview

The importance of written business communication

With technology central to our daily lives and the ease of writing emails for business communications, several occasions call for professionally written letters. Knowing how to write a professional letter is important to make a good impression and communicate confidence. Having quality professional written communication skills to present a thoughtful business letter to a potential employer or business associate can help build professional relationships and create a culture of respect. Discover techniques for how to write a professional letter and get tips to guide you in creating your own letter for various business contexts.

What is a professional letter?

A professional letter is a written document used to communicate business or work-related information such as a letter of recommendation, a personal reference, an employment inquiry, and a business negotiation. Skillfully written, professional letters can impress recruiters, communicate your polite character, reveal your integrity and serve as the first impression the recipient has of you. They can help prove to management you are fit for promotion or communicate vital information to company leadership. Submitted as a cover letter with an employment application or a promotional letter with your company, a professional letter becomes a legal document representing who you are as an employee and becomes part of your permanent work record.

Why should you write a professional letter?

Although business culture today relies heavily on email communications, use a tangible letter to develop a strong relationship and communicate respect. Writing a professional letter is appropriate for the following business contexts:

How do you write a professional letter?

Follow these steps for how to make a professional letter that resonates with your intended recipient.

1. Consider the purpose.

How you write your professional letter and the contents will be dictated by the letter’s nature or occasion. Use your written communication skills to ensure your language and tone are professional and match your letter’s purpose. For example, the language you use within a cover letter should be direct and confident, while language applied within a letter of apology should reflect the sentiment.

2. Do some research.

Whether you’re writing a professional letter to inquire about an open position or provide a reference for a colleague, you’ll want to know some background information before writing your letter. For example, when writing to a company in response to a job opening, carefully review the job description. Identify the keywords. You can use these words throughout your cover letter that accompanies your job application to highlight your strengths. Identify the company vision, mission, and goals. You may find them on the company website. Some organizations include their mission statements at the bottom of memos and emails. Be aware of where your goals align with company values.

3. Make a list of ideas.

Brainstorm and create a list of points to make within your professional letter. The points within your list should relate to your professional letter’s dominant idea and enhance your content’s quality. Select ideas from your list that you can support with quantifiable data to add validity to your claims. Your presentation of ideas should have a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph and be easy to read. An organized letter shows your thought clarity and your understanding of logical relationships among ideas.

4. Include your return address.

Place your contact information in block format aligned to the left and at the top of the letter. Then leave one blank line space after the address.

5. Include the date.

Type the date you will send the letter. Be sure the date is accurate and corresponds with the mailing information. Matching dates shows consistency of character and your careful attention to detail.

6. Identify the recipient and the individual’s address.

Leave a blank line space after the date and type the recipient’s contact information in block format and aligned to the left of the page. Include the full name, professional title (if you know it), and address.

7. Select a professional salutation appropriate for the occasion.

For cover letters, using the word “Dear” is traditional and acceptable. Follow it with the person’s name or title if a specific name is not available. If you know the name but can’t identify the gender, refrain from using Mr. or Mrs. and use the individual’s first and last name.

8. Write a brief introduction.

Use the introductory paragraph of your business letter to indicate your purpose for contact. Be brief and direct, and consider using an opening line to help your letter stand out.

9. Compose the body of the letter.

For a cover letter, use the body paragraph to highlight your strengths and explain how you plan to apply your skills to advance the organization. For a general professional letter, the body should be an elaboration and explanation of your central purpose for writing the letter. Within the body of a cover letter and a professional letter, use specific details and relevant examples with numerical evidence when possible. Using quantifiable data validates your efforts, contributions, and value as an employee.

10. Write a concise closing paragraph.

How you close a cover letter is important. Show gratitude within your closing for your recipient’s time and attention. Include a call to action for the recipient: “Please contact me if you require additional information, and I will provide it right away.”

11. Include a complimentary close.

Close your letter respectfully by including a complimentary close followed by a comma. Some standard options are “sincerely,” “warm regards,” or “respectfully.” Leave four blank line spaces, to allow room for your signature, and type your first and last name.

12. Print and proofread.

Review the digital version of your professional letter first. Then print a copy and proofread it. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. Ensure each element of your professional correspondence works toward a consistent message and tone. Revise and edit your work as needed. Then print a clean and accurate copy.

13. Sign the document.

Sign your finished professional letter above your printed name at the bottom of the paper after the complimentary closing. Use blue or black ink only.

Tips for communicating a professional image

Use the following tips to help give your professional letter a polished appearance.

  • Print the letter text on resume paper.
  • Maintain uniform margins on all sides.
  • Use a font that is easy to read.
  • Keep the font size consistent.
  • Choose your words carefully to communicate an appropriate and professional tone.
  • Write each paragraph in block form, without indenting.
  • Be direct and concise.

Example template for a professional letter

Apply the following professional letter writing format when typing a professional letter.

(Your full name)
(Your mailing address)
(Your city, state, and ZIP code)


(Letter mailing date) 


(Recipient’s full name)
(Recipient’s professional title)
(Recipient’s business address)
(Recipient’s city, state, and ZIP code] 


Dear (Recipient’s name or title if the name is unknown),

(Introductory paragraph)

(Body paragraphs) 

(Closing paragraph)


(Complimentary closing),

(Your signature)

(Your typed name)


Sample professional letter content

Use this example to guide the content and format of your professional letter.


Jeremy Rhodes
2468 Main Avenue
Austin, TX 12345


November 2, 2021


Joey Goodman
ABC Company
Hiring Manager
1359 Center Circle Street
Los Angeles, CA 67891


Dear Mr. Goodman:

I’m responding to your recent job posting for Customer Service Representative at ABC Company. I am ready to apply my dedication to fostering positive customer relationships and offering the exceptional customer experience that ABC Company has established throughout the decades.

In my previous role as a customer service associate, I sought and implemented techniques to enhance customer interaction with our brand and products. For example, I started a small store study focused on effective methods to add more value to customers’ purchases. After analyzing the resulting data from this investigation, my company created and implemented new procedures and product placements that resulted in a 30% profit increase. Our focus brand benefited from a profit increase of 9%. 

Thank you for your time and for considering me for this position. The opportunity to learn about the brand and products that have become synonymous with your company’s quality excites me. I will commit myself to learn about the company policies and procedures that contribute to the brand’s success, and I aim to provide quality customer service while being a true representative of ABC Company and its high standards. Please expect a follow-up email from me within a few weeks. In the meantime, please contact me with any further questions. I will be happy to provide the needed information to you promptly. 




Jeremy Rhodes


Since a professional letter represents who you are, pay attention to details within it to present yourself well. A quality professional letter can help you stand out when applying for a job and can reveal your level of professionalism and work ethic. Knowing how to write a professional letter is an important step in establishing your credibility and advancing your career. 

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