Types of Business Letters

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Types of Business Letters Letter of Transmittal Letter of Inquiry Claim/Complaint Letter Good News Letter Bad News Letter Letter of Application Many others

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Letter of Transmittal Most examples of this letter type will contain three short paragraphs. The first paragraph will state WHAT is being transmitted and WHY it is being transmitted. The middle paragraph will DESCRIBE in moderate detail the item being transmitted; for example, if a report is being transmitted, the description would include the major sections of the report and its major conclusion(s). The final paragraph will express HOPE FOR SATISFACTION with whatever is being transmitted. Modified block with indentions is the usual format for this type of letter. ALWAYS include an enclosure notation.

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Letter of Inquiry Most examples of this letter type contain three short paragraphs. The first paragraph specifies the SUBJECT of the inquiry and indicates WHY the inquiry is being made. The middle paragraph lists the specific items or questions that the letter writer wants or wants answered; usually the items or questions are presented in bulleted list form. The last paragraph tactfully indicates a deadline by which the items being requested or the answers to questions need to be supplied. Usually modified block with indentions format is used with this letter type.

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Claim/Complaint Letter Most examples of this letter type contain three short paragraphs. The opening paragraph states the PROBLEM that the letter writer has encountered and makes a specific CLAIM that will correct the problem. The next longish paragraph narrates the sequence of events involved in the creation of the problem, and it describes the problem in detail. Dates, serial numbers, and other factual data are the heart of this paragraph. The last paragraph tactfully requests timely correction of the problem. Usually modified block with indentions format is used with this letter type.

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Good News Letter Most examples of this letter type contain three short paragraphs. The first paragraph makes the “GRANT,” that is, the solution to the problem/complaint that the complainer has requested. The next longish paragraph explains in detail how the problem arose in order, if possible, to show that is was not a result of bad faith or business practice on the part of the company. The last paragraph HOPES FOR SATISFACTION on the part of the complainer regarding the solution that has been offered. Usually modified block or modified block with indentions format is used with this letter type.

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Bad News Letter Letters of this type may contain three or more than three paragraphs, depending on the degree of detail that is presented. The opening paragraph is usually short and neutral with regard to the issue (i.e., We received your letter of August 29, 2007, in which you . . .). The middle paragraph(s) explains in detail the upcoming bad news, but does not actually state the bad news (i.e., we cannot comply with your request to solve the problem) until near, but not at, the end of the paragraph: i.e., “bury” the bad news. The last paragraph returns to a neutral topic. Full block format is usually used with this letter type.

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Letter of Application This letter usually has three or four paragraphs. The opening paragraph states the specific POSITION for which you are applying; if possible, it indicates how you gained knowledge about the position. The middle paragraphs discuss the specific QUALIFICIATIONS you possess that make you a good candidate for the job; you should mention your resume near the beginning of the first of these paragraphs The last paragraph REQUESTS AN INTERVIEW at the convenience of the company. Modified block with indentions is the usual format for letters of this type. ALWAYS include an enclosure notation.

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Suggestions for Letter of Application Make it one page long. Proofread the letter of application and resume VERY carefully; let there be NO mistakes in them. Make every effort to mail the application letter to a specific person in the company; if need be, make a call to find out the name of the person to whom to mail the letter and resume. Mail the letter and resume in an envelope that is large enough that the letter and resume do not need to be folded. A day or two before the deadline for sending in the letter of application, call the company and verify that the letter has been received.

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