How to address a letter

There are some things you must include when addressing formal or business letters. They are critical when you want to impress the recipient and get a quick response.

Geoffrey Mutie
Geoffrey Mutie

Nowadays, the preference to use emails and short messaging services has taken the world by storm, but writing letters is still appropriate for some occasions.

Formal letters are often used in today’s world when sending job applications and in various formal communications, so it’s still important to understand how to address a formal letter despite the wide adoption of emails and SMS.

To create a positive impression on the recipient and help you stand out from the rest, you should follow the standard rules of addressing a letter professionally. This includes the letter address, date, salutation, and sender's details.

Rules of professional letter writing

There are some things you must include when addressing formal or business letters. They are critical when you want to impress the recipient and get a quick response. They include:

Names and addresses

First, you need to choose the letter format: block, or indented. Begin with your address (sender) on the top left corner of the envelope. This includes your full name, street address, ZIP code, and state or city.

Letter Address Header

The exact format is used for the recipient’s address below the sender’s address. Write the recipient or company’s full name followed by street address, ZIP code, city, and state.

Date

Include the date on which the letter was written and sent. It should be aligned to the right or left margin. Consider writing the day and year in numbers, while spelling the month out.

For instance, “March 29, 2020”

Salutations

Use “Dear sir or madam” if you don’t know whether the recipient is a woman or a man. In most cases, the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” addressing technique is often used in letter salutations where the recipient’s name is known.

However, it’s more professional to use “Ms.” than using “Mrs. or Miss,” which tends to appear outdated.

For example:

Dear Mr. John
Dear Ms. Jones
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Geoffrey Mutie

My name is Geoffrey! I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my writing skills and my interpersonal skills, which in my opinion help a person be professional.


Cecilia Gigliotti

I have extensive experience writing in a variety of genres, from literary novels to music reviews to academic articles. I appreciate the power of words.

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Geoffrey Mutie

My name is Geoffrey! I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my writing skills and my interpersonal skills, which in my opinion help a person be professional.