Good writing is good communicating. With the growing importance of the Internet in our day to day lives, a vast amount of communication is written. For this reason, it’s very important that you learn to write great formal letters. How can you do that? Read on and we will explain it for you.
Common Formal Letter Mistakes
These common mistakes run you the risk of losing the respect of whoever reads your letter. Avoid them for better success.
- Generic address: Ditch the “Dear Sir or Madam” and the “To Whom It May Concerns”. Find out who you’re writing and address them specifically.
- Typos: Nothing makes you look unprofessional quicker than typos. Proofread your work carefully before you send it.
- Lack of clarity: Make it obvious a) why you’re writing and b) what actions are expected or requested of the reader. If it’s obvious, as in a cover letter, state the position you’re applying for and your qualifications. The point should always be obvious.
- Incorrect length: Keep it to three or four paragraphs. Be concise about the reason you’re writing – don’t waste people’s time.
- Informality: This is a formal letter. Don’t use slang, and you may wish to avoid contractions as well. Keep your tone professional and neutral.
- Unsigned letter: Always sign your letters above your typed name. This adds a personal touch and shows you’re an actual human applying for the job.
Example of Business Letter with Mistakes
Don’t make your formal letter look like this:
To Whom It May Concern,
I’m writing for the position of schoolteacher. I have six years of experience in the field. I’ve taught two different grads before and am confident that I can teach at your school to. I think I would be a good fit because I’m patient and good with children.
Aside from the issue of length – this is too short – what did Wilma do wrong? First, she didn’t address the letter to a specific person. Second, she failed to go into detail about her qualifications. Third, she didn’t prove that she’d done research into the school – she should have explained why she’d be a good fit for this position specifically. She used contractions. Finally, she made a few typos, such as ‘to’ for ‘too’ and ‘grads’ for ‘grades’. In short, this isn’t professional or convincing.
Don’t be like Wilma. Write a competent, creative formal letter, learn how to become better writer.
Make Your Writing the Best
With these common mistakes in mind to avoid, your writing will be much better. But you can excel more by practice. Write all the time, even daily, and you will learn the skill inside out. And don’t forget to ask for assistance with writing a professional letter. Sometimes even a little assistance can make a big difference.