Different Forms of Business Letters (With Examples)

Updated 6 September 2023

Business letters are an important communication tool in professional settings. You will probably need to know how to write different types of business letters and emails throughout your career. This may include an interesting cover letter when applying to a position, to a persuasive sales letter or a formal resignation letter. In this article, we discuss the three formats of business letters, different forms of business letters and standard business formats.

What Are The Various Forms Of A Business Letter?

Here are the various forms of a business letter:

Cover letter

A cover letter is a business letter typically sent with your resume when applying for a job. While not all employers require a cover letter, it gives you an opportunity to explain your professional experience, qualifications, and interest in the company and job. A cover letter should include the following sections:

  • Contact information

  • Salutation

  • Purpose of the letter

  • Qualifying skills

  • Conclusion

Related: Guide: How To Write A Business Cover Letter (With Tips)

Letters of recommendation

A letter of recommendation is written on behalf of another professional to verify their work ethics, skills and qualifications. A letter of recommendation can strengthen an application for higher education, employment or another professional opportunity. A recommendation letter should include the following sections:

  • Relationship of the recommendation

  • Evaluation of the candidate's qualification

  • Examples

  • Closing statement

Related: Guide: How To Write a Recommendation Letter for a Student

Interview follow-up letters

You can send a follow-up letter after interviewing for an open position to thank the interviewer for their time and to show your interest in the job further. A follow-up letter should include the following sections:

  • Overview of the interview

  • Skills related to the position

  • Gratitude

Related: How To Write A Follow-Up Email After An Interview With Tips

Offer letters

An offer letter is an official offer of employment that describes the specific terms of the position. If you agree to the terms the letter offers, then you will sign the offer letter and accept the job. An offer letter should include the following:

  • Job description

  • Job title

  • Requested start date

  • Salary and benefits

  • Acceptance timeline

Related: Job Offer Letter Format (With Useful Examples)

Sales letter

The purpose of a sales letter is to introduce a service or product to a client or customer. Sales professionals often use these letters when contacting prospective buyers or strengthening relationships with long-time clients. A sales letter often includes the following:

  • Description of product or service

  • Cost

  • Call to action

Related: How To Write a Sales Letter (With Format, Examples and Tips)

Letter of commendation

Letters of commendation are a form of employee appreciation, and companies send them out to the entire staff to congratulate an employee for a job well done. They may include the following:

  • Purpose

  • Details of commendation

  • Call to action

Related: How to Write a Recommendation Letter (With Examples)

Letters of resignation

A letter of resignation informs your employer of your intent to resign. While you may verbally notify your coworkers and employer of your plans to leave, many organisations prefer to have an official letter for documentation purposes. A letter of resignation often includes the following:

  • Statement of resignation

  • Reason for leaving

  • Dates

  • Thank you note

Related: Resignation Letters: Tips, Templates and Examples

Thank you letters

A professional thank-you letter is an important way to let colleagues, employers, vendors or other business contacts know you value their time and efforts. Sending a professional thank-you letter will build rapport with the recipient and communicate your intentions for the future. It might be appropriate to send a thank you letter after someone helps you with a job search, when a customer makes a purchase or if a business awards you a contract. You can also send a formal thank you letter to simply state your general esteem for someone. A business thank you letter typically includes the following:

  • A greeting

  • Reason for gratitude with specific examples

  • Details from your conversation

  • A polite closing

Related: How to Write a Professional Thank You Letter

Complaint letters

Complaint letters are usually sent by consumers to businesses when they are not happy with a service or product. Businesses may also occasionally need to write a complaint letter. For example, an employee may be asked to write a complaint letter on behalf of a company that is dissatisfied with a product. Components of a complaint letter include:

  • A formal greeting

  • A description of the purchase

  • Explanation of the problem

  • Specific requests or resolutions need

Related: Different Forms of Business Letters (With Examples)

Apology letter

An apology letter is an important tool in the workplace that acknowledges a mistake, expresses regret and asks for the letter recipient's forgiveness or patience. Apology letters create a formal record of your admitting to and attempting to rectify a mistake or failure. An apology letter should include the following:

  • An acknowledgment of the mistake

  • A sincere apology

  • Your plan to fix the problem

Related: Apology Letter Format: How To Write and Examples

Standard Business Letter Format

The standard business format contains these components in similar order:

  • Contact information: This component is very important, especially if you are sending a physical business letter. You need to include your business address, name, mobile number and email address.

  • Subject line: The subject line indicates what the letter is about. It is mostly used when sending a business letter via email.

  • Greeting: The greetings you use depends upon the business relationship you have with the recipient. If you are sending the business letter for a new job or follow up on your job application, use formal greetings. If you have an established relationship with the recipient, you can use their first name.

  • Introduction: This section of the letter is used to gain the attention of the reader. You may include the purpose and what outcome you are looking for in the introduction.

  • Detailed information: You share the detailed information in the body of the business letter. You may explain everything in detail, ask questions or share additional information.

  • Conclusion: The conclusion should clearly specify the call to action for the reader, like how they can place an order of the product, share the quote of their offerings or reach out to you for further information.

  • Signature: The way you sign the business letter depends on your relationship with the reader. You can sign it by simply writing your name or with your designation and credentials.

Related: How To Write A Professional Business Loan Application Letter

Three Formats Of A Business Letter

The different business letters are written in the same manner with similar information, but there is a difference in the layout of the letters. Below are the three formats of a business letter:

Block format

This format is a formal business letter format. The format has no indentations for the paragraphs and all text is aligned on left.

Ms. Tanu Malik, CEO
ABC Ltd.
S.E.O. 4321, Vasant Vihar,
162364, Delhi

30th August 2021

Mr. K.L. Batra
Tech Ltd.
S.E.O. 4567, Sector 17
126853, Noida

Dear Mr. Batra,

I would request a demo of Tech Ltd.'s cloud-based management software. ABC Ltd. is a fast-growing manufacturing firm (30% annual year-on-year growth in the last five years). As we strategise to grow in the future, Tech Ltd.'s software looks like a product that may help us grow our sales further. I want to understand and analyse if Tech Ltd.'s software will be a good fit for our company.

I look forward to meeting you at the earliest as your convenience.


Tanu Malik, CEO

Modified block formatting

In this format of business, the letter has no indentations, but everything is not aligned to the left. This format is a little less formal and is followed if you have established relationships with the person you are writing to.

Ms. Manu Malik, Sales Manager
ABC Ltd.
S.E.O. 4321, Vasant Vihar,
162364, Delhi

30th August 2021

Mr. Kavish Sharma
Tech Ltd.
S.E.O. 4567, Sector 17
126853, Noida

Dear Mr. Sharma,

It was great meeting you at the conference last week. As discussed, we believe the CRM tool of Tech Ltd. will help us immensely to streamline our customer data at one portal. I would like to set up another meeting with you along with my teammates, to take this requirement forward and understand the features of the product in detail.

I look forward to your reply with your availability slots.


Manu Malik, Sales Manager

Semi-block formatting

In this format, all the paragraphs are aligned to left and the first paragraph has indentations.


Ms. Shefali D'souza, Senior Manager
ABC Ltd.
S.E.O. 4321, Vasant Vihar,
162364, Delhi

30th August 2021

Mr. D.V. Kishore
Tech Ltd.
S.E.O. 4567, Sector 17
126853, Noida

Dear Mr. Kishore,

This is to inform you we will bring a new payment model effective on 1st December 2021, where we will move from annual payment to quarterly payment cycle. This action has been taken after careful research and feedback from various vendors.

This communication is to keep you updated about the new model and no action is needed from your end. Please reach out in case of any queries.


Shefali D'souza, Senior Manager

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