The digital era of texting and sending direct messages has made a majority of us forget the skill of writing and addressing a letter with ease. Knowing how to address a letter using the correct format is essential. It is useful when you are trying to impress your employer during job seeking, social networking, or even when sending business correspondence to your customers and employees.
Are you wondering how to address a letter? No matter whom you are communicating to, you can transform your handwritten notes into something formal that will help you create a good impression. A well-addressed formal mail will not only make your message look attractive but also shows how serious and organized you are.
Smart tips on how to address a letter
Below are some tips on how to write a mail:
1. Choose the correct letter address format
There are varieties of formats to use, but block format is the best for formal emails. Each word in a sentence starts at the margin.
2. Write your contact information at the top
It is essential, especially when you do not want to miss an opportunity of getting feedback from the recipient. Else, you might end up losing a great opportunity that you had been waiting for.
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3. Mention the date
The date of writing is included immediately after your contact details.
4. Write the recipient's address
Skip a line just below the dateline and write the recipient's mail contacts. For a situation where you do not have the correct address, you can call the company to provide you with one, or you can search the contacts on the internet.
5. Putting a salutation
The formal greeting is essential in any correspondence. It should be as simple as possible.
6. Addressing one recipient
When you want to address a mail to an individual, choose the appropriate title that will not land you into trouble:
- In case you know the marital status of the recipient, you can salute them Dear Mr [Name], Mrs [Name], Miss [Name] or Ms [Name] followed by a comma or colon. However, most women prefer to keep their status private, and therefore it would be advisable to use Ms instead of Mrs or Miss.
- For more professionalism, people with unique titles like a doctor or professor, you can recognize the title, such as Dr. [Name] followed by a comma or colon.
- In case you do not know the gender of the recipient, but you know the name, you are supposed to use the gender-neutral greeting. Use their two names such as 'Dear Pendo Watamu' then followed by a comma or colon. Alternatively, you can salute them as' Dear Sir/Madam' to avoid confusion.
- In some situations where a company specifies the recipient department, such as human resource manager, you can salute them as:
'Dear human resource manager' then followed by a comma or colon. You need to be careful when using this salutation on how to address a business letter because a small error might land your letter into a different department.
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How to properly address a letter to more than one recipient
If the recipients are less than five, you should address them using first names with their formal titles. The names are separated using a comma, for example, Dear Dr Mark, Dr Boka, Prof. Ahoga.
In case you are writing to recipients in different locations, such that each person receives a copy of the mail, you indicate by using 'cc' which stands for carbon copy. It is indicated at the bottom of the mail, after the signature.
Skip a line
(List the names of the recipients following an alphabetical order separating each name using a comma)
When addressing letter to a large cohesive group of more than five members, you should use a salutation that caters for the whole group, such as:
- Dear fellow secretaries,
- Dear sales department,
- Dear colleagues,
When writing to a family, you do so as a unit. You can consider using some of their names but not full names such as the ones highlighted below:
- Dear Brandon and family,
- Dear Catherine and James,
After greetings, you can skip a line and start writing your mail.
Knowing how to address a letter will help you maintain a professional relationship through proper communication. When you do it appropriately, it does not matter the type of information you want to relay; you are sure of the best interaction with the recipient.
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