1. Do Address The Recipient Respectfully
Finding out someone’s official title may actually take a little research on your part, but it will be well worth the effort. First, find out whether the person uses an official title (Dr. for example). Without this important sign of respect, you’ll run the risk of insulting your reader before she has even begun reading. After the greeting or salutation, place a colon before skipping a line and beginning your business letter.
2. Do Present Yourself Well With Professional Stationery
Business letters, cover letters, and professional letters of all types are often your first and only chance to make a great impression. In the same way that you would wear your nicest, most professional attire to an interview or important meeting, you should put your best foot forward with high-quality, professional business stationery that it is a reflection of you and your business.
3. Do make your intentions clear
Especially when dealing with busy professionals, it’s important to be specific and candid about what you want. It’s even more important that you get to the point within the first few sentences. Studies show that readers simply lose interest if the intent or meaning of a letter is not made explicitly clear within the first paragraph. Keep the concentration on what you are trying to say and/or what you want to happen after the recipient has read the letter. In most cases, you should leave the reader with a specific follow-up action (i.e. "I will call your office next week to follow up on this matter," or "I look forward to your response").
4. Do Proofread
The spell-check and grammar functions on our computers have helped us, but hinder us at the same time. There is no "auto-correct" on a hand-written letter, so you’ll have to become your own editor! One great idea is to type your letter using your word processor to check for any mistakes before putting your pen to paper. There are also multiple web sites that will allow you to check your spelling and grammar. But, the most important advice we can give is to read and re-read your letter, than read it again before sending it. Often, we can’t see our own mistakes, so it’s important to "walk away" for a while before coming back and editing your work, or you can give your letter to a friend or colleague to edit. It’s important to send your letter in a timely matter, but it’s more important that any errors, misspellings, or typos don’t reflect poorly on you or distract from your important message.
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