This pathfinder is designed for people looking for guidelines to write a business-related letter. This may include letters written at the workplace and personal letters written to businesspeople (such as a letter to the landlord). Both print resources and web resources are included.
Getting StartedIf you know you need to write a letter and are not sure how to do it or what to say, a few of these resources may give you some ideas on both form and content.
Print resourcesThere are several books that discuss several different types of letters in one volume, with examples for each one. Some provide tips and templates; some even give phrases and words that may be useful. The following may be found at your public library or at Amazon.com
Useful call numbersLibrary of Congress: HF 5383, HF 5717-5746
DDC: 383, 384, 652
The 100 Most Difficult Business Letters You'll Ever Have to Write, Fax, or E-Mail : Clear Guidance on How to Write Your Way Out of the Toughest Problems You'll Ever Face by Bernard Heller. Booklist calls it "a good starting point".
For both personal and business letters, try The Only Personal Letter Book You'll Ever Need by Judi Barton. This book includes letters both for personal and professonal occasions, with chapters on: Apologies, Complaints, Introductions/References, Employment, Letters to Builders and Landlords, Requests for Information, and more.
The following books are similar to the above, with tips and samples:
Everyday Letters for All Occasions by Jack Maguire
For letters of intent, try The Grant Application Writer's Handbook by Liane Reif-Lehrer.
For cover letters, check out the classic Cover Letters that Knock 'Em Dead by Martin John Yate. It explains the purpose of the cover letter, what to include, what not to include, how it should look, and lots of examples. It's been called the "paint-by-numbers" approach to cover letters.
Internet SourcesMost of the internet sources are samples, tips, or some combination thereof, of what to include in a letter. Look at the samples if you want to get ideas for format of the letter.
200 Free Cover Letters for Job Hunters
Letters of IntentUniversities and researchers may create letters of intent to apply for funding for academic projects:
Foundation Center: What should be included in a letter of inquiry?
Letters of ResignationTurning in your Resignation
This page is a very basic template one can follow to write a generic letter of resignation. It's a good starting place, especially if you've never written a letter of resignation before and you don't mind if you letter is pretty generic.
Customer ComplaintsSample Complaint Letter
This helpful sample letter highlights various components of a complaint letter, and is part of a larger guide to How to Complain.
Letters of RecommendationLetters of recommendation are not just for high school students going on to college! (Although useful tips for them are found here, too.) As an employer or an employee, it is important to know the kind of information that goes into a good recommendation, as you may ask for such a letter or be asked to write such a letter at some time.
This page is most suitable for a graduate student applicant who wants recommendations from professors.
Guidelines for Writing Letters of Recommendation
Similar to the above:
Letters of Reference
How to ask for a reference:
AssociationsAmerican Communication Association
The American Communication Association is devoted to studying the theory and principles of human communication.
You may also wish to see Employment Resources
This pathfinder was created by Laura K. T. Stokes