There are many different work situations that can require a business letter. Whether you need to respond to a job offer, initiate a change to a part-time schedule, or begin a salary negotiation, a well-written letter allows you to discuss your situation in a thoughtful and polite way. An effective business letter showcases your professionalism and can set the stage for a positive response. However, a poorly written letter can sound whiny and selfish, leading a supervisor to question your value as an employee.
When you need to create a letter for a work situation, it can be tough to know where to start. One of the best ways to find inspiration is to study high-quality letter templates. Reading through sample letters can give you a feel for what sort of tone to use and what information to include in your own document. Our business letter templates and customized writing tips included below are just the tools you need to develop your own effective and professional missive.
Business Letter Templates
Letter of Intent
You may use a letter of intent in an application packet for an internship, a work-study program, or a full-time job. It’s important to be clear about your goals as well as the benefits you can bring to the organization. Study our business letter templates for tips on content and formatting.
Letter To Change From Full Time to Part Time
Sometimes, life circumstances take your focus from your job. If you are dealing with illness or want to further your education, you may want to ask your employer to allow part-time hours until you can return to a full-time schedule. Our business letter templates can help you make your request in a clear and effective manner.
Counter Offer Letter
Have you received a job offer with an unacceptable salary amount? It’s time to draft a counter offer letter. This sort of writing can be tricky; you want to be firm about your compensation requirements without jeopardizing the job offer you’ve worked hard to secure. Find out how to frame your request graciously by studying our business letter templates.
Salary Negotiation Letter
Between annual reviews and new job offers, you’ll probably have to negotiate your compensation at some point in your career. This can be a stressful situation, but creating a strong salary negotiation letter can help the process go smoothly. Take a look at our business letter templates for ideas to effectively demonstrate your value.
Business Letter Writing Etiquette
1. Be as concise as possible
Your manager isn’t going to feel inclined to grant your request for a higher salary or part-time schedule after he or she has slogged through multiple pages of rambling details. Confine your letter to a single page. Before you start writing, make sure you have a clear idea of the main points you want to get across, and then make your case using succinct, polite sentences. Include all the necessary information, but avoid repeating yourself or going off topic.
2. Use real numbers
When you’re crafting a counter offer or salary negotiation letter, it can be tempting to be vague about the financial details in an attempt to avoid appearing pushy or greedy. However, you cannot effectively discuss a salary without clearly defining the numbers. Most negotiation experts recommend asking for a salary slightly higher than you will accept so there is room for the company to negotiate your original counter offer. Don’t forget to mention benefits, vacation time, and perks, if you want to discuss those, but do so after you’ve settled on financial compensation.
3. Invite discussion
Many situations that require a professional letter are complex and need a good deal of discussion to resolve. Your document should read like an invitation to talk about the matter rather than your final word on the subject. For example, if you are requesting part-time hours, ask your manager if you can schedule a meeting so you can create a schedule that works for both you and the company. If you are trying to use a good performance review to negotiate a higher salary, request a meeting with your manager and a human resources representative.
4. Do your homework
Before negotiating your salary or creating a counter offer letter, do some research on the salary statistics for your industry and position. If you present a number that is way outside the average salary range for someone in your field, it can make you look inept and unprofessional. Use tools such as Glassdoor Salaries or LinkedIn to learn what a professional in your industry and location with your level of experience should expect in terms of compensation.
5. Think it through
Before sending any professional letter, think through all the aspects of your request along with the possible responses. For example, make sure you have calculated the potential loss of income and benefits if you switch to part-time work. If you are submitting a counter offer to a hiring manager, be aware of all the possible results. You may get everything you’re asking for, but you could also lose the offer entirely. Make sure you know what sort of alternatives you will accept and whether you are okay with walking away or losing the company’s interest.
6. Consider non-financial alternatives
When you’re negotiating your salary with your current employer or a new employer during the hiring process for a new job, remember there are many facets of compensation beyond your paycheck. You may place a high priority on flexible vacation time or the chance to telecommute. Transportation perks and tuition reimbursement are other popular benefit options. Write your letter in a way that prioritizes your requests so you have a better chance of getting the things that matter most to you.
7. Show your company spirit
Regardless of the circumstances behind your desire to switch to part-time hours, such a request can seem like you are abandoning the company and your colleagues. Use your letter to counter this perception as much as possible. If you are planning to continue your education, discuss how your new degree will improve your work performance. Show that you want to remain loyal to the company despite a personal illness or change in your family situation. As you can see in our business letter templates, it’s essential to indicate how your requests can benefit the company as well as yourself.
8. Allow as much time as possible
Companies and educational institutions can be complex organizations that require large amounts of work for even small changes. It can take a long time for your internship or schedule-change request to go through the proper channels. Send your letter as early as possible to allow the maximum amount of time for everyone to negotiate and process the changes.
9. State your reasons
Especially when creating a letter for a counter offer or salary negotiation, it’s vital to give proof for the compensation you’re requesting. Simply stating that a salary is too low for you isn’t likely to get you anywhere. However, if you back up your salary request with evidence of your professional value, it can be much more effective. You can mention your formal education, professional development courses or certificates, years of experience, or specific skills and qualifications. You can even use the original job description combined with market salary statistics and similar job postings to justify the validity of your salary requirements.
10. Be positive and enthusiastic
Whether you are asking for a higher salary, different hours, or consideration for an internship, it’s essential to remain positive and professional in all communications. Avoid writing with a confrontational or hostile tone. Instead, create a professional and conversational appeal that reinforces your enthusiasm for the job and company. Begin your letter with a polite salutation, and close by thanking the reader for his or her time and consideration. Remember, your conduct during the negotiation itself can have a profound effect on whether your request is successful. Throughout all written and spoken communications, showcase your professionalism to reinforce the benefits the company receives by acquiring and keeping you as an employee.