How To Write An Effective Request Letter
If you need something from someone such as permission to take a makeup exam or a donation to a charity, you will want to put your request in writing. To appear professional and respectful, request letters should be brief and to the point. It should include your contact information, details of your request and a time when you expect to get a response.
Common Reasons for Writing a Request Letter
- Asking your employer for a raise in salary
- Asking for a job interview in your field
- Asking for a contribution to a charity
- Asking for a bonus for an exceptional job
- Asking for a stop-payment on a check
Whatever the reason you need to write a request letter, the style is the same. It should be a formal business letter addressed to a specific person unless you don’t have a name. Then it should be addressed To Whom It May Concern.
You may or may not know the person to whom you are writing, but, even if you know the person well, the letter of request should be formal. For example, you may have a cordial relationship with your bank manager, but request letters should still be formal business letters.
Tips for Writing Effective Request Letters
The first thing to consider when planning your letter is to make it short and sweet. This means every sentence counts, and your request should be explained precisely right from the start. One tip is to consider three things before you start typing. You should know clearly why you are making the request, what results you want and any details the receiver may need.
Take a few minutes to think about the person to whom you are writing. Think about how this person can help you and if they are in a position to grant your request or need to consult others first. If you are fully organized and ready to start the letter, go ahead. If you are still not sure how to proceed, you can make an outline that includes all the tips above for planning the letter. This will help you write the letter in a clear language.
Common Best Business Practice
The language you use should be polite and respectful when you make the request. This is a common best business practice. For example, you may say, “I would like to respectfully request a meeting with you at your convenience to discuss waste management.” It would not be polite to say, “I am in charge of waste management in my school and need to get some ideas from you.”
If your request is related to something that occurred in the past or future that prompts the need for a request, you should enclose copies of any documents that support the request.
For example, if you missed an important exam and need to take it as soon as possible for your career, you should enclose a doctor’s letter or medical records that prove why you were absent. If you are requesting a donation to a cause or charity, you should enclose a brochure or flyer that clearly explains the nature of the cause.
Without being overly sentimental, the language you use in the letter should prompt the receiver to grant your request. For example, if you missed an exam or business connection because of illness or injury, you may explain in a few words how this has disrupted your life and the urgency to make it up. If you are asking for an interview with a respected person in the community, you may explain the great benefit to your career to have a few minutes with the eminent individual.
Correct Business-Letter Format
Use the correct business-letter format. Start with the recipient’s name and address then put the date. After that put your name and address and then put Re: to state the purpose of the letter. For example Re: Requesting to stop payment on a check dated DATE
After the Re:, write the body of the letter with all the information the recipient needs such as pertinent dates, check numbers, optional dates for an interview or the date of a charity event. The letter should contain all of your contact information including street address, email address and phone numbers.
The last line should give a suggestion, not a command, of when you need an answer. For example, you can say you need to know as early as possible or you can say you need action before the check reaches the bank or you can ask for a response before the date of the charity event.
Don’t forget to proofread. If you need help, you can use a grammar-checker online or if you know an English expert, ask them to edit the letter. Professionalism requires correct punctuation and grammar. This will help the receiver decide to grant your request because you look like a serious person when all your ‘I’s are dotted and ‘T’s are crossed!
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