Career Development

How to Write Letter Headings

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Learning how to properly create letter headings can allow you to seem more reputable, especially as it pertains to applying for jobs and other professional endeavors. As one of the most important elements of any letter, letter headings not only provide your reader with information but they also make them appear more professional. This article discusses the various aspects of letter headings and provides a template, an example and some extra tips to create a professional letter heading of your own.

What is a letter heading?

A letter heading is the top section of any letter that provides the reader with your contact information as well as the information of the recipient. Most commonly used on cover letters, professional letters and academic letters, letter headings can be in any format from casual to formal. Although you can create a letter without a heading, doing so is a method of letting your addressee know that the contents of the letter are important.

What to include in a letter heading

Here are the standard elements to include in a letter heading:

Your first and last name

Start the letter heading with your legal first and last name. If you sometimes go by an abbreviated version of your name, be sure to write whichever one you use in professional settings.

The address where you can be reached

This is either your local address, your permanent address, a P.O. box or the address of your company or organization. 

Phone number

This should be the number that makes the most sense. For instance, if you are writing from your employer’s address, you will want to include your work number. If you are writing from home, you will want to include your home or cell number. If you have your own business line, this may be the number you choose to use.

Email address

You will want to include your professional email address or in the case of a friendly letter, you can include your most-used email address. 

How to write letter headings

Here are some steps you can follow to create your letter heading:

1. First, pick your paper

The type of paper you choose to print your letter on can make all the difference. For instance, if you are writing something from your company or job, you may want to use paper that has a company letterhead. In this case, you will not need to include the information that is already included in the letterhead. 

Alternately, if you are using blank paper and already have a header image saved on your computer, you can simply copy and paste that to the top of the document. You can also use fancy stationery to give your letter a more personal touch. If you will be emailing the letter rather than mailing it, you can skip this step. However, you can include a simple graphic design or your company logo. 

2. Second, create your document

You can create your document using your favorite word processing program such as Microsoft Word. You will want to start with a blank document or use an existing letter template. 

3. Third, type your business name

If you are starting with a blank document and writing on behalf of your job or business, you should begin by typing the name of the business in the top left corner. If you are writing a personal letter, you will start by putting your return address in the upper right corner. 

4. Fourth, type your return address

From there, you need to type in the return address of your home, job or business. Alternatively, you can also include a P.O. Box. 

5. Fifth, add optional contact information

You can also include information such as a phone number, email address and your social media handles. 

6. Next, include the date

From there, you will skip a line and write the date. This can be either the date you are writing it or the day you plan on sending it. You can choose the most common U.S. format, in which the month comes before the day and the year. For example, October 30, 2020. 

7. Finally, add the recipient’s address

Skipping another line, and then add in the name and address of the intended recipient. 

Letter heading template

Here is a template you can use as a guide when you are creating your own letter heading: 

[Business name, if sending on behalf of your job or business]
[Street address]
[City, state and zip code]
[Phone number]
[Email address]
[Additional information, such as social media handles]

[Date]

[First and last name]
[Business name]
[Street address]
[City, state and zip code]

Letter heading example

Here is an example of a professional letter heading:

Reality Bytes Inc.
330 Main Street
Albany, NY 12084
Phone: (555) 555-5555
realitybytes@email.com
Instagram handle: @realitybytesinc

January 12, 2020

Joe White
Corporate Computer Solutions
111 Winner’s Circle
Phoenix, AZ 85001

Tips for creating a professional letter heading

Here are some tips for extra guidance to create a professional letter heading:

  • Use Times New Roman or Arial font for business letters
  • Use 12 point font for business letters
  • If you are writing a personal letter, you can customize it as you wish
  • Don’t forget to add a line space between your contact information and the date 
  • Add a line space between the date and the recipient’s contact information
  • Add a line space between the recipient’s contact information and your greeting
  • There is no need to include your name in the heading as you will be signing the document after the closing
  • If you are writing a personal letter, you do not need to include the recipient’s address in the heading
  • If you do not know the recipient’s name, you can simply write the name of the department they work in instead