How to Write a Formal Letter to whom It May Concern


One of the most effective ways of communication to address various concerns at both the personal and institutional levels is through writing formal letters to the intended persons or entities. Among the reasons for writing such letters may include placing formal requests for equally diverse purposes, recommendation or acknowledgment of persons for a job position, and a range of other requests or formal decline of the same. It is, therefore, imperative that one passes or rather creates a positive impression through excellent writing skills embracing the recommended guidelines for such an undertaking to avoid any form of misunderstanding from the recipients of the letters. Provided herein are a set of the common requirements, guidelines, and factors to consider for writing a formal letter To Whom It May Concern. The following simple steps presented by apply to both the typed and handwritten formal letters.

Blocks for writing a formal letter

One of the factors to consider for writing a To Whom It May Concern letter is the type of block that one is going to use to convey the intended message. The blocks for writing a letter refer to the writer’s marginal alignment of the text on the page. One of the three types or forms of blocks through which one can arrange the letters of the text on a given page is the block format. In this particular format, the alignment of each of the paragraph on the page is to the left margin with a double-line space separating all the paragraphs making up the text. It is one of the most commonly used block formats and comes highly recommended for its simplicity and clarity in appearance. Another format for writing formal letters is referred to as the modified block format. In the modified block format, the writer has to make an indentation of five spaces for each paragraph and place the dates and the signatures of the letter at the center of the page. It has no specific spacing between the paragraphs as one is free to use either the single or double spacing. The third format that a writer can use to align the text is the semi-block format. The text alignment for the format is similar to that of the block format with the only difference occurring in the five spacing indentation at the beginning of each paragraph. A double line spacing applies for the separation of the paragraphs. It is advisable to refer to the numerous sources available on how to write a letter or a formal letter example for a better understanding of the difference in the three blocks for writing. All these block are very important as they show your level of education.

Dates placement in a formal letter

The date of writing the letter plays a significant role in determining the urgency of the matter or the message a person wishes to address. The date should appear after the writer’s address with a single line spacing to separate the two aspects of the letter. However, the modified block format makes an exception from this guideline as it requires placing the date and the sender’s signature at the center of the page.

Recipients name Placement

Placing the recipient’s name on the letter is also a key factor for consideration as it portrays your knowledge and understanding on how to address a formal letter. The name of the person at the other end of the correspondence comes right after the date with a single line separation between the two entries. To Whom It May Concern letter does not have a specific recipient and thus the department of interest should make for the name, which is followed by the institution or company to which the writer seeks to address their diverse purposes for writing.

How to address the Recipient

On placing the recipient’s name, one should also be careful of how they address the person of concern or rather the individual who is responsible for responding to letter’s message. It is advisable for a person to do a background research on the person involved so as to avoid coming off as gender insensitive. The use of formal titles such as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. is effective in such letters where background information on the person is available. It is an important aspect of how to start a formal letter on which the writer should put more emphasis owing to the positive impact it has on their impression to the recipients.

Body Letter Block formats

The above stipulations outlined in the blocks for writing letter apply in the body letter blocks. The alignment of the body’s text follows the guidelines for each of the aforementioned blocks style of formatting. The block format, for instance, requires the alignment of each paragraph to the left margin of the page without indenting. The semi-blocks format also follows the same alignment with the only difference being the five spacing indentation to the right at the beginning of each paragraph.

Block for signing off

The last aspect of formatting a letter deals with placing of the writer’s signature upon completion of the text. The writer’s signature should align to the left margin of the paper except for the modified block writing format, which places the signing off at the center of the page.


The outlined steps and procedures should facilitate the writing of an excellent formal letter, to whom it may concern, as they are in line with the recommended letter structure. The outlined guidelines are further applicable to other formal writing tasks.