Prince’s Trust/ Microsoft Writing formal letters Introduction

Prince’s Trust/ Microsoft Activity 2
Writing formal letters
Today most of us use our phones to text and call people. If we have
some business to do or an important enquiry to make we may send an
But when you start applying for jobs, that changes. Many employers
will ask job applicants to write a letter explaining why they are the
right person for a particular job.
Writing letters and the Team programme
During the Team programme you will write important letters to
different people and organisations.
These letters will include:
- requesting donations
- requesting community project support
- enquiring about work placements
- job search letters
- short covering letters
- longer application letters
Writing a good letter can take a lot of effort, particularly if you have
not written many letters before. The following section gives tips on
how to lay out letters and then you will do an activity that will give you
the chance to use your word processing skills to create impressive
formal letters.
For more details of the pilot, please go to:
It is important that you practice these skills because they will help you
do well during the Team programme. Being able to write a good
application letter will also help you apply for jobs in the future.
A few reminders
Here is a picture of a blank letter and a list of letter ingredients. Could
you use this list to label each part of the letter?
Yours …
9. Your signature
10. Middle paragraph
Closing paragraph
11. Heading
The address of the organisation you are writing to
Your name printed
Introductory paragraph
Your address
Here are a number of word processing features that are often used to
arrange information within a letter. Which ones you would use to
create the above letter?
A align left
line spacing
B underline text
spelling and grammar check
C bold text
D centre
align right
For more details of the pilot, please go to:
Top Tips for writing formal letters
All the letters you create on the Team programme are formal
letters. That means they should appear business-like and follow
a standard layout.
All your letters should be word processed and printed on good
quality A4 paper.
Keep your letters brief – one side of A4 is usually enough.
All formal letters must include your address and contact details as
well as the address of the person you are writing to.
It also makes sense to include a short heading highlighting the
purpose of your letter.
In the first paragraph explain why you are writing- e.g. I am
replying to your advert in the Local Guardian for the job of shop
assistant, or, I am writing to ask whether your company would
support our community project by supplying some building
If it is an application letter, use the middle paragraphs to tell
them how your skills and experience match up to their
requirements. E.g. I recently completed a work experience
placement at the local Department Store and enjoyed helping
customers and working with the other people in the shop. My
placement report also said that I was good at timekeeping and
that I dressed appropriately for work.
If it is a letter requesting information or a donation, make sure
you explain exactly what you need and by when. E.g. our project
aims to decorate a hall used by a parents and toddler group in
time for their Christmas Party. To do this we need companies to
sponsor us by supplying materials like paint and washable
In the final paragraphs, you need to finish the letter in a positive
way, e.g. by saying “I look forward to hearing from you.”
If you want some more tips on how to create formal letters before you
do the practice tasks, have a look at the “Brush up your word
processing” document first.
For more details of the pilot, please go to:
Practice Tasks
Here are two short tasks. Do the one that seems most relevant to
you. You can use a letter template or design the letter yourself.
You will find lots of help on how to create a formal letter in the word
processing section of “Brush Up your IT Skills”.
You saw an advert for a warehouse assistant to join your local
supermarket when you visited the Job Centre. The job advert
stressed that they were looking for someone with some retail
experience who was punctual and had good communication
skills. You have recently completed a placement at a local
builder’s merchant which you enjoyed.
Write a formal covering letter to the personnel officer Mrs.
Farrah Jones at Booths Stores, 22 the High Street, Wrightington
Lancashire, WG42 3YH. Explain why you would be the right
person for the job and say you are enclosing your CV.
Your Team programme is going to help a local old people’s home
turn a garden lawn into a vegetable patch for residents to look
after. This will help them save money on food and encourage
them to keep active. You need to get the following materials:
bags of compost, gardening equipment and plants.
Write a formal letter to The Manager, Portview Garden Centre,
Smithsfield, Hull, HL15 3HN explaining what you are doing and
why it is a good idea. Explain what help you need and ask them
to make a generous donation.
Use the form provided to record this task. You can cut and paste the
form into a new document once you have completed the task.
The more you practice writing letters, the better you will get at it. This
will make it much easier for you to apply for jobs.
If you have another 15 minutes, why not try the other practice task
For more details of the pilot, please go to:
Your name:
Writing a formal letter
Highlight the word
processing features that
you used in your letter.
align left
align right
line spacing
underline text
bold text
spelling check
grammar check
List any other features
you used (e.g. font, font
size, italics, styles,
indents, etc).
Read your letter
carefully. Can you spot
any spelling mistakes?
Does the layout of the
letter look business-like?
How could improve the
Does the letter read well?
How could you improve
what you have written?
Has the letter printed
well? Would you change
the print settings if you
had to print it again?
What was most difficult
about writing this letter?
Who would you ask to
help you write letters in
Cut and paste this form into a new document, complete the form and
save it.
Now print your letter and the form and keep them in your ILR as
evidence of your IT skills. Remember, if you are going to use this work
as evidence towards a qualification you will need to prove that it is all
your own work.
Finally, email your letter and the completed form as attachments to xx
(Team contact) and copy to [email protected].
Team leader comments:
These learning materials are new and we would appreciate your feedback on how to
improve them. Please send your comments to [email protected].
For more details of the pilot, please go to: