How to Write a Request Letter | Request Letter Format


A request letter is a formal letter written by a sender to seek permission, access to information, approval or any other thing from the recipient. It can only be used for business or professional purposes even though the sender can mention his/her personal reasons or conditions in order to validate his/her formal request. A simple request letter format can be easily explored through the dozens of websites that provide templates and samples of different type of request letters. However, the content of the letter should always be written in the own language of the sender in order to make it sound genuine and authentic.

Request Letter Sample Format

A request letter is a formal letter and therefore the rules and guidelines that you follow while writing a formal letter must be followed here as well. However, the language of the letter must be simple and polite as you are requesting for favor, permission or an item from the recipient of the letter. Also, the writer of the letter must try to keep the tone as simple as possible without being overtly persuasive or demanding. These are the tips that one can follow while writing a request letter:

Keep the Letter Short - Like all the formal letters, the request letter needs to be short as well. Some people do not understand this and write long request letters which can be time-consuming for both the sender and the recipient. Also, the recipient could possibly be a higher authority person who does not have that much time for reading long and boring letters.

Therefore, the sender must keep the letter short, to the point and the purpose of the letter must be clearly mentioned to avoid any ambiguity or confusion.

Be Humble - A polite tone is required while writing any formal letter since the recipient is mostly an unknown person or a person with a higher position in your organization. However, the sender must be extra polite and humble while writing a request letter since he/she is expecting the recipient to act in his/her favor. Also, the sender must provide details and reasons to make his/her request sound appropriate. However, the sender must keep in mind that he/she must not be overly polite or emotional while stating the reasons as it can create a doubt in the mind of the recipient.

Moreover, the sender must avoid praising the individual in the letter and at the most, he/she can praise the institution or work culture of that particular organization or company or the department which gives the decision making power to the recipient.

Avoid Unnecessary Details - Writing fluff and mentioning unnecessary details should be completely avoided since it will make your request letter lengthy and the main purpose of the letter might not get conveyed in an accurate way. Also, do not give too much personal information especially when it is not related to the type of request you are going to make in the letter.

If a person mentions a reference or boasts about his/her connections in the letter then the recipient will not take it in a good way. Therefore, try to sound as normal as possible to avoid unnecessary complications.

Proofread it Twice - A request letter is an official letter and therefore grammatical mistakes, spelling errors and incorrect information should be avoided at all costs. It is a good practice to proof-read your request letter twice before sending it to the respective authority or organization.

The salutation of the letter should be perfect and your respect should reflect in the way you address the recipient in the letter.

Informative

While the request letter must not contain any unnecessary details, it should also not miss out on important facts and details that support your request. For example, while asking for a leave an employee cannot forget to mention the department and team in which he/she is working for along with his/her employee number. This not only makes your request letter accurate but it also makes it easy for the recipient while taking the decision.

Usually, the first paragraph of the letter must explain your request and motive of writing the letter and the second paragraph must contain the essential information and valid reason that strengthens your case. Also, do not forget to showcase your courtesy in the last paragraph and thank the recipient for considering your request.

The format of the letter is similar to that of a regular formal letter. Therefore, the information of the sender must be provided initially which must be followed by the date on which the sender has written the letter. After that, the information and designation of the recipient must be mentioned which should be followed by the subject line.

After stating the subject of the letter clearly, you must address the recipient in a proper way. Once you address the recipient, the main body of the letter follows. Do not write big and lengthy paragraphs and therefore do not write more than three sentences in the first and second paragraph. The third paragraph must be shorter and should contain at the most a couple of short sentences to convey your courtesy to the recipient.

You must follow the formal or business letter format while writing a request letter irrespective of whether you are sending an e-mail or even when you are sending a hard copy of the letter to the recipient. Therefore, it is important to understand the format of the letter first and then you can focus on the core purpose or motive of writing the letter.

This is a general format of the request letter:

Name of the sender
Designation of the sender
Address of the sender
(These details should appear on the topmost left corner of your business letter or email)

The date on which the letter is written

Name of the recipient
Designation of the recipient
Address of the recipient
(These details should follow immediately after leaving a one-line space in your letter or email)

Subject line specifying the purpose of writing the letter which in this case will be a request

Now, address the person name & Details to whom you are writing this request letter. The most commonly used salutations are Dear Mr. (name of the recipient) or Dear Ms. (name of the recipient). However, you can also use ‘Respected’ in place of ‘Dear’ whenever you find it more appropriate.

After the salutation part, do not start writing the main body of the letter immediately. It is generally considered to be a good practice hitting ‘Enter’ button once or twice before writing the main body. This makes your letter more readable and presentable. Do not forget to maintain this vertical space between two paragraphs as well as it will make your business letter look perfect.

It is a good practice using fonts like Arial, Calibri, etc. while writing a request letter since these fonts are readable and easy to understand for everyone. You can also make certain parts of your letter bold such as the subject line, your employee id (roll number in case of students), and other key details to assert their importance in the letter.

Do not forget to add a thanking note before you end the letter. This is a general way of acknowledging the recipient since he/she has taken time and efforts to read your request letter. After that, you can end the letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’ or simply ‘Sincerely’. If the person whom you are writing a letter to has the same title or designation as yours, you can also use ‘Regards’ instead of ‘Sincerely’.

After writing ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Regards’, you need to enter some vertical space so that you can sign in between that space. After that, you can mention your name and designation. This will conclude your formal request letter.

How to Write a Request Letter?

There can be different ways of writing a request letter especially when the purpose of the letter and the command over the English language differs from person to person. However, the basic format and structure of the letter remain the same. It is a good thing that the request letters are written in a particular way since it makes things easier especially for the individuals who are writing a formal letter for the first time in their lives.

If you follow a proper technique, writing a request letter will not be that difficult. You can also ask a person to write a request letter on your behalf especially when you are not comfortable in writing in the English language. However, it is a good practice to write request letters on your own since it will make your letter genuine and more precise.

Here are the steps that you need to follow while writing a request letter:

Find the person who can approve your request

All the efforts that were taken while drafting a request letter can go in vain if you address a wrong person to approve your request. Therefore, always make sure to address the letter to the right person. If you are not sure about that person it is always a wise decision to take some efforts to find out that right person. For example, if you are writing a request letter to a company or organization, then you can contact the company secretary to get the details of the appropriate individual.

After getting the name of the right person to contact for the request letter, you can get his/her phone number, e-mail id, designation in the company and other details which you deem as necessary.

Send the letter in advance

You must always send your request letter in advance because the recipient might not find or read it immediately after you send it. It becomes more important when you are requesting for a time-based request such as a leave request. Therefore, always give enough time to the recipient to take a decision on your request. It is a good practice to send the request letter at least one week in advance but some requests could take longer time so it will also depend on the nature of your request.

Things you should follow while writing a request letter:

Address the recipient properly – Do not use informal greetings such as ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, or any other greeting which is inappropriate to use in a formal letter. If you are not sure if the recipient is male or female then avoid using ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ after the greeting. Just mention the complete name of the recipient in this case.

Introduce yourself – Introduction of the sender is necessary especially when the recipient does not know the sender. It is generally a good practice to include a couple of short introductory lines before getting in the main purpose of the letter. This will not only inform the recipient about the sender’s name and designation but it will also be useful if the recipient wants to verify that the sender is genuine or not.

Be polite – You should always keep one thing while writing a request letter. This thing is to remember that the recipient is not liable to accept or request. Therefore, you should always make an effort to convince him/her to accept your request. As a result, be polite and humble but also avoid sounding clingy or cheesy at the same time.

Avoid using lines such as ‘I will never forget your favor in my whole life’, ‘I will always be grateful to you if you grant my single request’, and such other lines which show desperation on the part of the sender. Also, do not sound demanding and avoid using lines such as ‘Please ensure that my request gets immediately accepted’, ‘I deserve to get this (request)’, and such other lines which show that you are being rude and adamant.

Do not get apologetic and also avoid being flattering in your remarks while writing a request letter. For example, you cannot say ‘I apologise for the work which will be compromised during my absence’ while you are writing for a letter asking for leave as it will be like showing artificial empathy for the organization you are working for. Also, stop buttering your boss in a request letter as it will not help your cause but might even spoil the chance of your request getting approved.

Specify the importance of the approval – It is important for you to specify the importance of the request and the benefit or help it will give you on getting approved. This is usually done with the help of one closing line in the second paragraph. Also, do not forget to provide proper evidence to justify your request. For example, if you are asking for a one-week leave due to your mother’s sickness, do not forget to attach her medical records to justify your request.

Also, do not forget to offer assistance to the recipient if your request needs that. For example, do not shy away from offering compensation if you are asking for multiple copies of your medical report from a doctor as the copies have to be re-written and printed by some person.

How to write a letter of request for consideration

A letter of request for consideration is similar to a simple request letter except for the fact that you are asking the recipient to consider yourself or the person who you are referring to as right for a particular post, event or job. This is usually written by individuals to companies to secure a job especially when there are too many similar applications filed-in for a single vacancy.

Therefore, a person needs to explain his/her work experience, expertise, and skills in detail which might improve their chance of getting that particular job or assignment. These are the tips that you can follow while writing a letter of request for consideration:

Be honest – Do not mention false or incorrect details just to flatter the recipient. Always be honest and mention something only when you are absolutely assured of it.

Provide evidence – If you are asking for a special consideration based on your medical condition or issue then you need to provide enough evidence to justify your request.

Explain your case – Mention the skills that make you worthy of special consideration. If you do not have the required skills at least try to highlight the other points of your personality and profession that would enhance your chances of being considered.

Do not forget to mention your work experience and details about the past job and company where you last worked in. Also, do not shy away from mentioning your special accomplishments. For example, if you have received a ‘Star Performance’ or ‘Man/Woman of the Month ’or‘ Rising Star certificate during your tenure in a particular company, then do not forget to mention it. Last but not the least; do not forget to thank the recipient for reading your letter.

These were some basic things that you must follow while writing a request letter.

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