The official letter

The official letter Formalities, formats and expressions

Official letters are what you write if you have a request, a concern or a complaint. This is also the format you need to use if you or your children are applying for an internship or a job.

A few tips

  • In an official letter, nothing should distract from the content. Use a sheet of white DIN A4 writing paper. Unlike the personal letter, you should refrain from any form of creative composition.
  • Use a computer to write letters to a company or authority. Use one of the common fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman, font size 10 to 12 points.
  • Official letters should be signed by hand. Ensure that your choice of words is businesslike and precise and that your sentence structure and spelling are also correct. Do not use slang or colloquial phrases as you would among friends.
  • Feelings, personal information or excessively descriptive language have no place in an official letter.

The cover letter as an example of an official letter

You’ve found it: the job that will allow you to make your ambitions come true. The work seems exciting and meaningful, you can arrange your hours to leave enough space for your hobbies, and you can get to work conveniently by bicycle. In short, you’ve discovered your dream job. An attractive application letter will make you stand out, increasing your chances of being invited to an interview. But how do you structure that letter? Our tips can help you out.

Salutation The salutation in a cover letter is always formal (even if you have already had contact with any of the hiring managers).
If a contact person is mentioned in the advertisement, address them directly: “Dear Ms/Mr Jones”.
Otherwise: “Dear Sir or Madam”.
No comma should be used after the salutation.
The job In the first section, discuss the position: what exactly interests you about it? Why did the job attract your interest? What are your expectations of your duties? 
Yourself In the second section, talk about yourself: what do you have to offer? Be careful not to simply recap your CV. Instead, highlight what you have learned in your training and previous jobs and set out your knowledge and skills in relation to the specified job profile.
What connects you to the employer? In the third section, look for common ground between you and the employer you are applying to: does the employer represent values that you also advocate? Are you a customer of the employer? Are you fascinated by the employer’s processes? You will definitely be able to find common ground between yourself and the employer you are applying to.
Conclusion Make it very clear again that you are the right person for the job. End your letter with the tried-and-tested formal closing phrase: “Best regards”.
As a general rule, your cover letter should not be longer than one page.