How to Write a Letter to a Person for the First Time

By Alex Ramirez
You'll want to talk a lot about who you are in your first letter to someone.

It can seem a bit daunting to write someone a letter for the first time, and although letters are far less common than they used to be, they still provide an effective way to create a lasting relationship or to get a point across. Regardless of the purpose of your letter, you can follow several guidelines when writing a letter to someone for the first time. You'll want to focus on the purpose of the letter, but you will also want to spend some time focusing on yourself.

Write a salutation at the top of the letter to the person you're writing to. Common phrases are "Dear Bob," or just stating the person's name. Both are accepted and are just a way to make sure the correct person is reading the letter.

State who you are at the beginning of the letter. While some readers will examine who signed the letter, many go straight into the letter from the top and work their way down. Help the reader by letting him know who is talking to him right away.

Explain why you are contacting him. There are dozens of reasons to contact someone, so you'll want to immediately let him know why you have written to him.

Spend the rest of the letter expanding upon why you are writing the letter. Whether to describe yourself to a new pen pal or to detail the effects of pollution to a local politician, stay on topic when writing your introductory letter.

Provide a complimentary closing line at the end of the letter. Some of the most common lines are "Sincerely," or "Cheers," depending on what area of the world you are from. "Cheers" is a phrase typically used in the European countries, whereas "Sincerely," is typically used in the United States.

Tip

Keep the tone of the first letter professional, regardless of the purpose. Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling in your letter.

Keep the article as concise as possible. No one wants to have to read a letter from someone they don't know longer than they have to.

About the Author

Alex Ramirez has been a freelance writer since 2006. With a background in public relations, Ramirez has been featured in publications ranging from Gamers Daily News to USA Today. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from the University of Central Arkansas.