5 Most Common Types of Letters

Wanna tell your parents happy anniversary, send some love to your sweetheart? Maybe you need to hire a lawyer or wish an old friend happy birthday.

No matter what your message is, a physical letter is the best way to give your words some extra significance.

While it might not seem that common in the era of social media, people actually send letters all the time and for all sorts of purposes, both personal and professional.

These are the 5 most common or popular types of letters:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Admissions Letter
  3. Love Letter
  4. Resignation Letter
  5. Celebratory Letter

Regardless of what type of letter you are looking to send, the first thing you need to know is that all letters share the same basic structure.

That is:

  • Address to group or individual
  • Intro
  • Body Text
  • Closing/Farewell
  • Envelope

Every letter should start off addressing the intended recipient(s). The recipient can be an individual or a business, either case you should list their mailing address followed by their name.

If your letter is for a professional matter, like applying to a job, be sure to address the individual with a formal prefix such as Mr. or Ms. Here is an example:

Mr. John Smith
Senior Business Advisor
ABCD Corporation
123 Maple Drive
Somerset NJ 08854

After the address, go straight into your intro in the first paragraph. This is where you want to let the person know what the intention of you letter is. For example:

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am writing in response to your article on electric cars and want to let you know it really inspired me. …”

Then you can go on to the body of your letter to say all the things you want to say.

When you’re finished writing don’t forget to sign it and seal it with an envelope!

Now let’s go into the five most common types of letters and how you can best use each one to get your point across.

Cover Letter

You’ve most likely heard of a cover letter or written on yourself either for a job application or a school exercise. Cover letters are essentially letters you send to an employer in addition to your resume that explains why you want the job

You should always use professional language in a cover letter because you could be writing to your future boss! So keep it straight forward and always spell check.

In addition, a cover letter shouldn’t be long so try to avoid adding “fluff” or unnecessary information. The person in charge of hiring for that position likely has a lot of applications to read and won’t have the time to read long letters.

With that said every cover letter should cover should follow this general outline:

  • How did you hear about the job?
  • A brief description of your relevant skills and experience
  • Why you are qualified and a good candidate for the job

Here is an example:

To Whomever it may concern,

I learned about this position through your website and believe I can meet your needs as a Media Coordinator. I am a highly-organized, self-motivated worker with experience in event planning and budgeting. In the past I have worked as a Studio Assistant and Office Manager, and am accustomed to working directly with high-level executives.

I am always zealous to take on new challenges and grow my skills by working as part of a team to achieve a goal. I believe my combined experience, skills and motivations will make me a valuable addition to your team. I look forward to hearing from you.


After you’ve written your cover letter be sure to attach your resume and give it a spelling check before sending!

Application Letter

Are you looking to apply to the college of your dreams? Or maybe applying to that academic program you’ve been eying? You’re going to need an application letter!

Unlike cover letters, an application letter can be personal because it’s about you. While you still want to keep it on the professional side, you have the freedom to say whatever you want.

Many academic programs set a limit to application letters or essays, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when you are writing.

Generally, the word limit for application letters is 1000 – 5000 words, but this can vary depending on the program you are applying to.

The most important part about writing an application letter is to be sure that you give the reader a sense of who you are, and the best way to do that is with a personal anecdote.

It can be a story of a time you were in a difficult situation and had to think outside the box to solve a problem, or a time when you worked hard towards a goal and had to compromise.

Writing about yourself can be challenging. Here is an example of a way to start your letter:

“Dear Admissions Dean,

My name is Steven and I am a graduating student of the class of 2020. I am a student who works hard and loves to learn but I am also an athlete, a brother, a role model, a son and a prankster. These are the parts of me that make me who I am. …”

Ideally, a good application letter will give the reader a good idea of the kind of person you are, whether that’s funny, charismatic, driven, etc. Highlight your strengths!

Love Letter

Old letters tied with velvet ribbon

Although it might not seem common, love letters are still a common way people express their love to one another. And nothing is more heartwarming than words that come from the heart!

If you are looking to write a love letter but not sure how, don’t worry!

Love letters are among the easiest to write of all the common types of letters because you are writing to someone you know best. Nobody understands your significant other quite like you!

Luckily, even if you do struggle to find the right words there are several ways to help give your love letter some extra creativity.

Resignation Letter

Resignation letters are so common because almost everyone has to write one at some point in their life, whether its because of a new job opportunity or maybe you’re finally taking your side hustle full time.

No matter the reason, a resignation letter is necessary to inform your employer you will no longer be working there.

It’s important that you keep your tone professional when writing a resignation letter, even if you are not on the best of terms with your employer.

Professionalism is necessary here because it serves as physical document of your leaving, but also a representation of you as an employee. A good resignation letter helps you in the long run when looking for other jobs.

In addition, a resignation letter is your opportunity to explain why you are leaving that job, although you don’t necessarily have to, and give your employer recommendations on the their management style or work culture.

With that said here is an example of how you can start off your resignation letter:

“Dear Ms. Johnson,

I recently received an exciting new job offer and regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Production Assistant. Please let this letter serve as my two week notice of resignation.

It has been a pleasure working with you and I thank you for opportunities you have provided me as your employee. With that in considered, after being a part of the team for over a year I would like to leave you with a few recommendations to improve work place moral …”

Lastly, another thing to keep in mind when writing your resignation letter is how much of a notice you plan to give your employer. Depending on your job or workplace, you may be required to give at least 2-3 weeks notice that you will be leaving.

Celebratory Letter

The last but not least common type of letter is a celebratory letter! It’s essentially a letter you send to someone in celebration of anything, an anniversary, a graduation, a baby shower, even a pet’s birthday!

These are letter that you can have fun with and get creative. Add a riddle, or a poem, or even a silly drawing. If it makes you smile chances are it will make the reader smile too.

There are no rules to writing a celebratory letter, however they tend to be time sensitive since they are centered around a specific date or holiday. So you’ll want to be sure that you send it in time for the special day

Even if your letter isn’t able to arrive on the exact day of celebration, a good rule of thumb is earlier is always better than late!