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December 11, 2014


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I believe bullet lists and headings increase the "skim value" of a business letter, and should be used in business writing.

How about job application letters? Is it a good idea to list the applicant's qualifications instead of adopting the traditional paragraph format?


People don't have time (or patience) to read. I usually try to use bullet points or a list format because even though they'll skip the introductory paragraph, at least they'll get to the important stuff.
I really enjoy these articles. Please keep them coming!

Amy Frushour Kelly

Bullet lists, headers, the works. Whatever it takes to convey the information in a clear, concise manner.

Martha Ray

I agree. Concise summarizing with a heading or use of bullet points is always more helpful to my readers. I prefer it that way as well when I'm the recipient. Blending it into the overall letter format takes some effort. Thanks for your wonderful tips!


I agree with Ms. Kelly and the others. NOT to use all the tools at our disposal just because a piece of communication may be classified as a "letter" strikes me as quaint.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

June, it's fine to use bullet points along with paragraphs in job application letters. It's important, though, that the bullets not repeat the wording of any attached or enclosed resume. You don't want to be repetitive.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

June, Gitty, Amy, Martha, and Jim:

Thanks for commenting! I was happy to read your views.

People at many levels of experience read this blog. That's why I feel the need to point out that not all letters are good candidates for bullet points and other formatting. Letters communicating sympathy, bad news (such as rejection letters), and other emotional content typically come across better without the efficient business look of formatting.



I have always enjoyed reading your posts and have shared a few of them with my co-workers. I prefer using bullet points, especially when I have long list of instructions or when I know my audience are not proficient in the English language. However, sometimes I do get confused if I should use a full-stop, comma, or semi-colon, after each bullet point...

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Louis, this blog post will help you punctuate bullet points:


Thanks for commenting!


Alfredo Deambrosi

Almost anything that discourages big blocks of paragraphs is welcome, in my view.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Alfredo, I agree.


Can we add bullet point in formal and informal letters

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Yes, Sairam, you can include bullet points in formal and informal letters. See my examples in the article above.


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