Suppose you are applying for a job, sending a business proposal, requesting a business meeting, or mailing a package and do not know the recipient’s name. In that case, one way to address your letter without it looking informal is to use an attention line.
Directing a letter or mailing a package to a specific person has several benefits. An attention line ensures that your letter gets delivered to its intended recipient.
Here’s everything you need to know about an attention line—when to use it and other related questions.
What Does Attention Line Mean?
An attention line is written on a kind of business letter. It is simply an extra line added to your letter indicating who it will be handed to.
It is included in the recipient’s address or on an envelope. A business letter begins with the sender’s address and other info at the top left corner. The attention line is written above the recipient’s info line, and above the firm’s name.
The format for a business letter with an attention line should look like this:
Attention: Director of Finance
When To Use An Attention Line
Attention lines are to be used only when necessary, like when you do not know the name of the recipient of your letter, but you do know his or her title.
Note: It is unnecessary to use an attention line when you know the recipient’s name and title. Instead, simply include the recipient’s name and title as you would a normal business letter.
How to Write an Attention Line on A Letter/ Mail.
When you have an attention line on your Mail, it is easier to pass it on to whom it is intended without breaching privacy. However, this can only be achieved if the attention line is properly written. Here’s a simple guide on how to write an attention line:
Step 1. Location of the attention line
The attention line is written in an attention section to help navigate a letter or mail to its recipient. It must be the first thing people read.
The best place to write attention is on the face of the envelope. is written at the top of your delivery address, above the recipient’s name.
Write “ATTENTION” followed by the recipient’s name or title. You can also abbreviate it to “ATTN.” Use a colon after ” Attention.”
Attention: James Willow Or Attn: James Willow
Note: If you want to add a topic for your letter or address any topic the letter indicates, begin the next line with “RE:” and then add the topic for the letter.
Step 2. Include Company’s Name
Write on the next line the name of the business or organization where the recipient works. This makes your mail look professional.
If it is a large company and the recipient works in a particular department, include it on its line before you write the company’s name. Doing so helps the letter get to the recipient as quickly as possible.
Step 3. Write the street address
On the next line, write the recipient’s full company street address in one line. Include directional signs like North, south, east, and any unit number.
Also, note that some companies share buildings with other businesses, so it is expedient to include not just the street address.
Step 4. Write the city, state, province, and postal code
The city, province, and postal codes go on the last line. Use a comma to separate each piece of information. You should write the province in a capitalized abbreviation. And if you are sending the mail outside your country, we’re the country’s name on a separate line below the city, province, and postal code.
Step 5. Proofread the attention line
Review the information displayed in the attention section for any errors in spelling or detail before sending out your letter.
Any wrong information may result in your mail being sent to the wrong person. Once you’ve cross-referenced all the details, put a stamp in the upper right corner of the envelope and mail your letter.
Following these steps, your attention section should look like this:
ATTENTION: (Recipient’s name or title)
Re: (Letter’s topic) (optional)
(Recipient’s department) (optional)
(City, province, and postal code)
(Country’s name) (if sending abroad)
Other Ways To Use An Attention Line
- Attention lines can be used in more instances than just a written letter.
- Attention lines also come in handy when you’re mailing an urgent package. It helps the recipient identify said package easily, and for who is delivering it, find the recipient quickly.
- For when you want to communicate with upper management directly. It helps you skip through the assistants
- To address a department rather than one person. You can address your letter to a department if you want their attention.
- When returning a correspondence or package. Attention lines can also be used when mailing an item to someone who has sent it. The attention section ensures that they know their item didn’t reach its intended recipient.
Is an Attention Line the Same as a Subject Line?
No. An attention line and a subject line are not the same. They do not mean the same thing.
The subject line is the part of business correspondence that refers to a specific subject. It is to inform the reader what the letter entails. It also emphasizes the importance or urgency of the letter.
It simply summarizes your letter. A good subject line aids effective business communications.
This line begins with the word “subject.” An example of a subject line:
Subject: Application for the post of a clerk. Or, Subject: Sponsorship request for a business idea.