Professional Resume Writer, Career Writer and Career Coach
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where a text or phone call just won’t do these days. With communication at our fingertips, you may think learning how to write an address is a superfluous skill. But it’s a skill that will come in handy when you need to fill out healthcare forms, ship a package, order food delivery, or even apply for new jobs.
Address formats are precise—just one typo on your job application documents can render your address useless or make you look unprofessional. Below, we list how to format every type of address so you can craft your resumes and cover letters with confidence.
Definition of an Address
What good is a letter with no one to send it to? An address allows mail carriers to deliver your package or letter to the correct home, building, or P.O. Box. How you write an address may differ from country to country, but in general, U.S. addresses have these informational pieces:
- The recipient’s first and last name
- Street number and name (address line 1)
- Apartment or unit number (address line 2)
- City, state and zip code (address line 3)
- Country (if mailing internationally)
For every letter, package, parcel, etc., you must include the sender and recipient addresses.
How to Write an Address Correctly
Writing an address is a step-by-step process, and the exact format will vary depending on the type of address you’re writing (don’t worry; we’ll break down each type below). However, the general format includes:
- A recipient’s full name on the first line.
- The street address or post office box number on the second line. If there’s an apartment or unit number, include that on this line, too.
- The city, state, and zip code on the third line.
How to Write an Address on an Envelope
When an e-card just won’t suffice for your graduation celebrations or your follow-up thank you notes, you may need to send a card via the mail in an envelope. When addressing an envelope, you must use two addresses: the sender’s and the recipient’s.
The recipient’s address goes in the center of the envelope. The sender’s address—likely your own address—goes in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope opposite the stamp. A sender’s address is needed so a postal service knows where to return the mail if it can’t be delivered to the receiver.
Most residential recipient and sender addresses will look like this:
DONALD DUCK 123 MAIN STREET ORLANDO, FLORIDA 12345
How to Write an Address on a Business Letter
You’ll handle sending something to a business in much of the same way you would a residential address; however, there are a few other elements you’ll need to add to ensure delivery.
Here’s how to address a letter to someone at a business or company:
- First, write “Attention:” or “ATTN:” before the recipient’s name.
- After adding the recipient’s name, be sure to add the professional designation or title (such as MBA, R.N., or CEO). Put the comma between their last name and the designation.
- If you’re addressing a letter to a specific department rather than a person, replace the personal name with the department name.
- Then, write the name of the business on line two.
- Line three should include the building number and street name.
- Lastly, write the city, state and zip code on line four.
Most business addresses look similar to this:
DONALD DUCK, V.P. (or CHARACTER DEPARTMENT) WALT DISNEY WORLD 123 MAIN STREET, BUILDING 1 ORLANDO, FLORIDA 12345
How to Write a Military Address
To send something to a military member, you’ll need to know a few distinct pieces of information. Follow these steps for how to write a military address:
- First, write the recipient’s name on line one (with or without the rank).
- Next, write the word “UNIT,” “CMR” (Community Mail Room), or “PSC” (Postal Service Center) and box number on line two.
- Then, write the post office type on line three:
- DPO for Diplomatic Post Office (diplomatic locations)
- FPO for Fleet Post Office (Navy and ships)
- APO for Air/Army Post Office (Air Force or Army)
- Line three continues with an abbreviation of the individual’s duty station. For example, “A.A.” is used for U.S. service members, while “A.E.” is used for Armed Forces Europe.
- Lastly, finish line three with the zip code.
Most military addresses look like this:
SGT. DONALD DUCK UNIT 1234 BOX 123 APO AA 12345-6789
How to Write an International Address
Address formatting varies between countries. Before sending, we suggest double-checking your formatting with USPS guidelines for international addresses to ensure you follow specific country customs.
- First, write the recipient’s full name on line one.
- Next, record the street address or post office box number on line two.
- Line three should include the city, town, other principal subdivisions (ie. province, state, county, etc.) and the postal code. (Line three is typically different from U.S. formatting)
- On the last line, write the country name in English.
Most international addresses in Europe look like this:
DONALD DUCK 123 MAIN STREET 12345 PARIS FRANCE
How to Write a Return Address
Return addresses, also known as sender addresses, are formatted just like recipient addresses. The only difference is that it lives in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope instead of the center, and it includes your own information.
Most U.S. return addresses will look like this:
MICKEY MOUSE 987 MAIN STREET KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA 67890
How to Write an Address on a Resume
Career professionals debate whether including addresses on resumes is necessary given the rise in remote working and the reliance on email over physical letters. Still, most hiring managers appreciate a general location on a resume to ensure the candidate’s location is suitable for their hiring needs.
Whether you include your full address is a personal choice. Many modern resume formats list all contact information on a single line, with your location listed alongside your email address and social profile URLs (optional).
Most resume examples will look like this:
123 MAIN STREET, ORLANDO, FLORIDA or ORLANDO, FLORIDA 12345
Additional Tips to Write an Address Properly: Not to Avoid
To ensure your packages get to the right location, follow these tips for writing an address properly:
- Don’t forget to include a stamp. Place it on the upper right-hand corner of the envelope opposite the sender’s address.
- Include the full zip code to ensure proper delivery. In the U.S., the full zip code is the five-digit number, followed by a more individualized four-digit sequence separated by a dash.
- Use a pen to write an address, not a pencil. This ensures the address doesn’t get smudged or become illegible in the mailing process.
- Write in all caps, and avoid cursive fonts that are hard to read.
Frequently Asked Questions About Addresses
How Do You Write an Address In a Sentence?
When writing an address on one line or in a sentence, use a comma before the apartment or suite number (if applicable), the city, and the state. Do not use a comma before the zip code.
Should You Use Abbreviations In Addresses?
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to abbreviate words in an address, as long as you follow the proper formatting above. Do not add punctuation to your abbreviations.
How to Write an Address In Letter Format?
First, put your contact information in the upper left-hand corner, including your:
- Zip Code
Then, write the recipient’s address (in the proper format) in the center of the front of the envelope. Place the letter inside the envelope and mail it.
What is the U.K. Address Format?
Unlike American addresses, U.K. addresses have the town and postal code on separate lines. The street name has its own line, followed by the town or city on another and the postcode on the next line. If you’re sending something to the U.K., remember to write the destination country on its own line.
What is the USA Address Format?
The U.S. address format begins with a full name, followed by the street number and the street name, followed by the city, state, and zip code. Most U.S. addresses are three lines.
What’s on the inside is your choice, but it’s important to follow the proper guidelines for the outside of your mail. Even if you aren’t technically sending your letter through the mail, you should still proofread the address carefully.
Now think, who in your life could use a thoughtful thank you? Go on, send ’em a letter. You know how, after all.