Give General Advice • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


When asked for advice, respond quickly. Give advice only on the subject you have been asked about. Keep your advice simple and to the point. Make it easy for the reader to respond if he or she wants to discuss it at greater length. Keep the tone of your letter constructive.

How to write this advice letter:

  1. Explain why you are writing. If needed, summarize the problem your advice will address.
  2. Give your advice, including what action you feel the reader should take.
  3. Give reasons for the course of action you recommend.
  4. If needed, include a disclaimer.
  5. End with encouragement for the reader. Make responding easy.

Example Letter #1


I am flattered that you asked for my advice on your upcoming home purchase. In this market it has been difficult to go wrong, until about four months ago. Today the buyer must be very shrewd indeed. I recommend you contact John Doe, who is a licensed appraiser and also does in-home consultations. It is important to have someone truly knowledgeable on your side. Of course, this advice may be worth just what it costs you, but we bought our house in a similar market and John helped us a lot.

Example Letter #2


I am flattered that you would request my advice regarding your career path. I can tell from your letter that you have given much thought to your ultimate goal and I encourage you to continue weighing advantages versus disadvantages.

You state that your goal is to own a computer software development company. The question is, do you concentrate now on gaining knowledge and experience in management and finance, or do you increase your technical skills?

From what you describe, it seems that you are giving equal importance to each area. Perhaps you should concentrate on the area you have the most enthusiasm for at this time. I believe a conscious awareness of that preference may help you make your decision. Let me know if this helps!

Example Letter #3


You asked me whether you should take the position at Doe International. I thought long and hard about this and could only come up with one reason not to: You are obviously happy in your present job. You are one of the few people I know who loves his work. Unless Doe will make you even happier, I recommend staying where you are.

As you know, accepting the position would require moving your family. Your children would have to make new friends in new schools, and you would leave many great friends behind. Would you enjoy that work as much as you enjoy what you are doing now. You have to decide whether the move would be worth these costs. Give it some more thought. I wish you well in your decision. Let me know if I can help further.

Example Letter #4


I appreciate your confidence in asking for my advice regarding running for the position of mayor of Springfield. I don't have a lot of experience in politics, but I will share my thoughts on the matter.

I think it is time for new leadership in the mayor's office, and your experience as a city council member has been good preparation for the position. In addition, you are respected for your many years of community service in the city sports program and on the volunteer fire department.

On the other hand, you would be running against John Doe, and he has a lot of support from the business community. You would have to take into consideration the amount of support he will receive from that group. He will receive ample financial backing from them, but if you can get the support of the education leaders, I think you can have a very good chance of winning.

I know there are many factors for you to consider; this won't be an easy decision. Whatever you decide, you can count on my support. If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, don't hesitate to call.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Explain why you are writing. If needed, summarize the problem your advice will address.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • You asked me what I thought of your possible career choices.
  • I was flattered when I received your letter asking for my advice on the career decision you are considering.
  • I have given the situation you described in your letter a lot of thought, and offer the following suggestions.
  • I am flattered that you asked for my advice on choosing which college to attend.
  • Ever since you asked for my opinion about a new Doe line, I've been thinking about the situation. I have tried to weigh the obvious benefits against the sizable costs.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • a possible solution to
  • after reviewing your
  • asked what I thought of your
  • asked for my advice on
  • asked me about
  • asked for my opinion about
  • based on our experience
  • ever since you asked
  • from personal experience
  • have given careful consideration to
  • have given the situation
  • have given this a lot of thought
  • have been thinking about
  • raise some interesting points
  • share your concerns about
  • that you asked my advice
  • the situation you described
  • to the concerns you raised
  • want to thank you
  • want to let you know
  • was flattered that you should
  • your upcoming decision

2 Give your advice, including what action you feel the reader should take.

Sample Sentences for Step 2
  • I really can't answer your questions. A better resource might be John Doe. He is knowledgeable about schools in that area.
  • I would advise you to stay where you are unless you find a very good reason for moving.
  • You might consider taking the job on a trial basis.
  • In my opinion you should consider hiring an accountant.
  • I believe it would be a very bad idea to take out the home equity loan that you are considering. I strongly advise you not to do it. A safer course would be to borrow against your paid-up life insurance policy.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
  • a safer course would be to
  • approach this from a different perspective
  • before you make a final decision
  • believe it would be wiser to
  • consider the following strategy
  • happy to recommend
  • is an excellent time to
  • it appears to me that
  • know very little about
  • may I suggest that
  • might want to consider
  • might be a better resource
  • my recommendation is
  • one tactic might be to
  • really can't advise you
  • should probably focus on
  • strongly advise you to
  • suggest that you consider
  • think that you should
  • urge you to review
  • would be a good idea to
  • would be a bad idea to
  • your best approach seems to be to

3 Give reasons for the course of action you recommend.

Sample Sentences for Step 3
  • I know from talking with your parents that you are interested in attending an eastern university. Here is my list of top universities for you to consider.
  • If you are content with your current position, I see no reason to uproot your family. Write down the pros and cons of accepting the position in Boston as well as staying where you are. You have been with the same company for several years, and you already have a successful career.
  • Doing so would eliminate much of the record keeping I know you dislike and would make tax time a more pleasant experience.
  • This would present a much smaller risk and would give you enough available funds for your current needs. As I see it, the biggest problem with home equity loans is that interest can add up and you may put ownership of your home in jeopardy.
  • Although the loan would give you more immediate cash, it would end up costing you several thousand dollars in the future.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
  • although it would give you
  • considering the risks involved
  • considering the pros and cons
  • considering where your interests lie
  • doing so would almost certainly
  • farther down the road
  • for your current needs
  • from personal experience
  • have no doubt that
  • if you are content with
  • in addition to
  • in the long term
  • most beneficial to you
  • see no reason to
  • show substantial improvement
  • the advantages of this course of action
  • the biggest advantage of
  • the reason for my suggestion is
  • the biggest problem with
  • will pay off in the end
  • would send the message that
  • would end up costing you
  • would eliminate much of
  • would be to your advantage to
  • would be in your best interests to
  • would present a much smaller risk
  • your commitment to

4 If needed, include a disclaimer.

Sample Sentences for Step 4
  • This is only my opinion.
  • You must of course use your own judgment in this matter.
  • This is just something for you to consider.
  • I may be completely wrong, but I thought it would at least give you something to consider.
  • Without being in your shoes, I cannot know for sure.
  • I really can only guess what it is like in your situation.
  • Before you make a final decision, perhaps you should look into John's idea.
Sample Phrases for Step 4
  • am not really qualified to
  • based on my experience
  • before you make a decision
  • before you make a final decision
  • can never be certain
  • cannot know the entire situation
  • cannot promise immediate
  • don't feel bad if
  • feel free to
  • for you to consider
  • give you something to think about
  • if you don't agree
  • is only a suggestion
  • it's perfectly all right
  • know very little about
  • may prefer to
  • may be completely wrong
  • my feelings will not be hurt if
  • no matter what happens
  • please look into the possible
  • please keep me informed
  • remember that this is only an opinion
  • so far as I know
  • this may solve your problem, but
  • to weigh all the possibilities
  • use your own judgment

5 End with encouragement for the reader. Make responding easy.

Sample Sentences for Step 5
  • I hope you find this advice helpful.
  • If you would like to discuss this further before making a final decision, let's do it over lunch some time this week. I'm happy to be of help. Call me (555-5555), and we'll set a time.
  • Let me hear from you. I would like to know what you decide to do and how it goes.
  • I am confident that whatever decision you make will be the right one for you. Let me know what you finally decide.
  • I hope this advice fits your needs.
  • Before you make a final decision, I'd like to meet with you to see if we can find a better long-term solution.
Sample Phrases for Step 5
  • am confident that you will
  • am sure that you will
  • are on the right track
  • be happy to be of any help
  • deserve much credit for
  • get input from others
  • have confidence in your ability to
  • have a good sense of
  • hope that you will
  • hope you find this advice helpful
  • if I can help further
  • if there is anything else I can do
  • let me hear from you
  • that you will follow through
  • that everything will turn out fine
  • the end result will be good
  • to discuss this further
  • what you finally decide
  • whatever you decide
  • whatever decision you make
  • will do the right thing
  • will follow through with
  • will do a great job
  • will do your best
  • will do whatever is necessary
  • will make a wise decision
  • will undoubtedly succeed
  • will support you in your choice
  • will make the right choice
  • will be the right choice for you
  • will be fine
  • wish you success
  • would like to know

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