The most important element of writing a good letter is your ability to identify and write to your audience. If you are addressing your letter to the department of human resources, avoid using highly technical terms that only engineers would understand, even if your letter is addressed to an engineering company, chances are that the personnel in human resources does not have an engineering background.
The next element is that you make sure your present your objective in a clear and concise manner. Don't be vague about your objective, most people will not have the patience to sit there and guess at the meaning of your letter or the time to read a long-winded letter, just get to the point without going into unnecessary details.
Another important element to remember is to remain professional. Even if you are writing a complaint letter, remain polite and courteous, simply state the problem(s) along with any other relevant information and be sure to avoid threats and slander.
The first paragraph should be short and state the purpose of the letter- to make an enquiry, complain, request something, etc.
The paragraph or paragraphs in the middle of the letter should contain the relevant information behind the writing of the letter. Most letters in English are not very long, so keep the information to the essentials and concentrate on organising it in a clear and logical manner rather than expanding too much.
The last paragraph of a formal letter should state what action you expect the recipient to take, what information you'd like them to send, etc.
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