Letter Writing - Intro • Part of total job search process • Communication skills indicator • No single correct way, but generic impersonal form letters don’t cut it
Types of ‘Job Search’ Letters • Application/cover – to apply for a specific position • Appreciation/thank you – to follow up • Prospecting – to inquire about general availability of positions • Networking – to arrange an informational interview/meeting • Acceptance – to accept and confirm a job offer • Withdrawal – to remove your job application from consideration • Rejection – to decline a job offer
Examples of NON Job Search Letters in Business • Purposes: • To present a sales proposal to a customer. • To present a financial proposal to a customer. • To set up a committee meeting. • To set up a business meeting. • To offer a position to a new employee. • To communicate to fellow employees a new company policy. • To write a letter of recommendation in support of a colleague for a new job. • To request and justify company support of a specific departmental proposal (e.g. new equipment, additional funding). • To request information or additional information. • To respond to an inquiry.
Letter Writing Principles(apply to all letters) • Identify purpose, at the beginning • Organize material into paragraphs • Be professional • High quality paper • Error free • Address to specific individual • Be succinct, get to the point
Letter Writing Principles(apply to all letters) • Be positive • (optimistic, productive, reasonable, responsible) • Cater to reader’s interests • Sign and keep copy
Letter-writing principles also apply to letters: • Handwritten • Sent via e-mail
Other Technical Suggestions on Letters • Center letter (side to side, top to bottom) • Capitalization • Don’t overdo it (e.g. no need to cap job titles, seasons of the yr, courses taken, senior, agriculture, etc.) • Punctuation • Don’t overuse commas, semicolons; use periods to avoid run-on sentences; no need to use period after two-letter abbreviation of state or street • Spelling • No mistakes (use spell check); pay attention to hyphenated words (e.g. in-depth, two word adjectives preceding noun).
Other Technical Suggestions on Letters • Small words better than big words • Examples: try vs endeavor end vs terminate begin vs commence • Short sentences better than long sentences • Example: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ – Neil Armstrong • Use consistent verb tense (active preferred) • Example: don’t write ‘consistent verb tense should be used’
Other Technical Suggestions on Letters • Use conversational style • Example: ‘There has been an affirmative decision with regard to program termination’ vs ‘The company is ending the program’. • Example: ‘Enclosed herewith is the aforementioned and requested information’ vs ‘I am enclosing the information you requested’
Q. What do the following have in common? • indepth • first hand • alot • all around • midwest • coop
A. They all contain an ‘error’. • in-depth • firsthand • a lot • all-around • Midwest • co-op
Application Letter Paragraphs (e.g.) • 1st – purpose, interest, position, source • 2nd – qualifications, evidence, refer to resume • 3rd (+) – sell yourself • 4th – suggest action (interview, meeting, phone call). Show appreciation.
Thank You Letter Paragraphs (e.g.) • 1st – purpose (express appreciation, follow up) • 2nd – reemphasize qualifications, reiterate interest • 3rd – provide supplemental information (if any) • 4th – reiterate thanks
Acceptance Letter Paragraphs (e.g.) • 1st – Purpose • 2nd – Confirmation of terms, action to be taken • 3rd – Express appreciation, reiterate interest