Writing Job Search letters
- General Cover Letter Outline
- Responding to an Ad
- Prospecting #1
- Prospecting #2
- Interview Follow-Up
- Acceptance Letter
- Interview Follow-up (Don't Qualify)
- Follow-Up to Rejection Letter
Responding to an Advertised Opening
This type of letter is generally the easiest to write because many employment ads provide most of the information you will need to prepare an effective letter (e.g., list of job duties, required qualifications, employer overview, and contact information).
A surprisingly large number of jobs are never advertised (60% by some estimates). This type of letter is an important tool during the job search as it allows you to connect with people who can either help you directly or network with other people who are in a position to hire you.
Asking for an Informational Interview
The purpose of this letter is to help you learn more about options within career fields.it shouldn't be used to find a job. As a liberal arts graduate, you may have difficulty identifying specific types of work for which you are qualified. Compared to an Engineering major, for example, you may have a hard time understanding how your education is connected to the thousands of jobs in the work force that don't require specific degrees.
Interview Follow Up
It is standard to send a thank you letter after your interview. Some employers won't consider your candidacy further unless they receive a follow up letter or e-mail - regardless of how well you did in the actual interview. Your letter should be sent within 3 days after the interview.the sooner the better. Whenever possible, go beyond what was shared in the interview and include additional information that supports why you are the right person for the job.
If you've decided the position isn't what you desire, use your follow-up letter to request that the employer remove you from their list of candidates. Maybe you still want to be considered, but just not for the job you interviewed for. If so, request that your resumé be passed along to someone else in the company who might have a need for a person with your qualifications.
Use this letter to document your understanding of when you will begin employment, your starting salary, and any other agreements that were made during the interview process. Once you send this letter, it is unethical to interview with other employers.
Follow-up To Rejection Letter
This letter is very important for two primary reasons. First, it communicates that you are still interested in working for that employer should there be vacancy for another job that matches your qualifications. Second, should the person they hired back out on the employment agreement, the employer will likely consider the others who were interviewed before re-posting the job. You will stand out as a good "runner up" if you sent this type of letter.
Although there is a general format to follow when writing a cover letter, you'll want to phrase your thoughts so they sound like you. One way to accomplish this is to avoid using words and sentence structures that are too formal and stiff. For example, some cover letter guides suggest the following closing, "I shall contact you within the week to schedule an interview time." But, most people don't use the word "shall" in everyday conversation or correspondence. Remember, nothing turns off an employer faster than getting a letter that looks like the same one every other job applicant is using. The key is to write a cover letter that is appropriate for business correspondence while at the same time being personable.
Demonstrating knowledge of the company is a great way to grab an employer's attention. Find out about the employer's needs and emphasize what you can do to help in meeting those needs. Consider how your work experience, education, and/or personal qualities would be helpful to the employer. Customizing your letters in this way demonstrates that you have done your homework, and on a general level, that you are not one to take shortcuts. Plus, by researching the company/organization, you will benefit by gaining the information needed to assess if you would likely be satisfied working for such an employer.
Other Characteristics of a Successful Cover Letter:
- It's addressed to a specific individual
- It grabs the reader's attention in the first paragraph
- It sounds confident without being arrogant
- It's no longer than one page
- It answers the question--"Why should I interview you?"
- It is action oriented
- It uses the first person ("I") sparingly
- Use quality paper - the same color and weight as your resumé
Summary of Your Outstanding Qualifications
With four years of intensive study of Spanish, including a semester abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, I have developed the bilingual skills you are seeking for Huntington's Personal Banker positions.
Name of a Mutual Acquaintance
Professor R.J. Smith has informed me that your firm is looking for a paralegal who is familiar with chemistry. I hope my qualifications fulfill your needs so you can end your search.
News Item Opening
A recent Columbus Dispatch article described your plans to open a branch office in Columbus. If these plans include expanding your staff of systems administrators, please consider my qualifications that are highlighted below.
Does your company lose business because of weak sales administration procedures? Do all orders get to your customers on a timely basis? The enclosed resumé describes a candidate who can increase your volume while still effectively meeting the needs of your customers.
Replying to a Job Listing
My outgoing personality, sales experience, and recently completed education make me a strong candidate for the Pharmaceutical Sales position advertised in the April 28th issue of Business First.
A complete tutorial on writing effective cover letters is available at QuintCareers.