Job seekers often need to create written correspondence related to their employment search. When preparing any career-related letters, keep in mind that your writing ability may be used to judge your ability to express yourself in a clear, logical, error-free manner. For this reason, it makes sense to take extra care in preparing any correspondence to a potential employer.
- Job search letters fall into the category of professional correspondence and therefore should always be typed or printed. Never hand-write any of the letters listed below. Handwritten letters are for personal communication to friends and relatives, not for potential employers.
- Always keep a copy of your letters for later reference.
- Use a standard business font for letters, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Tacoma.
- Do not use a font size larger than 12 point or smaller than 10 point.
- Make sure the letter is aligned left and contains all the appropriate information, such as the date of composition, inside address, salutation, and signature.
The most common forms of employment-related letters are listed below. Click on the name of the letter for a sample.
You should always include a cover letter when sending your resume to an employer in response to a job application. The cover letter can accompany the resume via postal mail, as an e-mail attachment, or be faxed.
The cover letter’s basic purpose is to explain your reasons for applying for the job and how your skills, experience, or other credentials match those sought by the employer. It should end on a positive note, usually requesting an interview at the employer’s convenience. It should not exceed one page.
The follow-up letter is used if you’ve applied for a job and have waited a reasonable amount of time (generally about two weeks) without a response. Restate your interest in the job while inquiring about the status of the position.
A networking letter is used to contact a potential employer who has been referred to you by a third party, usually a friend, relative, or other associate. You’ll want to mention your relationship with the person who referred you to the letter’s recipient and your reason for contacting them.
Thank-you letters are most often used to convey appreciation to a potential employer for granting the candidate an interview. It’s a good idea to mention a topic that was discussed during the interview. This will help the employer remember you more easily since he or she may have interviewed several candidates for the job you are seeking. Keep it short, concise, simple, and genuine.
You’ve gotten the job offer and now want to confirm your acceptance of the offer in writing. An acceptance letter can help clarify some of the conditions of your employment, such as job title, start date, salary, and other items about which you’ll want to be sure there is no confusion.
You receive a job offer, but decide not to accept it. Perhaps you’ve already agreed to employment elsewhere, or you feel the job doesn’t meet your needs. The professional thing to do is to contact the employer as soon as possible and let your decision be known. The employer will appreciate your candor and it will free the employer to make an offer to another candidate. Express your appreciation for the offer, but don’t feel compelled to give an overly detailed reason for your decision.
E-mail and Job-Related Correspondence
The use of e-mail has risen dramatically. The traditional hard copy cover letter printed on fine paper and postal mailed to employers is quickly becoming antiquated. Most job seekers now attach cover letters, resumes, and other documents to their e-mail. The sample letters above may be readily adapted to e-mail correspondence, either as attachments, or as guides for creating the copy for the e-mail message.