- Please remember that you and your situation are unique.
- Strive to allow your individuality to be expressed through your writing.
To a large extent, securing an appropriate position is a challenge of communicating effectively. Job search letters should reflect sound writing practices and promote your candidacy. You must communicate your value to a prospective employer in an understandable, brief and positive way. The following guidelines should help you achieve those goals:
- Design your letters to be work-centered and employer-centered, not self-centered. Your letters are marketing tools that should address the needs of the employers and evoke a desire to learn more about you.
- Never delegate the responsibility of your job search to anyone else. Do all the writing yourself, and take responsibility for following up with employers.
- Always address your letters to a specific individual with his or her correct title and business address.
- Use high-quality stationery and envelopes. It should match your resume paper.
- Keep the letter to one page. Avoid rehashing material in your resume.
- Produce error free, clean copy.
- Tailor your letters for each situation.
- Show appreciation to the employer for considering your application, for granting you an interview, etc.
- Always keep your reader in mind. Make your letters easy to read and attractive.
- Be timely. Demonstrate that you know how to do business for yourself.
- Be honest. Always be able to back up your claims with evidence and specific examples of your experience.
Communication skills are among the most important skills you bring to your career, and your job-search letters usually will be the first samples employers will have of our competency in this area. Your letters should be functional, easy to read and pleasant in tone. Remember: Every communication act is a message about you.
Samples and information adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Planning Job Choices: 1997, pp. E50-E62. Written by William J. Banis, Ph.D., Director, University Career Services at Northeastern University in Evanston, Illinois.