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• Friday, May 20th, 2011

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a resume, approaching a contact for a referral, saying thank you for an interview, requesting a reference, or sending email messages, the basic rules are the same.

Well written letters and email messages will help enhance your job search and boost your career.  These tips and techniques will help your correspondence make the best impression.

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a resume, approaching a contact for a referral, saying thank you for an interview, requesting a reference, or sending email messages, the basic rules are the same. All your correspondence needs to be polished, professional and perfectly written.

Review Letter Samples and Templates

When you’re not sure how to get started review letter samples to get ideas for your own letters. Use examples as a starting point for creating your own personalized library of job search correspondence.

Consider using a template. Microsoft Word users have a selection of employment-related templates to choose from. Once you have downloaded the template to your computer, you can personalize the letter to fit your circumstances.

Contact Information

Include your contact information (address, phone, email address) at the top of every letter you write and in the signature of each email message you send. When you don’t have a contact person, address your letters and email messages to Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom it May Concern.

Get to the Point

Write simply and clearly. Get right to the point and write short, focused letters. Your letter should be one page, or less. Each paragraph should contain three or four sentences, at most. Your letters and email messages should include words, not acronyms or slang. Full sentences, paragraphs, and detailed information on who you are and why you are writing should be included.

How to Format a Letter

Use a 10 or 12 point font that is easy to read like Times New Roman or Arial. Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Spell check and proofread. Then proofread again. It’s often easy not to notice mistakes in our own writing. When emailing or applying online send or upload your letters as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs.

Keep Your Job Search Organized

Take the time to organize your job search. Keep copies of all your correspondence. Set up a folder on your computer and in your email program so your copies are organized. Email correspondence is just as important as written communications. Your email messages should be well-written and properly formatted.

Keep it Simple

Don’t use fancy fonts or HTML in your email messages. Not every email program reads messages the same way so it’s best to keep it simple.

Don’t forget to include a Subject in your email message, so the recipient knows why you are writing. Include a signature on all your email messages with your name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn URL if you have a LinkedIn profile. The easier you make it for the person you are writing to get back to you, the better outcome you’ll have.

Double Check Everything Before You Send

Before you send an email message with an attachment send a copy to yourself to make sure the attachment comes through correctly and your letter is formatted properly when you open it. Keep in mind that handwritten thank you notes never go out of style. Keep a box of thank you notes and stamps on hand for sending a personal thank you. Taking the time to double check the details before you send your letter or message is well worth the time it takes to make the best impression.

 

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