Sample Employment Letters

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Whether by postal mail or email or a combination, letters continue to fly back and forth between company and prospective employee. On the one hand are those the company sends. For the most part there are fewer and fewer of these than there used to be. They are also apt to be undisguised form letters. On the other hand are those that you the prospective employee sends. These have changed very little in terms of number, content, and importance. The burden is almost always on the would-be job holder.

The applicant writes inquiries, application letters to accompany a resumé, requests for references, follow-up letters after an interview, and--when all has gone well--letters of acceptance. Depending on the circumstances, inquiries about applications, requests for further negotiations about a job offer, responses to a rejection, and--last but not least--thank you letters. Each one of these is, or can be, decisive.

The Art of Employment Letters

The tone you take, the impression you convey, and what you choose to say put you in the running or take you out. The overworn but nonetheless painfully true expression about there being only one opportunity to make a first impression is especially apt when it comes to employment letters. On the one hand, you must be honest, genuine, and enthusiastic.

On the other, that's scarcely enough. You need to somehow present yourself as the person the company has been looking for without being pushy or in any way arrogant. The art of presenting yourself as the candidate the company is looking for is a fine one, and there are no easy answers. The guidelines of the job requirements are a guideline, but a dry one, and scarcely the whole picture. Your job as the applicant is to learn everything you can about the company and your possible position before you walk in the door. That takes careful research. You want to demonstrate that knowledge, gracefully, in your letters. You'll follow up if you make it to the interview stage.

As far as what to say and how to say it in a letter goes, that also takes research, but a different kind. Your first step is to review as many sample employment letters as possible. None will speak in your voice, and none will reflect the particulars of either your experience or the company you're addressing. But they're an idea dry run and will contain useful language that can help you along your way.


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