How to write effective letters

how to write effective letters to congress and how to write good news letter in business communication
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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Writing Effective Letters “Emphasize your positive assets and skills. Be as specific as possible about the type of position you are seeking and tie this to your knowledge of the organization and its products, services, business, or core mission.” Objectives 1. Develop a system to keep your communications with employers organized during your job search. 2. Identify types of letters to use in your job search. 3. Know what to do and what not do when writing a letter. 4. View sample letters. 5. Access additional sources of help. File System Develop a System Save copies of all the letters you send and file them in an electronic or paper folder. Set up another folder Before you send any letters, it is important you for the correspondence you receive that requires devise some way of keeping track of when and further action on your part and a third folder what you have sent. For instance, if you send a letter for your rejection letters. The file system can be to Mr. X asking for an interview and offer to call especially helpful because you can access previous him during the week of June 6, you need to have correspondence when composing additional letters. that date on record so you can be sure to meet that You also can look back over the letters and e-mails commitment. If you are sending out 40 letters to you have sent and see which ones were the most various employers, it can be critical to know what effective in generating interviews. you have said in a particular letter in order to follow it up with accuracy. Two methods of organizing your letter campaign are to use a chart or file system. What’s Inside Do’s and Don’t’s of Letter Writing ..............2 Chart System Choice of Cover Letter Format .....................2 Create a chart with columns for the prospective employer’s name, the person contacted, the date sent, Other Types of Letters ...................................3 any commitments you made in the letter, and follow- Additional Resources ....................................4 up actions taken. Make another chart showing the response you received from each letter with column Cover Letter Outline: Semi-block Format ...5 headings, such as prospective employer’s name, person who replied, date of reply, and action taken. Sample Cover Letter: Block Format .............6 Keep these charts current and file the letters you Sample Cover Letter: Modified Block .........7 receive. This can be done electronically or in a more traditional manner, depending on your style. The main idea is to have a system.Choice of Cover Letter Format Do’s and Don’t’s of Letter Writing Although there are a variety of styles, formats, and Do content elements, there are two basic formats which y Follow rules of layout and format of a may aid you in writing an individualized letter of standard business letter. application. y Slant letter toward what you can offer Broadcast Letter employers, not what they should be offering you. This type of letter is used to broadcast your availability to many employers in your field without y Whenever possible, address to an composing a separate letter for each one. Although individual, with his/her correct title. it is not usually used to pursue a specific job lead, y Spell, punctuate, and format correctly it is wise to personalize it. Examples: “I am writing in print and email communication. to highlight my qualifications for a position as an y Write in your own words and use account executive at....” or “I am very aware of the conversational language. changing role of the nurse in today’s (hospital, clinic, y Hand-sign in addition to typing your etc.).” By inserting the appropriate word or phrase, signature (unless the letter is sent you can tailor each correspondence with much less electronically). effort than individually composed letters. y Use quality paper. Targeted Approach y Be brief, concise, and to the point. This approach is used to investigate a specific job y Close with a direct request for some lead. You may be answering an ad or investigating sort of action (phone call, initial a suggestion offered from the Career Center, a meeting). relative, friend, faculty member, etc. It is important y Take advantage of any link to the to thoroughly read and reread the job advertisement employer that can give you an edge to determine the potential employer’s needs. This over the competition (mentioning the way, you can demonstrate how your abilities can name of someone you know in the be applied to meet those needs. You also can make organization or a mutual contact). reference to specific information you discovered y If including an attachment with an through conversations or by doing research about the email to an employer, make sure the organization. document can be easily opened (a PDF, Tailor your letter to the job description specified for example). in the ad. Some reading between the lines may be necessary so you can customize your response. Be Don’t sure to: y Use overly formal language or use y Apply for the job posting as soon as possible words incorrectly. after it appears. However, make sure you y Use gimmicks in an attempt to be allow yourself enough time to adequately original or clever. prepare. y Lead with constant use of “I.” y Be as creative as possible. Make sure your y Be arrogant or indicate the employer letter stands out from the wave of response would be lucky to hire you. letters the employer is sure to receive. y Be excessively emphatic about your y Follow the instructions carefully regarding reliability, capacity for hard work, or where the response should be directed and intelligence. This kind of self-appraisal what to include (e.g., résumé, statement of is usually best understated. The geographic preference, etc.) appearance and tone of your letter and y Answer all questions, if provided, with résumé can say more about you than the exception of responding to a request you can gracefully say about yourself. for salary requirements. In this case, it is advisable to 2 Writing Effective Lettersy State your exact interest in the organization avoid the question and simply indicate that it and explain why they should be interested in is open or negotiable. you. The more you know about employers, y Be brief Letters should be individualized, the easier it will be to tailor your letter to their concise, and factual. needs and interests. y Always consider the reaction of employers y Emphasize your positive assets and skills. by putting yourself in their place. Try to Be as specific as possible about the type determine what accomplishments and skills of position you are seeking and tie this to would be most attractive to a particular your knowledge of the organization and its employer. products, services, or business. y Be straightforward, professional, and y State when you would be available to meet businesslike —remember you are selling for an interview and include a phone number yourself. As with the résumé, stick to the and/or e-mail where you can most easily be facts. reached. You can also write that you will Remember that the primary purpose of the letter is to follow up via phone or email within a certain get you in the door for the interview —make sure the time frame. letter has an impact. Interview Appreciation Letter Examples: y “My academic background, together with my Following the interview, send a thank you letter or work experience, has prepared me to function email expressing appreciation for the interviewer’s especially well as a Marketing Specialist for time. Not only is this an accepted courtesy, your IBM.” letter can also refresh your session in the mind of the interviewer. In your letter: y “I am impressed by your continual growth through grant-funded activities.” y Express appreciation for the interviewer’s consideration and arrangement of the y “My teaching experience and research skills meeting. are directly related to the department’s core program activities.” y State the date of the interview and name of the employer. See the Cover Letter Outline included in this guide. y Reiterate your interest in the employer by Inquiry Letter mentioning new points or assets you may have forgotten to address in the original First, prepare a list of organizations which interview. complement the position you are seeking, as well y Ask any questions you may have which were as your interest and training. Then, write a letter of not answered in the original interview. inquiry to contact employers requesting employment information. It is important to research the y Express your anticipation to receive word organization as much as possible to give credibility regarding a decision. and insight to your contact letter. In your letter: Letter of Acknowledgment y Write to a specific person within the organization. As a general rule, send the Once you have received an offer from an letter to the Employment, Recruitment or organization, it is important to respond as soon as Personnel manager in the Personnel or possible. While an immediate “yes” or “no” is not Human Resources Department. Directing essential, acknowledgment of the offer is expected. In your letter to the key executive or manager in your letter: the department to which you are applying is y Acknowledge receipt of the offer. also advisable. If the contact person’s name is y Express your appreciation for the offer. not available, address your letter: “To whom y Notify the employer of the date by which you it may concern” or “Dear representative.” expect to make your decision. 3 Writing Effective LettersLetter of Acceptance Additional Resources Once you have decided to accept the offer, the For further assistance in the development of your employer should be notified immediately. It is not letter(s), the following resources are available. necessary to wait until the offer expiration date 1. Sections I, IV, and V in the Career Center before contacting the person making the offer. Library contain books, chapters, or partial Employers will appreciate your promptness, as it units on letter preparation. Check Career Key will allow them to assess the status of their personnel for specific resources. selection process. In your letter: 2. Attend one of the combination cover letter y Acknowledge your receipt of the offer by and résumé writing workshops held in letter, face-to-face meeting, or telephone call the Career Center periodically during the on the date it occurred. semester. A schedule of these workshops y Be as specific as possible, mentioning starting is available on the Career Center website, salary and supervisor’s name. Be sure to list and detail all items (benefits, moving 3. Review “Sample Letters” in notebooks at the expenses, etc.) agreed to in the offer. Career Center Library in section V. y State when you will be able to report to work. 4. Read Job Choices, available through the Career Acknowledge if employment is contingent on Center, particularly the letter strategy and events, such as graduation, certification, etc. sample section. y Express appreciation to your contact person 5. Have your letter(s) critiqued by a career and anyone else who has been particularly advisor. helpful. y Ask if any other information is required, or if additional details should be attended to prior to reporting. Letter of Declination As a matter of courtesy, a letter of declination is due to those organizations whose offers you are rejecting. Despite the negative nature of the correspondence, it is vital that these employers know your decisions. Such a letter often follows a telephone call, making your decision a matter of record and avoiding any confusion arising from verbal communication. In your letter: y Express your appreciation for the offer. y State the exact position for which you were being considered. y Mention the name of your potential supervisor. y Decline graciously. y Briefly explain the reason for your choice, sticking to the facts. y Do not profusely apologize as it is not necessary. Simply re-express your appreciation. Cover letter formats adapted from The Princeton Review’s Job Notes: Cover Letters , by L. Michelle Tullier. 4 Writing Effective LettersCover Letter Outline: Semi-Block Format Your Name Your Present Address City, State, Zip Code Date Ms. Jane Blank Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Code Dear Ms. Blank: 1st Paragraph • Tell why you are writing; name the position, field, or general career area in which you are interested. Tell how you heard of the opening or organization (this is especially important if you were referred by a mutual contact). Provide information about what you know about them and their position. 2nd Paragraph • Mention one or two of your qualifications that you believe will be of greatest interest to the organization, slanting your remarks to their point of view. Tell why you are particularly interested in the employer, location, or type of work. If you have had related experience or specialized training, be sure to point it out. Refer the reader to the enclosed application form, résumé, or the fact that the XYZ Career Center has your full credentials on file and will send them to provide additional information concerning your background and interests. Make sure to explicitly express why they should hire you 3rd Paragraph • Close by making a request for an opportunity to talk with the employer. Indicate that you will follow up with a phone call or email about the possibility of a meeting. If your request is not concerning an interview, but more information about the organization and current job openings, you can request that the information be sent electronically. Prior to requesting this information, make sure it is not readily available on the organization’s website. Thank the employer for his/her consideration of your application materials. Sincerely, Your Handwritten Signature Your typed name Encl. 5 Writing Effective LettersSample Cover Letter: Block Format (the most acceptable and formal) Jennifer Stevenson 222 Ocala Drive Tallahassee, FL 32306 September 16, 2013 Mr. Alex Johnson Vice President Johnson & Johnson, Medical Products Division One Johnson & Johnson Plaza New Brunswick, NJ 08933 Dear Mr. Johnson: I am currently a senior at Florida State University and will graduate with honors this spring with a degree in Biology. My goal is to pursue a position as a medical sales representative with Johnson & Johnson upon graduation in August. In this position, I hope to contribute to a professional environment of committed employees working together to achieve goals by Johnson & Johnson. While attending Florida State University, I have held many leadership positions, which required organization, discipline, and commitment. These experiences have provided the opportunity for me to obtain wisdom and understanding in guiding a group of individuals. Through my academic achievements, I have gained acceptance to several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, and university-wide recognition for dedication to leadership in the form of the Golden Key Leadership Award. My academic achievements, combined with experience in sales and marketing, will enable me to play a strong role as an employee with Johnson & Johnson. I have enclosed my résumé and look forward to discussing an opportunity to interview for a professional position with Johnson & Johnson. I will follow up in the next week regarding this request. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Jennifer Stevenson Encl. 6 Writing Effective LettersSample Cover Letter: Modified Block Joanne Taylor 105 Seminole Lane, 100 Tallahassee, FL 32304 September 23, 2013 Mary Ross Human Resources Manager Guess, Inc. 1444 South Alameda Street Los Angeles, CA 90021 Dear Ms. Ross: I am interested in the spring 2014 merchandising or retail buying internship in California or New York with Guess, which was advertised on the Guess website. My experience in retail sales and customer relations, combined with my courses in fashion merchandising at Florida State University, makes me an excellent candidate for an internship position with Guess. Your internship position requires past experience and knowledge in retail. I have worked in three Express stores, where I received several awards for outstanding sales performance. My work at Express also helped me develop a greater understanding of customer relations. In addition, the Fashion Merchandising program at Florida State has taught me countless business skills to further my career. A recent presentation I gave as part of a group project in my Merchandising class resulted in praise from the professor and the highest grade for the group. Many of my portfolios also received high marks and approval from several professors in my program. I have enclosed a résumé with additional details of my qualifications. My experiences and education match well with your internship requirements, and I am genuinely interested in a position with Guess. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how my experiences would benefit Guess and will contact you within a week to see if a meeting can be arranged. If you have any questions, please call me at (850) 474-7214 or email Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Joanne Taylor 7 Writing Effective LettersAlternative Format Available. Revised 9/13. 850.644.6431 •

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