Cover Letters and Follow up
The Necessity of Good Cover Letters.
Writing letters and emails is a necessary part of any job search. You should always include a cover letter or email when you send your resume to an employer or a networking contact, and write follow-up letters or emails to all interviewers or anyone you meet at a networking event. If you receive a verbal job offer, you should write a confirmation letter or email to the employer outlining the details of the offer as you understand them. Should you decide to decline a job offer, a tactful letter or email should be sent in order to maintain the good relationship.
Letter writing provides you with a marketing opportunity. Do not waste a chance to make a good impression on someone who can facilitate your getting that perfect job…now or later. Maintain professionalism in your letter writing, but incorporate your own style into this formal correspondence. Just as with your resume, your letters and emails must be typographically and grammatically correct.
Letters and emails should be short and succinct. Limit letters and emails to no more than 3-4 paragraphs. Use only Ms. Jones or Mr. Smith; do not address them by their first names. Incorporate what you know about the employer, part of your networking conversation, reflection or emphasis related to your interview, and always use language that expresses a positive attitude.
Keep in your mind that letters are examples of your communication skills. If your resume states that you have excellent written communication skills, then your written letters must be “excellent.”
Networking letters are sent to people who can provide you with information and advice about your career. If you do not already know the networking contact, explain the source of your referral and how you think he or she might be helpful. State that you are seeking advice and information and would like to arrange a convenient time to discuss your career objectives. Do not ask for a job in this letter, but include one or more questions in the letter that require a response. Be sure to give specific information as to when you will call to set up the meeting. Since you are asking for time out of a busy schedule, keep the tone of the letter appreciative and grateful.
Sample Networking Letter
You should send a brief thank-you letter immediately following each networking meeting or interview. Employment offers have been made based on the receipt of a thank-you letter. It is not only a nice gesture of appreciation, but is a further reminder of who you are and what you can offer.
In this letter, thank the contact or employer for meeting with you. Restate how your strengths can be used to meet the needs of the company or describe how the advice or information you obtained from the networking contact will assist you in your job search. If there is information you missed stating, or if you think you failed to answer a question correctly or fully, use this opportunity to clarify these matters. A brief notation about a memorable or unusual part of the conversation, such as you both talked about your trips to Italy, would also be a good idea. Supply any additional information that was requested at the time of the interview, such as references, a portfolio of research, etc. Finally, express your continued interest in the position and thank the contact or employer again for his or her time.
Sample Thank You Letter
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If you receive a verbal job offer, you should write a letter to the employer confirming the details of the offer and, if you haven’t already verbally accepted, notifying the company of the date you expect to make your decision or that you will respond within their time limitations. While you might expect an offer letter to be mailed to you, it is always a good idea to convey your understanding of the verbal offer as soon as possible. Simply state the job title and the terms of your acceptance as you understand them, including salary and starting date. If relocation expenses are part of the offer, be sure to include the details of the move. This will help prevent a misunderstanding from arising in the future. Be sure to thank the employer and express your enthusiasm about joining the company.
If you are not the selected candidate in a job search, write a letter to the employer thanking him or her for their time and consideration. Do not take the rejection letter as a definite “no.” Reiterate your interest in the company, what you like most about the company and/or position, your strengths, and ask that they contact you if another opportunity for which you are qualified becomes available at the company.
Sample Confirmation Letter
LETTER DECLINING OFFER
For those who have multiple offers, or have to reject a non-competitive offer, you should write a letter to the employer declining their offer but thanking them for their time and consideration. A diplomatic statement regarding why you are declining their offer may be appropriate in order to maintain the good relationship.
Sample Decline Letter