Jobkit >> Letter writing
Writing letters is a great way to communicate, to tell people about yourself and cover all the things you may want to say. Whether you are applying for a course, enquiring about a job vacancy or actually putting yourself forward for a position, this is your chance to make a great first impression.
There are different types of letters that you can write, including:
A speculative letter – this is used if you are enquiring if there is a course or vacancy available and if so, can you be considered.
An application letter – if there is a course or vacancy available that you are interested in, this type of letter is used to put yourself forward for selection.
A covering letter – when sending in an application form, a short additional letter is a good introduction and is seen positively by employers.
Whatever your approach, use the following checklist each time to make sure that you get it right.
- Think about what you want to say, match yourself to the job/course/organisation
- Call in advance and find out a name to address your letter to
- Draft a copy and check it over
- Keep your letter clear, to the point and easy to read
- Include your full contact details and remember to date the letter
- Three short paragraphs should be sufficient which cover
- why you are writing
- a brief outline of your relevant experience (refer to your enclosed CV if you are sending one)
- making yourself available to meet and discuss further
- If you type the letter, make sure you sign it to personalise it
- Don’t forget that the envelope has to be to the same high standard, after all you need to make a good first impression
2 out of every 10 jobs are obtained through speculative approaches
You may be asking for information, some guidance on where to go next with your career or enquiring if there are any vacancies open at the moment or becoming available soon. Whatever the reason is, make your approach stand out by doing some research and refer to it in your letter.
Have a look at what the organisation offers, their course curriculum, company report or find out if there have been any stories recently in the local press and identify specific vacancy areas not just “any”. Your letter will be more interesting if you can identify how your qualities meet their needs.
If you have great team working skills and you know that this organisation relies on this to be successful, emphasise it. If the role requires someone to be accurate and pay attention to detail, outline where you have done this.
This type of letter is easier to write because you know exactly what you are applying for and with the details from your CV you can really make sure that your unique qualities and strengths meet their needs. To make sure that your letter gives you the best chance of getting you an interview ensure you have:
- Made reference to where you saw the opportunity i.e., college, paper, jobcentre, website
- Clearly outlined your skills and strengths and matched these to the position
- Identified your unique points such as flexibility, willingness to train
- Included any other information requested such as a copy of your CV
- Offered yourself for interview
If you have been asked to send an application form or a copy of your CV, then a covering letter is a polite way to introduce it. The key to a good covering letter is to keep it brief and let the application form/CV be the focal point. If you’ve completed a ‘personal details’ section on an application form, the letter should be short to avoid repeating this. If you’re sending a CV, your letter needs to be a little more detailed in order to put a personal slant on the information you’ve provided.