Remember! It is important that your job search correspondence be written by you using language and a style with which you are comfortable. Many examples are available in resources in the Hart Career Center; however, we encourage you to use these as guidelines only in order to avoid stilted or gimmicky phrasing. The Hart Career Center will be happy to review letters you write and make suggestions before you send them.
This type of letter is designed to generate informational interviews with people working in the career or organization of interest to you. The purpose is to introduce yourself and indicate a desire to arrange a meeting which would allow you to ask specific questions about the career field. You must not ask for a job in this letter or in the informational interview. Normally, a resume is not enclosed. You will want to make a connection between you and the reader in the first paragraph, e.g., alumnus of Illinois Wesleyan, or mutual acquaintance. Then state your purpose in the second paragraph and ask to meet at a mutually convenient time. In the final paragraph, indicate that you will make a phone call to arrange this meeting, and thank them for considering your request.
A letter of inquiry is sent when you are prospecting for vacancies. It is sent to target organizations that are in your field of interest and to get your resume in their hands. This type of letter is often sent when doing a long-distance job search. The letter is structured in a similar format as the cover letter, but instead of knowing about an opening for a specific position, you are going to focus on what you know about the organization and how your experience and qualifications match the work environment. You will want to send your resume and ask for information about career opportunities and application information. In your final paragraph, note your phone number and that you will be in contact with them.
Click here for an example letter of inquiry.
One of the most important tools to set you apart from other job candidates is the thank-you letter. Applicants who send such a letter shortly after the interview (ideally within 24 hours) establish goodwill and show they are truly interested in the position. You will want to send one to each person who helps you in any way. Ask for a business card from them so that you are sure to spell their name correctly and use the proper title. Thank them for their time and interest in you. Be brief, but reemphasize your strongest qualifications as they relate to some specific component of the job requirements. You can also add additional information you realize you did not cover in the interview. In the final paragraph, reiterate your interest in the position and restate your appreciation.
Click here to view an example thank you letter.
This letter is sent when you accept an offer of employment. In it you will confirm the terms of your employment as you understand them (salary, starting date, where and to whom you report, etc.). Of course, you will also want to use this as another opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and the organization. This letter is brief and to the point. End with a statement of appreciation for the confidence shown in you and your eagerness to join the team.
Click here to see an example acceptance letter.
Yes, sometimes the applicant is on the receiving end of this type of letter, but there are occasions when one is also needed if you are declining an offer. If an offer does not fit with your career objective or interests, you will want to send a polite letter of rejection. It is important to leave a good impression because future employment may be a possibility with this same organization. You will acknowledge the offer in the first paragraph and express consideration for the time the employer spent with you. In the second paragraph, indicate that you have thoughtfully considered the offer and have decided not to accept it. In the closing paragraph, express appreciation for their consideration and interest.