You will need to write several types of letters throughout your job or internship search. The following information can be useful to students and alumni. Students should also review the materials listed to the right.
An informational interviewing or networking letter attempts to expand your network and gain insight and information into a specific job function, industry, or company.
A thank you letter expresses appreciation to anyone who has helped you in connection with your job search. It shows that you are courteous and thorough. In the case of a job interview, it is an opportunity to reinforce your interest in the position, clarify something that you said during the interview, or highlight something that you failed to mention.
A cover letter accompanies your resume when you apply for a position. View the Cover Letter Section to learn more.
A statement of purpose is sometimes requested for formal applications. A well-written statement will articulate your intent for applying, future aspirations, and learning objectives; it will also showcase your personality through its writing style. Many employers and/or organizations will ask for a statement of purpose in place of a cover letter, when the reader wants to learn more information about an applicant than a general outline can provide.
An acceptance letter is written to officially accept a job offer and to confirm the terms of employment.
A withdrawal letter informs an employer that you are withdrawing your application from further consideration and have accepted another offer.
Address the letter to a specific person rather than “To Whom It May Concern.” If you do not have a name, call the organization to try to get one. Be sure you have the person’s full name, correct spelling of their name, and current title.
All letters require your return address, including telephone number and e-mail address, the date, and the full name, title and address of the recipient. Start each letter with a salutation (i.e., Dear Ms. Employer:). If you are unsure about the recipient’s gender, type out the full time (i.e., Dear Pat Pollen:). Close your letter with Sincerely, Yours truly, or Regards, followed by four returned blank lines and your typed name. If you are submitting a hard copy, print on a laser printer, use resume-quality paper, and sign each letter individually. Make sure the letter looks professional. Align all of your information to the left margin, and use a clear, easy to read font (Arial or Times New Roman are the safest).
In general, your letter should contain no more than three to four paragraphs, with double space between paragraphs. The introductory and concluding paragraphs should be between one and three sentences, and the body paragraphs should be between three and five sentences. Vary the sentence length and structure throughout your letter to ensure a smoother flow.
Pay close attention to spelling and punctuation - misspelled words and grammatical errors can be “deal-breakers.” Always print your letter so you can proofread carefully to catch any typos and errors. Double check the name, spelling, and address of the person to whom you are writing – making sure that the name in the heading fits the name on the salutation line.