Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Job Search Correspondence

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Job Search Correspondence

Article excerpt

Now that you've written the perfect resume for each type of position you're considering (see last issue's column), is your job search correspondence complete? NO. You must master other ways of communicating:

* cover letters,

* thank-you letters or notes,

* acceptance letters,

* rejection notices,

* negotiation correspondence, and

* e-mail protocol.

These can be as important as resumes to ensuring that you get the job you want and that you want the job you're offered.

Cover Letters

A well-written cover letter may be your best advertising. It reveals your interest, communication style, career focus, professional connections, and the benefits you would bring to an employer. In a cover letter you can describe projects or accomplishments that a prospective employer could find useful in meeting its goals. This is your opportunity to explain the relationship between your education, training, and work experience. You can use others' evaluation of your capabilities without seeming self-serving. Cover letters are usually more interesting to read than resumes because they are such personal statements.

A typical format for a cover letter follows.

Paragraph 1

Describe why you are writing or who referred you, how you learned about this position, and a reason to consider you for a position in the organization. This paragraph must be compelling enough to engage the reader, interesting enough to make the reader continue reading, and specific enough to intrigue a decision maker. Tips:

* Write the way you speak.

* Use short sentences.

* Omit lengthy explanations.

Paragraph 2

After an introductory sentence that reveals your interest and background, use three to five bulleted statements to describe capabilities or accomplishments that are directly relevant to the position you are applying for. Use the terms and language of the published job description or advertisement in the order they appeared there. Tips:

* Don't clone your resume.

* Quantify or qualify your accomplishments or results.

* Introduce your personal qualifications or interests as they relate to a prospective employer.

Paragraph 3

Explain how you would be the best candidate for this position, and how you will follow up. Don't expect the employer to call you. Thank them for their interest and sign in blue ink so that they'll know it's an original letter. Tips: Most people undervalue the importance of following up. You might call to ask

* if they received your resume,

* where they are in the selection process,

* what the expected next step is, or

* when you might expect to hear from them. You'll be placing your name back on the top of the pile.

Thank-You Letters

As your mother always told you: Say "thank you"! Employers report that thank-you notes or letters are appreciated and underused. …

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