Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.
Letters of Employment
Looking for work often involves different types of written communication beyond the standard resume and cover letter. Some of the letters may not be directed to a prospective employer at all. In this lesson, we'll take a look at some of the different letters of employment.
Recommendation Request Letters
One of the first letters a job searcher will prepare is to a prospective reference. When you compose a recommendation request letter, you are writing to a potential reference, such as a college professor, a co-worker, or supervisor, seeking a written recommendation that you can use in your job search.
When composing your request for a recommendation, there are some important things to consider. First, while you can't and shouldn't tell your potential reference what to put in the letter of reference, it's a good idea to include some details about your professional accomplishments and other facts to help your potential reference compose a letter of recommendation. In providing the details, you should focus on professional interactions with the reference. If your reference doesn't have any direct knowledge of a skill or ability, it's not ethical or fair to ask a reference to talk about it in a letter of recommendation.
Second, you should make sure that you note any pertinent timelines if you have a deadline to meet. Third, remember to include your contact information, including address, phone number, and email address. Fourth, be sure to offer to discuss the matter in full detail. Finally, don't forget to thank your reference prospect for considering your request, but don't be presumptuous and assume in your letter that a recommendation will be forthcoming.
Letters of Inquiry
Sometimes being proactive can reap rewards, and a letter of inquiry is a tool that allows you to do just that. A letter of inquiry is an unsolicited letter to a prospective employer presenting yourself as a potential candidate for positions with the employer that match your interests and qualifications. The letter will usually demonstrate some knowledge and interest in the organization and the work it does.
Like a cover letter, it will provide a brief snapshot of your relevant qualifications for the types of positions of which you have an interest. A resume is often included with the letter of inquiry. While it may seem to be a waste of time to write to employers with no advertised positions, employers sometimes do not advertise positions but rather pursue other avenues, such as recruiters or referrals. So a targeted campaign to those employers you want to work for may strike gold.
Your job-seeking composition isn't done after the interview because it's a best practice to compose a brief follow-up letter, which is sent to a prospective employer after an interview to demonstrate continued interest. Your follow-up letter should be no more than one page. A three-paragraph structure works well.
In the first paragraph, you'll want to remind the reader of the position you interviewed for and thank the reader for the opportunity of the interview. In the second paragraph, you can briefly summarize your qualifications for the position. Your final paragraph should restate your interest in the position and your appreciation for the interview.
Refusal and Rejection Letters
Sometimes letters are harbingers of bad news. The good news is sometimes you're the one giving the bad news instead of receiving it. While a rejection letter is a letter sent by a prospective employer informing you that you did not get the job, a refusal letter is a letter you send if you decide to decline a job offer. You may decide to refuse an offer for several reasons, including determining the position is not a good fit, the compensation offered was too low, or you received a better offer elsewhere. When inking a refusal letter, be short and don't burn bridges. Make sure you avoid negative comments about the employer. Who knows; one day you may want to work for them.
Sometimes you may accept a job through an acceptance letter. Even if you accepted a verbal offer over the phone, it's sometimes wise to send an acceptance letter. The letter should be short and sweet. You should indicate appreciation for the opportunity and acceptance of the offer. If the job offer was made orally, it's often a good idea for you to confirm the terms of the offer, such as pay, benefits, start date, and other special terms of employment agreed upon in your acceptance to avoid any misunderstandings later on. This is often more important in higher-level positions where compensation structures and terms of employment are often unique to the offer and position.
Let's review what we've learned.
Job seekers will often expend a lot of ink in composing letters relating to their employment search. You may send a recommendation request letter to prospective references for written recommendations. Letters of inquiry may be sent on an unsolicited basis to employers you may want to work for to notify them of your interest and qualifications.
After an interview, you may shoot off a short follow-up letter to thank the prospective employer for the interview and confirm your interest in the position. You may receive a rejection letter if you don't get the job, but you may also decide to reject a job offer through a refusal letter. Finally, you may accept a job offer through an acceptance letter.
Lesson at a Glance
In addition to your cover letter and resume, sending other types of well-crafted letters can also assist with your job search. Depending on where you are in the employment seeking process, you may send a recommendation request letter, a letter of inquiry, a follow-up letter, a refusal letter, a rejection letter, or even an acceptance letter.
After reviewing this lesson, you should be able to explain the purposes of the different types of letters that can be used during the job search process.
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