Writing letters is all part of the job seeking process… | Chilli Pepper Career Blog

“Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose…” – Elizabeth Hardwick

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-post-letter-mailbox-image9435488Throughout the job seeking process there are a number of opportunities for you to stand out from your competition by ensuring that you send a letter. Yes, a simple letter.

In today’s society we have become too busy to take the time to write a letter to a friend or relative either thanking them for a birthday gift or just to catch up on news. I remember when I was younger shortly after each birthday or Christmas I would be made to sit down and handwrite letters to all my relatives thanking them for my gifts. Coming from a large family and although this was a lengthy exercise not only did the letter writing help to improve my handwriting skills, it also gave me a sense of appreciation. These days a quick email or text seems to suffice.

As an applicant there are 4 main types of letters for you to consider and I would encourage you to send a letter if possible however a professional, well written email will do.
  1. Cover Letters – Many applicants forget to include a cover letter when sending out their CV especially those applying for roles internally with their existing employer. I would suggest that you ALWAYS include a cover letter even if it’s not requested. Taking time to write your cover letter could well differentiate you from other applicants.
  2. Thank You Letters – Send a thank you letter to everyone who interviews you within 1-2 days of your meeting reminding the employer as to why you are the right person for their role. Even if you feel the role is not for you still say thank you in the form of a letter or email and make a lasting impression. Writing a personal letter of appreciation to the person who has organised your interviews is always well received.
  3. Acceptance Letters – Many successful applicants fail to send a letter of acceptance for a job offer which can sometimes leave the employer questioning if you are going to start work! In addition to making a phone call write your acceptance too.
  4. Resignation Letters – Whether you are glad to be leaving your existing employer or genuinely sad it’s important to remain professional and to ensure that you leave behind a positive lasting impression. You never know when you might meet again!
Letter Etiquette

Your address should be positioned in the top right-hand corner and the address of the person you are writing to should be positioned on the left, starting below your address.

  • Include the full date for example 21st March 2014.
  • Investigate and find out the name of the HR contact or hiring manager responsible for applications. Ensure that names are spelt correctly.
  • If you are unable to find a name, address your letter by using a formal style to include Dear Sir/Madam and closing Yours faithfully or Dear Mrs Hutchison and closing Yours sincerely if you have their name.
  • In the event that you know the person well then include their name and should you feel it appropriate then you can end your letter Best regards or Warm wishes.
  • Sign your name and print in full underneath the signature.
  • Always use good quality paper and a matching envelope when sending a letter in the post.
  • Use a postage stamp and not a franking machine.
  • Write the name and company address on the envelope by hand, for the one reason that people tend to open these letters first as they always look more inviting and personal than a printed label.
  • Avoid the use of humour within the content of your letter.
  • Always check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Letters should be brief and to the point, they should fit onto 1 page and the main content should be no more than 2/3 of an A4 page.
  • Include your mobile number and email address at the end of the letter.

If after 1 week you have not received a response it is perfectly acceptable for you to follow up to ensure that your letter was received.

A Corporate Mentor for the internal job market who offers employees an edge over their internal and/or external competition. With over 15 years’ experience, Nikki educates professional people to build on their personal brand, to sell themselves in the content of their CV and interview technique and to overcome personal barriers to fully recognise their strengths and achievements.


About the author

Nikki Hutchison, founder of Chilli Pepper Global www.chillipepperglobal.com advising you on every aspect of the job seeking process guiding you step by step whether you are looking to move internally or externally.

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