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Cover letters and Business letters 2009 12 Peiling Hsia
Contents: Cover letter Guide to basic business letters
Cover letter (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/723/03/ )http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/723/03/
What Is a Cover Letter? A cover letter introduces you and your resume to potential employers or organizations you seek to join (non-profits, educational institutions, etc). It is the first document an employer sees, so it is often the first impression you will make. Take advantage of this important first impression and prepare the reader for your application, stating why you are writing, why you are a good match for the job and the organization, and when you will contact him or her. Cover letters do more than introduce your resume, though. A cover letter's importance also includes its ability to: Explain your experiences in a story-like format that works with the information provided in your resume. Allow you to go in-depth about important experiences/skills and relate them to job requirements. Show the employer that you are individualizing this job application. Provide a sample of your written communication skills.
Formatting your cover letter Your cover letter should convey a professional message. Of course, the particular expectations of a professional format depend on the organization you are looking to join. For example, an accounting position at a legal firm will require a more traditional document format. A position as an Imagineer at Disney might require a completely different approach. Again, a close audience analysis of the company and the position will yield important information about the document expectations. Let the organization's communications guide your work.
For this example, we are using a traditional approach to cover letters: Single-space your cover letter Leave a space between each paragraph Leave 3 spaces between your salutation (such as "Sincerely" or "Sincerely Yours") and typed name Leave a space between your heading (contact information) and greeting (such as, "Dear Mr. Roberts") Either align all paragraphs to the left of the page, or indent the first line of each paragraph to the right Use standard margins for your cover letter, such as one-inch margins on all sides of the document Center your letter in the middle of the page; in other words, make sure that the space at the top and bottom of the page is the same Sign your name in ink between your salutation and typed name
What do I include in my cover letter heading? The heading provides your contact information, the date you are writing, and the address of the company to which you are applying. For your contact information, you will want to include the following: Your name The address where you can be reached Phone number Fax number (if applicable) E-mail address Then, you will skip a line and write the full date (month, day, year). Follow this by skipping a space and writing the contact information for the person to whom you are writing: Name of the specific person Title of that person (if available) Address of the company The reason you write your phone/fax number and email address is to make it easy for the company to contact you. You do not need to put this information down for the company itself.
Example: Craig M. Leroix 2987 W. Taylor Dr. Portland, OR 45720 890-372-1262 firstname.lastname@example.org February 2, 2005 Amy Kincaid, Human Resource Director Western Electric, Inc. 387 Collier Lane Atlanta, Georgia 30051
Addressing your cover letter Whenever possible, you should address your letter to a specific individual, the person in charge of interviewing and hiring (the hiring authority). Larger companies often have standard procedures for dealing with solicited and unsolicited resumes and cover letters. Sending your employment documents to a specific person increases the chances that they will be seriously reviewed by the company. When a job advertisement does not provide you with the name of the hiring authority, call the company to ask for more information. Even if your contact cannot tell you the name of the hiring authority, you can use this time to find out more about the company. If you cannot find out the name of the hiring authority, you may address your letter to "hiring professionals" - e.g., "Dear Hiring Professionals."
The introduction The body of your introduction can be organized in many ways. However, it is important to include, who you are and why you are writing. It can also state how you learned about the position and why you are interested in it. (This might be the right opportunity to briefly relate your education and/or experience to the requirements of the position.) Most important is to briefly overview why your values and goals align with the organization's and how you will help them. You should also touch on how you match the position requirements. By reviewing how you align with the organization and how your skills match what they're looking for, you can forecast the contents of your cover letter before you move into your argument.
The argument Your argument is an important part of your cover letter, because it allows you to persuade your reader why you are a good fit for the company and the job. Carefully choose what to include in your argument. You want your argument to be as powerful as possible, but it shouldn't cloud your main points by including excessive or irrelevant details about your past. In addition, use your resume (and refer to it) as the source of "data" you will use and expand on in your cover letter.
In your argument, you should try to: Show your reader you possess the most important skills s/he seeks (you're a good match for the organization's mission/goals and job requirements). Convince your reader that the company will benefit from hiring you (how you will help them). Include in each paragraph a strong reason why your employer should hire you and how they will benefit from the relationship. Maintain an upbeat/personable tone. Avoid explaining your entire resume but use your resume as a source of data to support your argument (the two documents should work together).
The closing Your closing restates your main points and reveals what you plan to do after your readers have received your resume and cover letter. In your closing: Restate why you align with the organization's mission/goals. Restate why your skills match the position requirements and how your experience will help the organization. Inform your readers when you will contact them. Include your phone number and e-mail address. Thank your readers for their consideration.
A sample closing: I believe my coursework and work experience in electrical engineering will help your Baltimore division attain its goals, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the job position further. I will contact you before June 5th to discuss my application. If you wish to contact me, I may be reached at 765-555-6473, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Other tips When you tell readers you will contact them, it is imperative that you do so. It will not reflect well on you if you forget to call a potential employer when you said you would. It's best to demonstrate your punctuality and interest in the company by calling when you say you will. If you do not feel comfortable informing your readers when you will contact them, ask your readers to contact you, and thank them for their time. For example: Please contact me at 765-555-6473, or by e-mail at jwillis3@e- mail-link.com. I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for your time and consideration. Always proofread your cover letter carefully. Unless requested otherwise, always single space your professional communication. Research the corporate website, read and try to understand their mission statement.
Examples of cover letters http://www.csuchico.edu/plc/coverltr-ex.html http://www.cvtips.com/cover_letter_example.html
Guide to Basic Business Letters A business letter serves the main purpose of communication between two companies, or it is a method to talk to different people within a business. The purpose for business writings is to inform readers of information you want to get across or possibly persuade the readers to do something. (http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_basbletter.htm )http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_basbletter.htm (http://www.theenglishweb.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/letter_and_email_phrases.pdf )http://www.theenglishweb.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/letter_and_email_phrases.pdf
Most problems with business letters are they are either hard to understand or very long and drawn out. One solution that many writers use to correct this problem is to double check the writing to make sure it follows the seven C's of business writing. Clear Concise Correct Courteous Conversational Convincing Complete The 7 C 's of business writing
The Start Dear Personnel Director, Dear Sir or Madam: (use if you don't know who you are writing to) Dear Dr, Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms Smith: (use if you know who you are writing to, and have a formal relationship with - VERY IMPORTANT use Ms for women unless asked to use Mrs or Miss) Dear Frank: (use if the person is a close business contact or friend)
Making references lettersemails "With reference to your letter, I..." With reference to your advertisement in the Times, "In response to your letter, I can confirm..." "With regard to your memo, I..." "Following our phone conversation, I....." "I am writing with reference to your enquiry.“ "Thank you for your letter of March 5th …" About... Following… Thanks for your email. your letter of 23 rd March, your phone call today, The reason for writing "Your name was given to me by (source)" "My colleague, Ewan Jones, suggested that I write to you concerning …." "I have been advised to contact you regarding your policy on insurance claims." "I am the Marketing Manager of a search engine optimisation company, and I am writing to you to ask if your company would be interested in promoting..." Ewan asked me to write to you about… Could you give me some information about… Would you be interested in …
Informing lettersemails "It has come to our notice that..." "I am writing to inform you that..." "Please be advised that..." "I am writing to advise you that..." Just to let you know… A quick note to tell you… Confirming "I am writing to confirm...." "I would like to confirm...." Just to confirm that…
Asking for information or advice lettersemails "I am writing to enquire about...." "I would be interested to receive further details about...." "Please could you give me the necessary details concerning...?" "I would be grateful for your advice concerning..” "I would appreciate your advice on..." Can you tell me about… Please tell me about… I’d like some information about… I’d like your advice about… Could you tell me if… Please let us know about… Explaining and clarifying "I am writing to explain..." "I would like to clarify certain points regarding...” "I would like to take this opportunity to clarify..." Here’s some information about.. Just to clarify…
Replying a request lettersemails "As you requested, I am enclosing a brochure about our adventure holidays." "As you suggested, I am sending you my CV." "In answer to your enquiry, I am enclosing information which I hope will be useful to you." "As promised, I am sending you the..." As requested, As suggested, Here is / Here are As promised, Requesting Could you possibly? I would be grateful if you could… Could you give me some information about…
Making reference to something your reader knows lettersemails "As you may already know / have heard, the Production Division is merging with…" As you probably know… Saying thank you "Thank you for your letter in which you enquired about …" "Thank you for your advice regarding..." "I am writing to thank you for your assistance.” Thanks for...
Making a suggestion or giving advice lettersemails "In response to..... may we suggest that you contact...." "With regard to your enquiry about... we advise you to... " "We would like to advise all our customers to..." You could… You can... Why don’t you.. Enclosing "Please find enclosed...." "Enclosed please find..." "Enclosed is a..." "Enclosed are...." "I am enclosing a..." "I have pleasure in enclosing..." Please find attached a... Attached please find... Attached is...
Apologizing lettersemails "Please accept our apologies for this misunderstanding." "We apologize for our mistake and we would like to take this opportunity to assure you that it will not happen again." "We hope that this misunderstanding has not caused you too much inconvenience." Sorry for… Sorry about… We’re very sorry that… We’re sorry to tell you that… Unfortunately I am afraid that Referring to a meeting "I look forward to seeing you on …" "I look forward to meeting you on …” "I would be delighted to arrange a meeting with you." See you on… Let’s meet up to discuss… Would you be free to meet on… Shall we meet up to discuss…
Asking for action lettersemails "I would be grateful if this matter could be resolved..." "I would appreciate further information on …“ "I would be grateful for further advice." "I would be grateful if you could send me...” Could you… Please could I have… Please could you give me… Please send me… I look forward to hearing from you soon / meeting / seeing you next Thursday. Offering help "Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance." "If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me on…" "Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of further assistance." Let me know if you’d like any other information. Feel free to contact me…
Excuse of delaying reply Thank you for your email regarding the quotation, and I am sorry for my late reply due to the business trip to China. Thank you for your information. I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you earlier because I’ve been traveling a lot recently and I’m hardly in my office. I have noted your email on May 10. Sorry, I didn’t reply earlier because I’ve been swamped wit work. I had a big project, which was due yesterday. I am sorry for my late reply but I had a bad cold and stayed home for a few days. Excuse of technical problems Thank you for your email on May 20. I regret that I couldn’t receive it until today because my hard drive crashed/my computer broke down/my server or internet connection was down / because of the virus. I am sorry that I haven’t been able to respond to your email earlier because my computer was down and I couldn’t boot up. It too some time to fix it. I am sorry that I couldn’t send you email for a few days because my email program has been very unstable, although I reinstalled it several times. Now, it works finally, so I’m writing you immediately.
Notification of holidays or absence I will be on maternity leave from May 2 to July 15. during my absence, please contact Miss Sylvia Lin who is my assistant and is also familiar with the details of your project/case/issue. I am leaving for Hong Kong for a few days and will be back on July 20. during this period, I will still be checking my email. You can email me at this address. I’ll try to reply as soon as possible. I will be traveling next week and won’t be back until June 20. While I am off/absent, Karen will take good care of your case/project/issue/matter. I’ll be on vacation for one week beginning on Monday and will be back to work on July 30. you can contact Doris who will take care of the customer service. Our office will be closed for 6 days, from January 20 till January 25 due to the Chinese New Year.
Expressing urgency lettersemails "As this matter is now urgent, we would appreciate a prompt reply." "We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience." "Due to the urgency of the situation, I would appreciate receiving your advice as soon as possible." Please get back to me asap. Please reply asap.
The finish Yours faithfully, (If you don't know the name of the person you're writing to) Yours sincerely, (If you know the name of the person you're writing to) Best wishes, Best regards, (If the person is a close business contact or friend)
Common types of business letters Acknowledgement letter This letter is meant to thank the reader for something they did for you in the office. It could simply be saying thanks for receiving something the reader sent or maybe thanking them for their help with something. This type of letter is not required in a business environment, but it is appreciated. Adjustment Letter This letter should be used in response to a written complaint against someone or something. The purpose of it is to inform the reader that actions are being taken against the wrong doing as well as it serves as a legal document acknowledging the complaint. Complaint Letter The complaint letter is much like the adjustment letter except no wrong doing as taken place. Instead, this letter is just to let the reader know that an error as been found and needs to be corrected as soon as possible. This letter is a legal document letting the reader know that something is being done to correct the problem.
Inquiry Letter An inquiry letter is written as a request for a certain something or in response to a request made by someone. The object of the inquiry letter is to get the object or material requested in the letter. Order Letter Order letters are used to order material that is running low and will be needed soon. This type of letter is commonly known as a PO (purchase order). This letter is also a legal document showing a transaction between a business and a vendor. Response Letter It is a letter written in response to another letter received by someone. The objective of this type of letter is to fulfill the request made by the person you are writing this letter to.
A sample letter Ken's Cheese House 34 Chatley Avenue Seattle, WA 98765 Tel: Fax: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org October 23, 2006 Fred Flintstone Sales Manager Cheese Specialists Inc. 456 Rubble Road Rockville, IL Dear Mr Flintstone: With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am writing to confirm your order for: 120 x Cheddar Deluxe Ref. No. 856 The order will be shipped within three days via UPS and should arrive at your store in about 10 days. Please contact us again if we can help in any way. Yours sincerely, Kenneth Beare Director of Ken's Cheese House
Web links http://www.ehow.com/how_1370_write-formal- business.html (how to write business letters) http://www.ehow.com/how_1370_write-formal- business.html http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/653/0 2/ (business sample letters ) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/653/0 2/ http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_bas bletter.htm (Guide to Basic Business Letters ) http://esl.about.com/cs/onthejobenglish/a/a_bas bletter.htm http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/549/0 1/ (Cover letters) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/549/0 1/