Thank You Letters
Click: Quintessential Careers collection of the best thank-you letter resources for job-seekers, including articles and tools, free samples of thank-you letters, and key post-interview thank-you letter Websites
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Sharon Graham – Thank you Letter Sample
I recently read a fascinating article that featured true examples of the worst-of-the-worst business letters. Perhaps you have received some of those over the years. Big offenders included letters addressed to the wrong company, recipient names that were spelled incorrectly, erroneous use of a salutation – addressed to ‘sir’ when the contact was a woman – and so forth. It’s enough to make a person cringe.
When it comes to business correspondence related to career transition, such carelessness might cause a submission to be deleted from the inbox or dropped into the nearest wastebasket, yet many job seekers make such mistakes without realizing the negative impact of their actions.
So, what does this mean to you, the experienced professional in career transition?
There are many kinds of letters you can use to show your professionalism and proactively create career opportunities. Here are some examples of letters you might use during your career development and job search campaign:
Cover Letter: Approaching a company directly for a position that may or may not be posted.
Recruiter Letter: Submitting your resume to a recruitment firm for appropriate openings.
Networking Letter: Proactively requesting a meeting to solidify a business relationship.
Confirmation Letter: Confirming that the material sent was received.
Thank You Letter: Thanking a person for meeting with you.
Follow-Up Letter: Asking for next steps in the process.
If you are sending someone your resume, don’t think that a cover letter is not important. Your submission will naturally look weaker than another one where the time was taken to include a letter. Even those who may not read your cover letter carefully might notice your lack of commitment to the opportunity.
If you’re thinking about slapping together a letter using a template downloaded from the internet, you’ll easily turn off recruiters who regularly see common templates. Be diligent in your approach and craft letters that match the recipient’s values and the targeted role. Recognize that there is a big difference between a letter that is in response to a posted position and one that is enquiring about a chance to meet. Similarly, the tone to a recruiting company should be distinct from that directed to the hiring firm. By putting the effort into writing a custom letter, you’ll show that you are serious about your application.
Here are ten tips to consider when writing your next letter to ensure that it truly presents you – and your resume – in a positive way:
- Address your letter properly. Create a professional, businesslike tone from the start. Make sure that you include the name and title of the person you are contacting. Include the full company name and address in your address block. If you are referring to a specific position or posting, include that information in a separate subject line.
- Open with a compelling message that addresses the perspective of the reader as an external recruiter, the hiring manager, the company representative, or your networking contact. For example, if your letter is addressed to the employer, you’ll want to say that you want to work for them. Alternatively, if you are speaking to an external recruiter, say that you want to work for their client.
- Mention the name of any significant, mutual connection – someone consequential who endorsed or referred you. This helps the reader make an important association and may compel them to call you.
- Make it clear up front that you have the key experience required for the position you are targeting. Address the company’s needs and only discuss your competencies and expertise that relate to those needs.
- Be specific in your writing. Provide examples of successes in concise, one- or two-line bullet points. Make sure your selections truly fit the objectives of the position. While you may be proud of a particular coup, if it does not support your candidacy for the role, fight the urge to include it in the letter.
- If you are writing about a specific job opportunity, consider using a T-chart to compare what the posting asks and what you bring to the table. This strategy will compel you to include only the most pertinent details.
- Reflect on what you know about the company, its reputation, values, culture, and/or objectives. Discuss how your own career brand and goals are similar to theirs. Your value proposition should be the thread that ties your letter to their organization.
- Make it clear that you want to make a difference for them – even if they don’t have a position at this time. By addressing the future needs of an organization and the type of support they can expect from you, even a ‘cold contact’ letter becomes ‘warmer.’
- Ensure that you wrap up by asking for the next step in the process. Reinforce your request for an interview or short meeting.
- Make the final call to action yours. Let the reader know you appreciate how busy they are by offering to connect with them in the near future to see if they have questions or would like to meet.
After sending every letter, be sure to follow up when you say you will. This action is very important for a number of reasons. First, you are demonstrating that you respect the importance of the reader’s time. Second, you are giving evidence that you are someone who follows through – even on small intentions. Third, you are taking a step that makes it clear you really want that particular opportunity and are not simply shipping out many resumes in the ‘shotgun’ style. Finally, you are making a legitimate connection that will help your name be remembered in a highly favourable way.
For more detailed information on some of the letter types featured here, I encourage you to visit Graham Management Group. There, you will find such articles as “Developing a Great Cover Letter” and “Writing an Effective Thank-You Letter.”
If you’ve committed a business offense of some kind, extend an apology shortly thereafter. The sooner you write an apology business letter after an infraction the better.