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  1. 1. Professional Communications Myrna Rudder Dan Solarek
  2. 2. Communication Modes <ul><li>Business Letters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Similar letters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Thank You” letters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Professional eMail </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone Basics </li></ul>
  3. 3. Business Letters Especially Cover Letters
  4. 4. <ul><li>Isn’t it just a throwaway? </li></ul><ul><li>When do I need to write a cover letter? </li></ul>Cover Letter / Letter of Application A handshake through the mail
  5. 5. Cover Letters <ul><li>When you send a resume, you always include a cover letter. </li></ul><ul><li>The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person. </li></ul><ul><li>The cover letter should be targeted toward the job or opportunity. It is NEVER generic. </li></ul><ul><li>Cover letters should be one page. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Express your intent, interest, and enthusiasm in position </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to connect yourself with the job </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to connect with the recipient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to demonstrate you’ve done your “homework” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate your personality and writing ability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to impress with your style and clarity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complement and emphasize highlights of your resumé </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to “flesh out” the r e sum é as it relates to the job </li></ul></ul>Cover Letter Goals
  7. 7. <ul><li>Fit the Argument to the Context </li></ul><ul><li>1. If you’re well qualified for the job, </li></ul><ul><li>convince with your experience </li></ul><ul><li>e.g.: “ My record as an engineer at ABC manufacturing is excellent, and I am excited at the possibility of contributing to the success of your company.” </li></ul>Strategies
  8. 8. <ul><li>Fit the Argument to the Context </li></ul><ul><li>2. If your general background fits, but the job description doesn’t really, </li></ul><ul><li>convince with related skills </li></ul><ul><li>e.g.: “The education and experience I’ve gained as an engineering technology student have prepared me for the co-op position.” </li></ul>Strategies
  9. 9. <ul><li>Fit the Argument to the Context </li></ul><ul><li>3. If your skills and experience don’t fit, </li></ul><ul><li>persuade with your interest </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. “Although I’ve worked in the fashion industry for ten years, I’ve always wanted to be an engineer.” </li></ul>Strategies
  10. 10. <ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refer to job advertisement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mention company contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preview qualifications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Supporting Details </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prove claims with examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tie qualifications to the requirements of the position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantify evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Detail your experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Goodwill Closing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer to meet for an interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refer to r e sum é </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make your final pitch </li></ul></ul>Structure
  11. 11. <ul><li>Some Writers Prefer the Me-You-We Model: </li></ul><ul><li>Me (paragraph 1) – I’m very interested in this job, and here are my related qualifications. </li></ul><ul><li>You (paragraph 2) – This is what interests me in your organization and this is how I fit the company/job. </li></ul><ul><li>We (paragraph 3) – We will work well together, and you should give me the job. </li></ul>Structure
  12. 12. Structure <ul><li>Opening Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State which position you are applying for, and how you found out about the organization and/or position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Express what is attracting you to work for this organization and in this position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arouse the reader’s interest in reading more about your qualifications </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Structure <ul><li>Middle Paragraph(s) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Give detailed information about how your qualifications fit with the position’s responsibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use key words from the job description to make the connection between the employer’s needs and your skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include information about academics, job experience, and/or personal attributes relevant to the position </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Structure <ul><li>Closing Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Summarize your qualifications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refer the reader to your enclosed resume </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mention your interest in an interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State when and how you will contact them </li></ul></ul>Note: Follow up exactly when you say you will follow up!
  15. 15. <ul><li>Don’t overuse “I” – try me/my or “burying” the I in mid-sentence </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., “When working in the engineering department, I accomplished….” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative comments </li></ul><ul><li>Vague form letters </li></ul><ul><li>Typos! </li></ul>Common Errors
  16. 16. Summary <ul><li>Good cover letters have the following qualities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>formatted as a professional business letter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>well written with no grammatical or spelling errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>written to a specific company or organization for a specific position – NO MASS MAILINGS PLEASE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contains detail that makes the reader want to read your resume more closely and interview you </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Format <ul><li>The 3-paragraph style for a cover letter is shown at right: </li></ul>
  18. 18. Format <ul><li>The figure at right shows the basic template for a full-block style cover letter: </li></ul>
  19. 19. An example:
  20. 20. Cover Letter Checklist <ul><li>One page only and limited to three targeted paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>type written or word processor, with full spell check and proofing </li></ul><ul><li>Written to someone specific, with the name and title spelled correctly </li></ul><ul><li>Company name and address are correct and complete </li></ul><ul><li>Quality bond paper, 8x11 inches, ideally the same as your resume </li></ul><ul><li>Three focused paragraphs (focused on the reader's need, not yours) </li></ul><ul><li>Closes with &quot;Sincerely” (anything else can be too chummy) Signed with a blue or black pen </li></ul><ul><li>Place the resume behind and fold in a tri-fold, with no staples </li></ul><ul><li>Type or neatly print address on envelope </li></ul><ul><li>Seal the envelope </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative stamp on the envelope </li></ul><ul><li>Final step: do not forget to follow up, or all the other steps will be in vain! </li></ul>
  21. 21. Other Business Letters <ul><li>Thank-you </li></ul><ul><li>Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Prospecting / Inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Non-acceptance </li></ul>
  22. 22. Thank You Letters <ul><li>Generally, a thank you letter has three basic parts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to talk with you. It is generally a good idea to include the actual date on which the interview occurred. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaffirm your interest in the firm by pointing out particular issues brought during the interview that appeal to you. Try to personalize the letter by referring to some topic or common interest you discussed during the interview. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Close the letter with another word of appreciation, an offer to provide more information and a statement that you look forward to hearing from them. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resist the temptation to sell yourself by reiterating your resume strengths. Keep it short and to the point. If you receive a call back interview, you should send another thank you letter. </li></ul>
  23. 23. An example:
  24. 24. Business eMail It isn’t IM or a chat room
  25. 25. Professional eMail Address <ul><li>Use a professional email address </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Refer back to Lesson 1 </li></ul>
  26. 26. Business eMail Address <ul><li>Use the company-provided address </li></ul><ul><ul><li>business purposes only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>keep personal email messages separate, use a separate account from UT or Co-op employer </li></ul></ul>[email_address]
  27. 27. Business eMail Purpose What is a Good Business eMail? A good business email is one that can clearly and effectively deliver your intention, meaning, background/or reason … without ambiguity.
  28. 28. Tone <ul><li>Avoid terseness, which can be misinterpreted </li></ul><ul><li>Use face-to-face communication if issue is sensitive </li></ul><ul><li>Read your emails aloud, looking for ambiguity </li></ul>
  29. 29. Tone: Example One To: Female employees From: H. Honcho Re: Dress code Date: 4 July 2010 Clients will be visiting next week. Halter tops and jeans will not make the right impression. It’s time you started dressing for the office instead of the beach. Leave your flip-flops at home!
  30. 30. Tone: Example Two To: All staff From: H. Honcho Re: Reminder about what to wear to work Date: 4 July 2010 During the summer, our dress code is business casual. We think “business casual” means clothes that feel comfortable and look professional. Men Women • khaki pants •casual pants and skirts • leather shoes… •leather or fabric shoes…
  31. 31. Business eMail Content <ul><li>General Business eMail communication tips … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it is not the same as talking in a chat room or informally with friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>include full name in body of email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide a Subject/Description that is clear and specific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pay attention to coherence, stay on topic </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Four Parts of Business eMail The Opening tells the reader why you are writing The Focus tells the details about the topic The Action tells what you want to happen and gives a time frame The Closing thank the reader and mention future communication
  33. 33. No Blank Subject Lines <ul><li>Never, ever have a blank subject line </li></ul><ul><li>People are unlikely to read it thinking the email may contain a virus </li></ul><ul><li>It won’t stand out to them as they scan through their inbox </li></ul>
  34. 34. Long Subject Lines <ul><li>Try not to let the subject lines get too long: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your Question </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No one wants to see this, and eventually the important words won’t be seen in the email window </li></ul>
  35. 35. Keep the Thread? <ul><li>Sometimes it is needed for understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes it simply increases the size of the message and gets in the way </li></ul><ul><li>Use your judgement </li></ul>
  36. 36. Business eMail Content <ul><li>It is professional communication </li></ul><ul><li>It is professional writing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shorter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less formal (but not informal) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It can make-or-break all else you do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It can be effective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If the employer accepts/likes this form of communication </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Long Messages <ul><li>First, don’t make email messages really, really long unless it’s necessary </li></ul><ul><li>If it is long, say if you’re coordinating group work and email is the only way you communicate, let people know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject: Long email about final report duties </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Attaching a File <ul><li>May be an alternative to a long email message body </li></ul><ul><li>Some email systems do not allow attachments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ask </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use PDF for attachments </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Really Big Files <ul><li>You may have the need to send a big report or other large document … </li></ul><ul><li>Place on a web server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get help if you need it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Send the link to your recipient(s) </li></ul>
  40. 40. Business eMail as Writing Why are good business writing skills important? 1.Employers may see your writing more than they see you. 2.Good writing skills show that you really care. 3.Good writing skills contribute more forcefully to arguments/persuasion/selling. 4.Good writing skills reduce risk of damaging a relationship and fosters good relationships with employers.
  41. 41. Greetings and Goodbyes <ul><li>Emails should begin with a greeting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dear Janet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And end with a salutation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best wishes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thank you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best regards </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. First Name or Title? <ul><li>If you have never met the person, use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mr. or Ms. Or Dr., etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you have met the person, and they have invited you to call them by their first name, go ahead and do so. </li></ul><ul><li>However, if you think they might not remember that invitation (it was at a cocktail party or a long time ago) revert to the title. </li></ul>
  43. 43. But . . . <ul><li>If you have been exchanging emails with the person all day, it’s okay to skip the greeting and salutation as if you’re having one long conversation </li></ul>
  44. 44. Use Short Paragraphs <ul><li>Don’t use long paragraphs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything more than five sentences can be too long </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remember </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The reader may be viewing the email in a much smaller window than you are </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. Business eMail Policies <ul><li>What is the company policy for email usage on-the-job? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitored? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archived </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abuse is cause for termination </li></ul></ul>In a study of 500 companies with ethics codes, 90% of them monitored their employees’ email, and not all of their employees knew it …
  46. 46. Have a Professional Signature <ul><li>Every email program has a way you can add a signature to your outgoing emails automatically. Make sure this signature has your name, number, and email address for business contacts. </li></ul><ul><li>When you join the workforce, ask if there is a standard email signature for the company. If not, add one—it should contain all of the information on your business card. </li></ul>
  47. 47. An Example <ul><li>Angela Eastin Technical Support Division ACME Engineers and Architects Fremont, Ohio 43420 Office: 419-555-2500 x231 Fax: 419-555-2600 [email_address] </li></ul>
  48. 48. Signatures Do NOT Include <ul><li>Inspirational quotations </li></ul><ul><li>“ A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no roses.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ May the Force be with you.” </li></ul>
  49. 49. Business eMail Caution <ul><li>eMail is forever </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want your Mother to read </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Or your spouse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or your boss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or the general public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul></ul>
  50. 50. Telephone Basics Common Sense
  51. 51. Telephone Basics <ul><li>Calling an Employer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No background noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speak clearly, slowly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify yourself early in the call </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leaving a Voice Mail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As above </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeat your return number </li></ul></ul>
  52. 52. Telephone Basics <ul><li>Cell Phones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn off in meetings (interviews) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t ignore others to talk on phone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Being called </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You message … is it professional? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>On the job </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Company phone policies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No personal calls </li></ul></ul>
  53. 53. Discussion <ul><li>Your questions and comments are welcome </li></ul>