Professional Communications Myrna Rudder Dan Solarek
“ Thank You” letters
Business Letters Especially Cover Letters
Isn’t it just a throwaway?
When do I need to write a cover letter?
Cover Letter / Letter of Application A handshake through the mail
When you send a resume, you always include a cover letter.
The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person.
The cover letter should be targeted toward the job or opportunity. It is NEVER generic.
Cover letters should be one page.
Express your intent, interest, and enthusiasm in position
to connect yourself with the job
to connect with the recipient
to demonstrate you’ve done your “homework”
Demonstrate your personality and writing ability
to impress with your style and clarity
Complement and emphasize highlights of your resumé
to “flesh out” the r e sum é as it relates to the job
Cover Letter Goals
Fit the Argument to the Context
1. If you’re well qualified for the job,
convince with your experience
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.”
Fit the Argument to the Context
2. If your general background fits, but the job description doesn’t really,
convince with related skills
e.g.: “The education and experience I’ve gained as an engineering technology student have prepared me for the co-op position.”
Fit the Argument to the Context
3. If your skills and experience don’t fit,
persuade with your interest
e.g. “Although I’ve worked in the fashion industry for ten years, I’ve always wanted to be an engineer.”
Refer to job advertisement
Mention company contact
Prove claims with examples
Tie qualifications to the requirements of the position
Detail your experience
Offer to meet for an interview
Refer to r e sum é
Make your final pitch
Some Writers Prefer the Me-You-We Model:
Me (paragraph 1) – I’m very interested in this job, and here are my related qualifications.
You (paragraph 2) – This is what interests me in your organization and this is how I fit the company/job.
We (paragraph 3) – We will work well together, and you should give me the job.
State which position you are applying for, and how you found out about the organization and/or position
Express what is attracting you to work for this organization and in this position
Arouse the reader’s interest in reading more about your qualifications
Give detailed information about how your qualifications fit with the position’s responsibilities
Use key words from the job description to make the connection between the employer’s needs and your skills
Include information about academics, job experience, and/or personal attributes relevant to the position
Summarize your qualifications
Refer the reader to your enclosed resume
Mention your interest in an interview
State when and how you will contact them
Note: Follow up exactly when you say you will follow up!
Don’t overuse “I” – try me/my or “burying” the I in mid-sentence
e.g., “When working in the engineering department, I accomplished….”
Vague form letters
Good cover letters have the following qualities:
formatted as a professional business letter
well written with no grammatical or spelling errors
written to a specific company or organization for a specific position – NO MASS MAILINGS PLEASE
contains detail that makes the reader want to read your resume more closely and interview you
The 3-paragraph style for a cover letter is shown at right:
The figure at right shows the basic template for a full-block style cover letter:
Cover Letter Checklist
One page only and limited to three targeted paragraphs
type written or word processor, with full spell check and proofing
Written to someone specific, with the name and title spelled correctly
Company name and address are correct and complete
Quality bond paper, 8x11 inches, ideally the same as your resume
Three focused paragraphs (focused on the reader's need, not yours)
Closes with "Sincerely” (anything else can be too chummy) Signed with a blue or black pen
Place the resume behind and fold in a tri-fold, with no staples
Type or neatly print address on envelope
Seal the envelope
Conservative stamp on the envelope
Final step: do not forget to follow up, or all the other steps will be in vain!
Other Business Letters
Prospecting / Inquiry
Thank You Letters
Generally, a thank you letter has three basic parts:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Business eMail It isn’t IM or a chat room
Professional eMail Address
Use a professional email address
Refer back to Lesson 1
Business eMail Address
Use the company-provided address
business purposes only
keep personal email messages separate, use a separate account from UT or Co-op employer
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.
Avoid terseness, which can be misinterpreted
Use face-to-face communication if issue is sensitive
Read your emails aloud, looking for ambiguity
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!
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…
Business eMail Content
General Business eMail communication tips …
it is not the same as talking in a chat room or informally with friends
include full name in body of email
provide a Subject/Description that is clear and specific
pay attention to coherence, stay on topic
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
No Blank Subject Lines
Never, ever have a blank subject line
People are unlikely to read it thinking the email may contain a virus
It won’t stand out to them as they scan through their inbox
Long Subject Lines
Try not to let the subject lines get too long:
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your Question
No one wants to see this, and eventually the important words won’t be seen in the email window
Keep the Thread?
Sometimes it is needed for understanding
Sometimes it simply increases the size of the message and gets in the way
Use your judgement
Business eMail Content
It is professional communication
It is professional writing
Less formal (but not informal)
It can make-or-break all else you do
It can be effective
If the employer accepts/likes this form of communication
First, don’t make email messages really, really long unless it’s necessary
If it is long, say if you’re coordinating group work and email is the only way you communicate, let people know
Subject: Long email about final report duties
Attaching a File
May be an alternative to a long email message body
Some email systems do not allow attachments
use PDF for attachments
Really Big Files
You may have the need to send a big report or other large document …
Place on a web server
Get help if you need it
Send the link to your recipient(s)
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.
Greetings and Goodbyes
Emails should begin with a greeting:
And end with a salutation:
First Name or Title?
If you have never met the person, use
Mr. or Ms. Or Dr., etc.
If you have met the person, and they have invited you to call them by their first name, go ahead and do so.
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.
But . . .
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
Use Short Paragraphs
Don’t use long paragraphs
Anything more than five sentences can be too long
The reader may be viewing the email in a much smaller window than you are
Business eMail Policies
What is the company policy for email usage on-the-job?
Abuse is cause for termination
In a study of 500 companies with ethics codes, 90% of them monitored their employees’ email, and not all of their employees knew it …
Have a Professional Signature
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.
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.
Angela Eastin Technical Support Division ACME Engineers and Architects Fremont, Ohio 43420 Office: 419-555-2500 x231 Fax: 419-555-2600 [email_address]
Signatures Do NOT Include
“ A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no roses.”
“ May the Force be with you.”
Business eMail Caution
eMail is forever
Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want your Mother to read