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Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Letters Concerning Employment

For some students, the job-seeking process involves interviews at the University Placement Service and visits to company headquarters; for other job-seekers, it means sending job applications with resumes and hopefully receiving invitations for interviews at company offices. In either case, you will find that additional correspondence will not only be necessary but will also enhance your chances of being the applicant chosen for the job.

The secrets to the success of these letters are in part your timing and also the exactness of detail. Do not allow your letter to sound like every one else's. Avoid using the clichés and generalizations found in so many employment letters. It is also good advice to stay away from form letters. The purpose of your letter is to make yourself stand out from other applicants. If you utilize the aid of a form letter, you may finish your letter quickly, but it will likely be ordinary and lack the finesse to get your qualifications noticed.

You may also use these resources for working class jobs: Job Search Documents for Working Class Positions

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Applicant Request For a Reference

During your job search, a prospective employer may request a list of references prior to or during an interview. This request may take the form of a response to a written job application, a question on a company application or as an addendum to your resume. Your reference sheet should list the names, addresses and relation to you for each reference. For more information, see the OWL handout on writing a reference sheet.

As a courtesy, you should get in touch with the people you wish to include on your reference list and ask permission to use their names. This contact will allow them to prepare adequate answers to questions about you so they will not be caught by surprise when prospective employers call or write. Also, those contacted can decline you permission, if they wish. You may find it worthwhile to reintroduce yourself to the people on your list, particularly if you have not spoken to them for a while. The suggestions below will be helpful if you need to write a letter to contact your references.

What do you include?

Model for Writing a Reference Request Letter

February 10, 2001

Louie Lab
1234 University St.
University City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. Lab:

You will need to write a reference request letter before you create a reference sheet to distribute to potential employers. It is meant to give the reference some warning that an employer may be contacting them. It also insures that they have the most up-to-date information about your qualifications and education. In the first paragraph, your primary goal is to reintroduce yourself to your potential reference. Simply give a quick review of the relationship and situations the two of you shared. This opening should be courteous and polite. Provide a little information about yourself. This is especially important if you have not spoken with your potential reference in some time. State your field of study, year in school, and/or career aspirations.

Next, you should formally ask to use this person as a reference. Briefly discuss the position for which you are applying and how the reference will be used. Will it be utilized as an addition to your resume or presented at the interview? This information will give your reference a better understanding of the information that would be expected from them if an employer contacted them.

Finally, close the letter with a sentence that assumes you have permission to use the reference unless you hear otherwise. You may wish to include a self-addressed stamped card so that the person may send you an answer. Also, include a copy of your resume with the letter. This will provide helpful information about your qualifications and allow the reference to speak intelligently to potential employers. Thank the reference for allowing you to use them in your job search and end with a friendly closing.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter

123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Follow-up to an Interview

The interview follow-up, when you have visited a business location, is a courteous letter of acknowledgment. You may also write a follow-up to an interview when your interview took place on campus. It is a good idea to write a follow-up thank you letter anytime a company has invested time with you. The letter should show the reader that you are thorough, courteous, efficient, and sincerely interested in the job. On the personal level, writing this letter allows you to wrap up your application for the job; it is your last chance to tie up all the loose ends neatly.

What do you include?

Follow-up to an Interview Letter Model

April 2, 2001


Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

The purpose of the follow-up to an interview is to convey your thankfulness at being given an interview. In the opening paragraph, thank the interviewer for their time. Thank them for allowing you to learn about the position and the company.

In the body of your letter, present a personal analysis of your interview and visit. It is important to avoid clichés and generalizations such as, "My visit to your company was very informational and interesting." Write about your impressions of the company and your review of the interview proceedings. You may also want to point out any new information that you learned about the company during your visit. If there is any new information about your education or work experience that you believe would be increase your chance of getting the position, present those as well.

In your conclusion it is important to be positive and reflect goodwill. The letter's intent is to show the interviewer that you are thorough, courteous, efficient and, most importantly, that you are sincerely interested in the job. It is likely that sending this letter will set you apart from the crowd.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter
123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Inquiry about Cover Letter and Resume

When you have received no response to your application or cover letter, you might consider writing an inquiry letter. This letter is relatively simple to write considering that you might have no new information to convey, and investing a considerable amount of time at this point seems inefficient. If you still do not receive a response to your application, consider the company a dead end and move on to other opportunities.

What do you include?

Model of Inquiry about Cover Letter and Resume Letter

March 16, 2001


Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

This document should loosely reflect your cover letter. In this opening paragraph, restate the position for which you applied, and state that you are still interested. You may also wish to include a forecasting statement. This is a brief sentence explaining why you feel qualified to fill the position at hand.

In the second paragraph, briefly restate the qualifications listed in your cover letter. Since brevity is always important in employment related letters, remember to include only your most recent and relevant qualifications. In order to avoid restating your resume, give situational examples of your qualifications. If there have been any new additions to your resume, add those as well. Here too, avoid simply restating your resume since it will be included with your letter.

Finally, in the closing paragraph, restate your contact information and when you are available. Close the letter so that the employer knows that you are still sincerely interested in the job.

Sincerely,
Lucy Letter

123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Follow-Up After No Response to an Interview

The follow-up letter required when you receive no response to an interview is the subtlest of the follow-up letters. It is normally employed for two reasons: either the company is painfully slow in making decisions, or you have other offers pending and you want to hurry the decision along. If you have other offers, you must in all fairness contact the firms who have spent money and time on your interviews and visits to the firm before accepting another position. The main purpose of the letter is to request that a decision about your application be made.

What do you include?

Remember to use an appropriate tone when writing this letter — you don't want to cause the scales to tip the other way!

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Acceptance Letter

The acceptance of a job offer is one of the most pleasant letters to write. Your contact at the company should have sent you a written job offer that briefly reaffirms the offer. This is their way of completing the legal contract between you and the company. It is your responsibility to confirm that you understand the details of the offer. This letter could also be used if the elements of the offer were not clearly stated. Use it to request clarification in your acceptance letter and state explicitly what you are agreeing to. This part is particularly important if critical items are not mentioned in the offer letter or remain vague, as often happens if the offer is made verbally.

What do you include?

Model for an Acceptance Letter

May 10, 2001


Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

The acceptance letter is a simple and pleasant letter to write. In the first paragraph, thank the company for the offer and directly accept the position.

Next, restate the contract provisions as you understand them. These are points that you and your contact at the company have discussed in relation to your employment. They may include salary, location, benefits, or any other items. Restate any instructions you were given in their acceptance letter to you. These might include the date that you will begin working, the salary discussed, or the hours you would be working. It is extremely important to restate these details because they provide documentation of an understanding between you and the company before an actual contract is signed.

Finally, end with a statement of your happiness at the opportunity to join the company. Be thankful and courteous, watching your tone so as not to sound too overconfident.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter
123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Rejection of Job Offer

A polite refusal is an applicant's responsibility as well as a professional courtesy. You notify the employer that you are not interested in working for the company and thereby allow him/her to continue to search as quickly as possible. Also closing the door gently, ending negotiation pleasantly on a note of goodwill, makes good sense in terms of the future. In writing the refusal letter, use the indirect plan, giving reasons before saying no as described below.

Do not put off writing refusal letters. They are not crucial to you personally, but they are important to the employer and to others who may be under consideration for the position you are refusing. The sooner you step out of the way, the easier it will be for others.

What do you include?

Model for Writing a Rejection of a Job Offer

May 10, 2001


Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

The purpose of this letter is to reject a job offer presented to you by a company. It is important to be polite, while at the same time firmly rejecting the offer. In the opening paragraph, thank the employer for the offer. Convey that although you appreciated the offer, you are unable to accept the position. You may also wish to use an indirect approach, by stating the reasons for your refusal before rejecting the offer.

You should then give the employer the reasons for your refusal. The rejection of an offer is somewhat unimportant to the applicant, but it is extremely important to the employer. It allows the company to formally move on to the next applicant. More importantly, it tells the employer how to make the offer more appealing for the next applicant. After all, how can they be expected to fix a problem if they don't know what it is? After you have stated your reasons for rejecting their offer, politely refuse the offer (if you haven't already done so).

End your letter with a sense of goodwill. This is important because you may wish to apply for a position with the company at a later date. Also, be sure to thank them for the time they invested while working with you.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter
123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Request for Further Negotiations

This letter is similar to both the acceptance and the refusal, except for an added "if" clause. In other words, you would most likely accept the offer if certain conditions are met or addressed.

Either party can instigate negotiations concerning responsibilities, salary, or benefits. Do not be reluctant to ask for adjustments in the offer if you are sure your request is fair. But assess the situation first to determine whether your request will cost you the job. Remember the employment situation may involve both a buyers' and a sellers' market. Ask yourself how difficult it would be for an employer to find someone else for the position that would accept the original terms of the offer.

What do you include?

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Letter When You Receive a Rejection

Consider writing a letter even when you receive a rejection. Sometime later when you have had additional experience or training, you may want to apply to the firm once more. The letter shows that you were extremely interested in working for the particular company and states your interest in applying for another position at a later date.

What do you include?

Reply to a Rejection Model Letter

May 7, 2001


Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

Writing this letter is optional, but doing so is a good idea. It leaves the door open for you to apply to the firm sometime in the future when your qualifications have changed and is a way of maintaining a good relationship with the company. In the opening, thank the company for their time and consideration of your application and qualifications.

Use the body of your letter to discuss your positive impressions of the company. You might mention interviews that you had with company representatives, information you learned about the company during your application process, and any specific people who were particularly helpful or kind to you during the process.

Close the letter by mentioning the possibility of future contact with the company. Remain optimistic and thankful that the company considered your application.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter
123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

Contributors:Purdue OWL.
Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Thank You Letters

When you know a firm contacted one of your references, you should thank the individual in person or by letter. In your letter, you should show appreciation for the assistance and describe the job you received.

University Placement Service personnel who have been especially helpful or individuals who may have notified you of job openings would be pleased to receive an appreciative note from you once you obtain a job.