This handout provides information on how to tailor your employment documents to a specific audience.
Last Edited: 2010-04-25 08:49:44
Where should I address my audience?
Ideally, all writing in an employment document should be written with the audience in mind. From how you structure your resume to how you decide to write a job acceptance letter, you need to write for a specific audience.
There are times in your document when you may specifically mention your reader. This establishes greater rapport with your audience. For example, in a resume you may mention the position you are applying for and the organization you are applying with in the Objective Statement. In a Cover Letter, you may mention a previous meeting or interview with the reader in the introductory paragraph. You should always address your Cover Letter to a specific person as well, unless you are writing in response to a blind ad.
Objective: Seeking a position in pharmaceutical sales at FEELBETTER Industries where I may utilize my health care expertise and interpersonal capabilities.
Cover Letter: I appreciate that you took the time to meet with me last week for an informational interview. It was very exciting to learn more about FEELBETTER Industries.
Did I effectively reach my audience?
Evaluate your writing and consider whether or not you effectively addressed your reader. This is part of the revision process, and ultimately part of the writing process. It may be necessary to rewrite or reorganize the document to make your message clear.
To proofread for skimmers: Perform a 20-second test on your document to see if your message effectively reaches skimmers. Simply skim your document for twenty seconds, as an employer may do, and see what stands out most to you in that amount of time and if what stands out is able to convey your message clearly. Even better, have someone else skim your document before sending it, and see if your message is clear to them as well.
To proofread for skeptics: In order to proofread for skeptical readers, you should question each of your assertions and be sure that you provide specific and sufficient evidence to support each assertion in your employment document.
You should also ask yourself:
- Is my main point stated clearly in the first paragraph?
- Did I include enough details and examples to support my main point?
- Is it clear by the end of the message what I want the reader to do or know?
- Do I provide enough context for the message or is more background information required?
- Have I included keywords in my document?
- Did I specifically mention my reader's name (or the company's name)?
- Did I use language that the reader will understand?
- Does my message have a sincere and appropriate tone?