You are on page 1of 33

Business Letters in English

Business letters are formal paper communications between, to or from businesses and usually sent through the Post Office or sometimes by courier. Business letters are sometimes called "snail-mail" (in contrast to email which is faster). This lesson concentrates on business letters but also loo s at other business correspondence. !t includes"

letter memo fa# email

Who writes Business Letters?


$ost people who ha%e an occupation ha%e to write business letters. &ome write many letters each day and others only write a few letters o%er the course of a career. Business people also read letters on a daily basis. 'etters are written from a person(group, nown as the sender to a person(group, nown in business as the recipient. )ere are some e#amples of senders and recipients"

business *+ business business *+ consumer ,ob applicant *+ company citi-en *+ go%ernment official employey *+ employee staff member *+ staff member

Why write Business Letters?


There are many reasons why you may need to write business letters or other correspondence"

to persuade to inform to re.uest to e#press than s to remind to recommend to apologi-e to congratulate to re,ect a proposal or offer to introduce a person or policy to in%ite or welcome to follow up

to formali-e decisions

/ead through the following pages to learn more about the different types of business letters, and how to write them. 0ou will learn about formatting, planning, and writing letters, as well as how to spot your own errors. These pages are designed to help you write business letters and correspondence, but they will also help you learn to read, and therefore respond to, the letters you recei%e. 0ou will also find samples that you can use and alter for your own needs.

Business Letter Vocabulary


attachment block format body bullets certified mail coherent concise confidential, personal diplomacy, diplomatic direct mail, junk mail double space enclosure formal format heading e#tra document or image that is added to an email most common business letter format, single spaced, all paragraphs begin at the left margin the content of the letter1 between the salutation and signature small dar dots used to set off items in an unnumbered list important letters that sender pays e#tra postage for in order to recei%e a notice of receipt logical1 easy to understand gets to the point .uic ly pri%ate demonstrating consideration and indness mar eting letters addressed to a large audience format where one blan line is left between lines of te#t e#tra document or image included with a letter uses set formatting and business language, opposite of casual the set up or organi-ation of a document a word or phrase that indicates what the te#t below will be about

indent informal inside address justified margins letterhead logo margin memorandum (memo) modified block format on arrival notation postage proofread punctuation reader-friendly recipient right ragged salutation sensitive information semi-block format sincerely single spaced

e#tra spaces (usually 2) at the beginning of a paragraph casual recipient3s mailing information straight and e%en te#t, always begins at the same place speciali-ed paper with a (company) logo or name printed at the top symbol or image that identifies a specific organi-ation a blan space that borders the edge of the te#t document sent within a company (internal), presented in short form left ,ustified as bloc format, but date and closing are centered notice to recipient that appears on an en%elope (e.g. "confidential") the cost of sending a letter through the Post Office read through a finished document to chec for mista es mar s used within or after sentences and phrases (e.g. periods, commas) easy to read the person who recei%es the letter format in which te#t on the right side of the document ends at slightly different points (not ,ustified) greeting in a letter (e.g. "4ear $r 5ones") content in a letter that may cause the recei%er to feel upset paragraphs are indented, not left-,ustified term used before a name when formally closing a letter format where no blan s lines are left in-between lines of te#t

spacing tone transitions

blan area between words or lines of te#t the feeling of the language (e.g. serious, enthusiastic) words or phrases used to ma e a letter flow naturally (e.g. "furthermore", "on the other hand")

Business Letter Formats


There are certain standards for formatting a business letter, though some %ariations are acceptable (for e#ample between 6uropean and 7orth 8merican business letters). )ere are some basic guidelines"

9se 8: (6uropean) or ;< = >> inch (7orth 8merican) paper or letterhead 9se ?.2 cm or > inch margins on all four sides 9se a simple font such as Times 7ew /oman or 8rial 9se >@ to >? point font 9se a comma after the salutation (4ear $r Bond,) 'ay out the letter so that it fits the paper appropriately &ingle space within paragraphs 4ouble space between paragraphs 4ouble space between last sentence and closing (&incerely, Best wishes) 'ea%e three to fi%es spaces for a handwritten signature cc" (meaning "copies to") comes after the typed name (if necessary) enc" (meaning "enclosure") comes ne#t (if necessary) Aold in three (hori-ontally) before placing in the en%elope 9se right ragged formatting (not ,ustified on right side)

Formatting Business Letters


Bloc format is the most common format used in business today. Bith this format, nothing is centred. The sender3s address, the recipient3s address, the date and all new paragraphs begin at the left margin, li e this"

Bic ed Ba# Co. 'td ?? Charlton Bay 'ondon, &6>@ ;D0 2th 4ecember, ?@@E $s. $aggie 5ones 8ngel Cosmetics !nc. >>@ 6ast ?2th &treet 7ew 0or , 70, >@@?> 9&8 0our ref" >?F Our ref" abc 4ear $s. 5ones, Aorthcoming 6#hibition Airst paragraph... &econd paragraph... Third paragraph... &incerely,

* &6746/3& 844/6&& * may be printed company logo and address

* 48T6 * /6C!P!67T3& 844/6&&

* /6C!P!67T3& /6A6/67C6 (!A 870) * &6746/3& /6A6/67C6 (!A 870) * &8'9T8T!O7 * &9B56CT

* BO40 OA '6TT6/

* C'O&!7G * &!G78T9/6 ()874-B/!TT67) * 78$6, T!T'6 (T0P64) * COP0 TO * 67C'O&9/6

Morris Howard
$orris )oward, President cc" Brian Baldorf 6nc" catalogue

This are other, slightly different ways of formatting a business letter, where for e#ample paragraphs are indented or the date is typed on the right hand side. 0ou can see e#amples of these in the sample letters.

Formatting Envelopes for Business Letters


!t is best to type an en%elope for a business letter. $ost word document programs contain an en%elope labelling function to help you. 8ll you need to do is indicate the si-e of en%elope you are using and type the correct information in the appropriate fields, for e#ample" &ending company3s name and address is sometimes printed here

Postage stamp

$s. $aggie 5ones 8ngel Cosmetics !nc. >>@ 6ast ?2th &treet 7ew 0or 70 >@@?> 9&8

Formatting Business Memos


$emos are short internal business letters, sent to other staff within the same company. 8 memo (or memorandum) may also be posted somewhere inside a company for all to see. $emos are becoming less common as electronic mail becomes more common. !n contrast to letters, memos do not usually contain salutations or closings, and may be typed or hand-written. The te#t portion of the memo is generally in bloc format. $emos should include "Arom", "To", "4ate", "&ub,ect" and the message itself, li e this"

HCompany logoI

$6$O/8749$

Arom" Hname or initialsI To" Hname or initialsI 4ate" &ub,ect" Hshort descriptionI $essage starts here...

often with bullet points

Formatting Business Email


Bhen using email in business, most of the guidelines for standard formatting in business letters apply. )ere are a few differences"

Choose a sub,ect line that is simple and straightforward. /efrain from using ey words that might cause an email to go into another person3s trash bo#. /epeat the sub,ect line in the body of the email, beneath the salutation (as with a letter). 9se the "cc" address line to copy more than one person with your correspondence. 0ou can re.uest a receipt for important letters. The system will automatically let you now when someone has opened your email. !nstead of a signature, include your typed name, and below it include your email address, business name and address, phone and fa# number, and website if appropriate.

/emember that people often print out emails, so your own email address and the sub,ect line would be lost if you had not included them in the body of the email. !nternal electronic mail may be formatted more li e a memo than a formal letter.

Planning a Business Letter


8 business letter is not a place for chit-chat. 9nli e business con%ersations where a certain amount of small tal is used to brea the ice, a business letter should be clear and concise. By ta ing time to plan your letter, you will sa%e time in the writing and proofreading stages. 4uring the planning stage, as yourself a few simple .uestions. 5ot down your answers to create an outline before you start writing.

Who am I writing this letter to?


!dentifying your audience always comes first. 8re you writing to more than one person, to someone you don3t now, or to someone you ha%e nown for a long timeJ This will help you determine how formal the letter needs to be. 0ou may need to introduce yourself briefly in the letter if the recipient does not now you. 0ou may also need to find out the updated address and title of the recipient. This is a good time to confirm the correct spelling of first and last names.

Why am I writing this letter?


The main reason for the letter should be understood from the sub,ect line and first few sentences. 0ou may co%er more than one thing in one business letter, but there will almost always be a general reason for the letter. !dentify your main goal and what you hope to accomplish. /e%iew some e#ample reasons why people write business letters on the introductory page of this lesson.

Are there specific details I need to include?


Gather any dates, addresses, names, prices, times or other information that you may need to include before you write your letter. 4ouble chec details rather than relying on your memory.

Do I re uire a response?
$any types of business letter re.uire a response. Others are written in response to a letter that has been recei%ed. Before you start writing, determine whether or not you re.uire an action or response from the recipient. 0our re.uest or re.uirement should be %ery clear. !n some cases you may e%en need to pro%ide a deadline for a response. !f you do re.uire a response, how should the recipient contact youJ !ndicate this information clearly as well. 0ou may want to pro%ide more than one option, such as an email address and a phone number.

!ow can I organi"e my points logically?


Thin about how you would organi-e your thoughts if you were spea ing rather than writing to the recipient. Airst you would introduce yourself. &econd you would state your concern or reason for writing. 8fter the main content of your letter you would include information on how you can be contacted. The end of the letter is also a place to e#press gratitude, wish good-luc , or offer sympathy. )ere is an e#ample outline"

RE !"!E#$

Karen 5acobson 8c.uaintance (met twice before, briefly) Title" President, The Alying Club 8ddress" :: Bindermere 4ri%e, Baterloo, Ontario '>B ?C2

RE%&'#

To in%ite a board member to remain on the board for a second term. Other members suggested that she has en,oyed this position and has been thin ing about staying on. 7o other %olunteers ha%e come forward to ta e o%er at the end of &eptember.

&"E !(! )E$%!L&


!f she decides to stay on she will need to be a%ailable for the national meeting on 2 7o%ember. Board members who stay for two terms are sometimes as ed to ta e on e#tra duties, such as ta ing minutes or hosting social e%ents.

RE&"'#&E

&he will need to respond by > &eptember. &he can contact me by email or phone.

'R*%#!+%$!'#

/eturn address of our institution Karen 5acobson3s title and address &alutation" 4ear $s. 5acobson Airst paragraph" !ntroduce myself briefly--remind Karen where we met before.

Pro%ide my reason for writing" "! ha%e heard from a number of board members that you may be interested in staying on for a second term. Be would be %ery pleased to ha%e you stay on for another year." &econd paragraph" 6#plain what type of commitment this position will in%ol%e this year (once a month meetings, national meeting, plus possible e#tra duties) Third Paragraph" Pro%ide deadline for response and how to contact me. Closing" 6#press than s to Karen for %olunteering her time this year

Writing a Business Letter


The term "business letter" ma es people ner%ous. $any people with 6nglish as a second language worry that their writing is not ad%anced enough for business writing. This is not the case. 8n effecti%e letter in business uses short, simple sentences and straightforward %ocabulary. The easier a letter is to read, the better. 0ou will need to use smooth transitions so that your sentences do not appear too choppy.

#alutation
Airst and foremost, ma e sure that you spell the recipient3s name correctly. 0ou should also confirm the gender and proper title. 9se $s. for women and $r. for men. 9se $rs. if you are >@@L sure that a woman is married. 9nder less formal circumstances, or after a long period of correspondence it may be acceptable to address a person by his or her first name. Bhen you don3t now the name of a person and cannot find this information out you may write, "To Bhom !t $ay Concern". !t is standard to use a comma (colon in 7orth 8merica) after the salutation. !t is also possible to use no punctuation mar at all. )ere are some common ways to address the recipient"

4ear $r Powell, 4ear $s $ac en-ie, 4ear Arederic )anson" 4ear 6ditor-in-Chief" 4ear Malued Customer 4ear &ir or $adam" 4ear $adam 4ear &ir, 4ear &irs Gentlemen"

First paragraph

!n most types of business letter it is common to use a friendly greeting in the first sentence of the letter. )ere are some e#amples"

! hope you are en,oying a fine summer. Than you for your ind letter of 5anuary 2th. ! came across an ad for your company in The Star today. !t was a pleasure meeting you at the conference this month. ! appreciate your patience in waiting for a response.

8fter your short opening, state the main point of your letter in one or two sentences"

!3m writing to en.uire about... !3m interested in the ,ob opening posted on your company website. Be3d li e to in%ite you to a members only luncheon on 8pril 2th.

#econd and third paragraphs


9se a few short paragraphs to go into greater detail about your main point. !f one paragraph is all you need, don3t write an e#tra paragraph ,ust to ma e your letter loo longer. !f you are including sensiti%e material, such as re,ecting an offer or informing an employee of a layoff period, embed this sentence in the second paragraph rather than opening with it. )ere are some common ways to e#press unpleasant facts"

Be regret to inform you... !t is with great sadness that we... 8fter careful consideration we ha%e decided...

Final paragraph
0our last paragraph should include re.uests, reminders, and notes on enclosures. !f necessary, your contact information should also be in this paragraph. )ere are some common phrases used when closing a business letter"

! loo forward to... Please respond at your earliest con%enience. ! should also remind you that the ne#t board meeting is on Aebruary 2th. Aor futher details... !f you re.uire more information... Than you for ta ing this into consideration. ! appreciate any feedbac you may ha%e. 6nclosed you will find... Aeel free to contact me by phone or email.

$losing

)ere are some common ways to close a letter. 9se a comma between the closing and your handwritten name (or typed in an email). !f you do not use a comma or colon in your salutation, lea%e out the comma after the closing phrase"

0ours truly, 0ours sincerely, &incerely, &incerely yours Than you, Best wishes 8ll the best, Best of luc Barm regards,

Writing %ips

9se a con%ersational tone. 8s direct .uestions. 4ouble-chec gender and spelling of names. 9se acti%e %oice whene%er possible. 9se polite modals (would in fa%our of will). 8lways refer to yourself as "!". 4on3t use "we" unless it is clear e#actly who the pronoun refers to. /ewrite any sentence or re.uest that sounds %ague. 4on3t forget to include the date. 4ay-$onth-0ear is con%entional in many countries1 howe%er, to a%oid confusion, write out the month instead of using numbers (e.g. 5uly 2th, ?@@N)

Proofreading a Business Letter


"Proofread" means to read a te#t carefully to chec it for errors and general tone. 0ou should always proofread a business letter before sending it. The most important thing when proofreading any document is to read the te#t out loud. Print the letter rather than read it on your computer screen. $a e notes where your letter sounds aw ward. !f possible allow one day between writing and sending your letter. 0ou are more li ely to spot any typos or other errors with a fresh eye. (!f you ha%e to respond to an important email on the same day, write it in the morning and proofread it after lunch.) 9se a spell-chec function on your computer program if possible. Computer programs are useful for pointing out passi%e sentences, sub,ect-%erb agreement problems etc. )owe%er, be careful when using grammar-chec programs. &ometimes they will highlight a phrase that is not actually an error. !f you are in doubt, try to simplify the sentence by using a sentence structure that you are more comfortable with.

!f possible, as another person to double-chec your letter. 0ou could offer to return the fa%our for your colleague and become proofreading partners. 0ou can e%en use standard proofreading mar s to ma e it easier to e#plain necessary changes. Type "proofreading mar s" into an internet search engine, and send the list to your fellow proofreader.

$hec&list
>. 4id you read the letter out loudJ ?. 4id you allow some time to pass after writing the letter before proofreading itJ F. 8re your re.uests, needs, concerns clearJ :. 8re there any long sentences that need to be bro en into twoJ 2. 4o you use we incorrectlyJ E. 4o all .uestions contain a .uestion mar J N. 4id you include the dateJ ;. 4id you spell the recipient3s name correctlyJ O. )a%e you used a standard business format (e.g. bloc )J >@. )a%e you used passi%e sentences that could be changed to acti%e onesJ >>. )a%e you used standard spellingJ (e.g. British 6nglish or 8merican 6nglish) >?. !f it is an important letter (e.g. a co%er letter for a resume), did someone else read it for youJ

Resumes, CVs and Covering Letters in English


8 resume or CM is a summary of your educational .ualifications and wor e#perience. Companies usually want to see your resume when you apply for a ,ob. 8 co%ering letter is the letter that accompanies your resume when you send it to a company. Both of the documents are %itally important in the ,ob application process. There are two ways to read these pages" >. Bor through them in se.uence (clic on #e,t at the end of each page) ?. 5ump to any section you want at any time (clic on the links at the top of each page) 8t the end are sample resumes and co%ering letters, with tests to chec your understanding and a summary for future reference. -.elpful information / many thanks04r. Klaus Better, Germany

-*ives very clear instructions on producing po1erful and effective 2s3Terence 4esborough, 9&8

-! like the attention that has been devoted to the use of po1erful, yet simple 1ording3)etty Mon , Canada

-% gem to find on the net0 ! thought ! kne1 1hat there 1as to kno1 about 24s, but you put me straight on a fe1 points3 % very useful tool for students of English 1ishing5planning to be employed by 6# s (6ulti #ational ompanies)30%onne Gluyas, 8ustralia

-! thought it 1as very do1n-to-earth and e,tremely simple to understand3 ! needed some information fast and ! got it3$ichael Blunden, 9K

You never get a second chance to ma e a first im!ression


Bhen you apply for a ,ob, most employers want to ha%e ? important documents from you" >. % 2 or resume ?. % covering letter (irst impressions are important3 0our CM and letter are usually the first impression that an employer has of you. 8nd because an employer may ha%e hundreds of ,ob applications to consider, you ha%e about >2 seconds to ma e sure that first impression is a good one.

Why you need a good $'


0our CM3s ,ob is to get you an inter%iew. 0our CM or resume is your %isiting card, your ambassador, your shop window. !t represents you and it has a specific purpose" to get you an intervie1P To do this, it must"

attract inform persuade sell

8 good CM is one of your most important tools in the search for employment.

What a $' or resume is not


8 CM is not a boo . 8 CM is not an obstacle.

8 CM is not a tombstone. 8 CM is not boring or difficult to read. 8 CM is not your life story or autobiography. 8 CM is not a catalogue of your personal opinions. 8 CM is not a list of problems with past employers.

What a $' or resume is


8 CM is short. 8 CM is seducti%e. 8 CM is an important document. 8 CM answers the .uestion 3BhyJ3 8 CM is interesting and easy to read. 8 CM is a list of benefits for the employer. 8 CM is as much about the employer as about you.

Why you need a good covering letter


0our co%ering letter must sell your CM. Before e%en loo ing at your CM, an employer usually reads your co%ering letter. !f it is badly-written, or untidy, or difficult to read, your CM will probably go into the nearest bin. !f it is well-written, attracti%e, easy to read and persuasi%e, the employer will turn to your CM. !t3s that simpleP

Your Covering Letter


0our co%ering letter is a sales letter. overing letter (noun)" short letter sent with another document1 co%er letter (9&) Bhen you send your CM to apply for a position, you should also include a short letter. This letter is called a covering letter or (in 8merican 6nglish) a cover letter. 8 co%ering

letter sent with a CM(resume is also called a letter of application. 0our letter of application is a sales letter. The product it is selling is your CM.

$ontent
The reader of your letter may be busy and unwilling to waste time on unnecessary details. 0ou should therefore design your letter to be easy to read. !t should be short, concise and rele%ant. !t should not be too formal or complicated. 0our letter should" 73 confirm that you are applying for the position 83 say 1here you learned about the position 93 say 1hy you 1ant the position :3 say 1hy you 1ould be a benefit to the company ;3 re<uest an intervie1

Format
The layout of a modern business letter in 6nglish is %ery simple. 0our address is at the top, on the right or in the middle. The rest of the letter can be in 3bloc 3 format, with each line starting on the left. Try to eep the whole letter on one single page, with plenty of white space. )ere is the typical format for your co%ering letter" 7 =our address telephone - fa, - email
Put your address Q your telephone number, fa# and(or email address at the top in the centre O/ on the right. )o #'$ put your name here3

7 =our address telephone fa, email


4o not write the date as numbers only, for two reasons"

8 )ate

>. !t can be considered too official and therefore impolite ?. 8ll-number dates are written differently in British 6nglish
(F>(>?(OO) and 8merican 6nglish (>?(F>(OO). This can lead to confusion.

9 )estination name and address : Reference

This is the name of the person to whom you are writing, his(her ,ob title, the company name and address. This should be the same as on the en%elope. This is the reference number or code gi%en by the employer in their ad%ertisement or pre%ious letter. 0ou write the employer3s reference in the form" 30our ref" @>?F:3. !f you wish to include your own reference, you write" 3$y ref" 2EN;O3. 8 letter in 6nglish always begins with 34earR3, e%en if you do not now the person. There are se%eral possibilities" 4ear &ir 4ear $adam 4ear $r &mith 4ear $rs &mith 4ear $iss &mith 4ear $s &mith

; &alutation ()ear>)

? &ubject @ Body A Ending (=ours>)

The sub,ect of your letter, which for a ,ob application is normally the 5ob Title. The letter itself, in F to E paragraphs. 0ours sincerely 0ours faithfully 0ours truly

B =our signature 7C =our name

&ign in blac or blue in with a fountain pen. 0our first name and surname, for e#ample" $ary &mith 5ames Kennedy

77 (=our title) 78 Enclosures

!f you are using company headed paper, write your 5ob Title here. !f you are using personal paper, write nothing here. !ndicate that one or more documents are enclosed by writing 36nc" ?3 (for two documents, for e#ample).

&hould your letter of application be hand-writtenJ Probably not. !n some cultures employers re.uire candidates to send letters written by hand. But in the 6nglish-spea ing world, an employer would usually prefer to recei%e a letter of application that is wordprocessed (that is, produced on a computer and printed). 8 hand-written letter could be

considered unprofessional. 0ou must ,udge according to the country, culture and tradition.

Your CV"Resume
0our CM must get you an inter%iew.
urriculum 2itae (noun)" a brief account of one3s education, .ualifications and pre%ious occupations. H'atin, S course of lifeI

2 stands for the 'atin words urriculum 2itae, which mean" the course of one4s life. 8 CM is also called a rDsumD, resumD or resume (especially in 8merican 6nglish). 0our CM is a summary of your professional(academic life until now, and it usually concentrates on your personal details, education and 1ork e,perience. 0our CM3s ,ob is %ery simple" to get you a job intervie1. To do this, your CM must be"

clear 1ell-organised easy to read concise relevant to the job offered

$ontent
0our CM is the summary of your professional life. 0ou should include e%erything that is relevant to your employment or career and nothing that is irrele%ant. 6#actly what you include depends partly on your type of wor . There are usually 2 general headings of information to include"

personal details - name, address, email and telephone number (and sometimes nationality, age(date of birth and marital status) objective - a headline that summarises the ,ob opportunity you are see ing 1ork e,perience - your pre%ious employment in re%erse chronological order with most detail for your present or most recent ,ob education - details of secondary and uni%ersity education - including the establishments and .ualifications (but e#cluding any that are irrele%ant to your career)

personal interests - demonstrating that you are a balanced, responsible member of society with an interesting life outside wor

&ometimes, you may need to gi%e additional information for a particular ,ob or because you ha%e special .ualifications. )ere is a list of most of the possible headings.

Format Word#!rocessed or hand#$ritten%


0our CM should be word-processed, for se%eral reasons. Airstly, in the 6nglish-spea ing world a hand-written CM would be considered unprofessional. &econdly, many recruitment agencies and some employers li e to electronically scan CMs (they cannot do this with hand-written CMs). Thirdly, as we shall see later, it will be much easier for you to update and modify your CM to target it to a specific employer.

&o$ many !ages%


9nless you are applying to be &ecretary General of the 9nited 7ations, it is probably best to limit your CM to a ma#imum of ? pages. /emember, your CM is a tool to get you an intervie1" it is not designed to get you the ,ob. 0ou can usually put e%erything you need to get an inter%iew on > or ? pages. !f you put more than this, the employer has too much to read (and may throw your CM into the nearest bin). !n addition, if you put e%erything in the CM, you will ha%e nothing new to say at the inter%iew. Be ind to employersP 'ea%e them some .uestions to as you.

What si'e !a!er%


4o not be tempted to demonstrate your indi%iduality by using a non-standard paper si-e" you will simply irritate the employer. There are basically ? standard paper si-es, depending on the part of the world"

%: (8B@ , 87C millimetres) - used largely in 6urope, including the 9nited Kingdom E& Letter &iFe (A 758 , 77 inches) - used largely in the 9nited &tates

0ou must ,udge for yourself the most appropriate si-e for the company or companies to which you are applying.

What (uality !a!er%


/emember that your CM may be read and handled by se%eral people. !t will also be an important document during the inter%iew that you hope to ha%e. Choose a good .uality, fairly hea%y paper so that it will remain in good condition at all times. 7ormal photocopying paper is ;@g(m? in weight. This is a little too light and will soon loo creased and dirty. >@@g(m? or >>2g(m? would be better.

What sort of ty!eface%


Choose an easy-to-read typeface. Typefaces are designed for specific purposes. The standard typefaces Times 7ew /oman or 8rial are perfect for your CM. 7ot too small, not too largeP 8 si-e of >? point would be appropriate. 4O #'$ 9&6 8'' C8P!T8'& '!K6 T)!&P C8P!T8'& 8/6 M6/0 4!AA!C9'T TO /684 874 $80 B6 CO7&!46/64 !$PO'!T6 !7 T)6 67G'!&)-&P68K!7G BO/'4. Do not use a lot of italic like this. Italic can also be difficult and irritating to read. 4o not use a fancy typeface. !t is not appropriate for a professional document. The e#ample shown on this page is a simple demonstration of one basic type of CM. 'ater on, you can %iew more comple# CMs and resumes in the &amples section.

Thomas Crown
'bjective &eeking an !nternational &ales 6anagement position in !nformation $echnology 1here my e,tensive sales e,perience 1ill be used to the full >OOE-?@@> >OO>-O2 >O;O-O@ >O;E-;O Education >O;?-;E >ON;-;? !ntelel 'ondon, 9K E,perience

#ational &ales 6anager !ncreased sales from TE@ million to T>@@ million. 4oubled sales per representati%e from T2 to T>@ million. !mplemented !nternet sales grossing T?2 million Teletrona &ystems !ncreased regional sales from TO2 million to T?@@ million. 6#panded sales team from F@ to E@ representati%es. &uggested new ser%ices adding TF2 million to re%enue. 6&& )oldings !ncreased sales by F@@L annually. Closed deals with >@@ ma,or new accounts. Bon o%er ?2 competitor clients - adding T2@ million to re%enue. 6&& )oldings !ncreased sales by F@@L annually. 8warded company3s highest sales award each year. 4e%eloped 3Binning Presentations3 training course. 'ondon 9ni%ersity B8, Business 8dministration and !nformation &ystems Captain of uni%ersity /ugby Club. &t 8ndrew3s &chool : GC6 383 'e%els. President of school3s 4rama &ociety. Plymouth, 9K 'ondon, 9K Cambridge, 9K Cambridge, 9K 6dinburgh, 9K

#orthern &ales 6anager

&enior &ales Representative

&ales Representative

!n general, 2 or E headings will be enough for most resumes or CMs. )owe%er, sometimes you will want to use more headings - when applying for a particular ,ob for which additional information is appropriate. )ere is a CM layout with most of the possible headings that you can choose from. HwhiteI HgreyI 3&tandard3 headings that you find on most CMs. 36#tra3 headings that you can add if necessary.
!nclude a good photo if you want or if re.uested

0our name
Airst name &urname (for e#ample, 5ohn Brown)

%ddress $elephone (a, Email "ersonal !nformation

>N 8ny /oad, 870TOB7, 8nycountry Q:: >N> >?F :2EN Q:: >N> >?F :2EN mynameUanydomain.net

6arital statusG

single married di%orced separated widowed

#ationalityG )ate of birthG %geG "lace of birthG 'bjective &ummary of <ualifications "rofessional e,perience

Arench &tate your date of birth in the form > 5anuary >ON2 or 5anuary >st, >ON2 ?; Town, Country

&tate the position or opportunity that you are loo ing for. (This must be short. One or two lines only.) $a e a short list of the .ualifications you ha%e for this ,ob. (This should be short. 0our full .ualifications will appear later under 36ducation3). 'ist your ,obs in re%erse chronological order (last is first).

Education &pecialiFed skills "atents and publications %dditional professional activities "rofessional memberships E,tracurricular activities 2olunteer e,perience %1ards received %ccreditations &ecurity clearance

'ist your uni%ersity(school in re%erse chronological order (last is first). 8ny additional special abilities you ha%e (for e#ample, computer programming) that may be of interest to the employer. 'ist any relevant in%entions you ha%e made or boo s, articles and papers you ha%e published. 'ist any relevant wor acti%ities not listed elsewhere.

'ist any relevant professional associations or clubs of which you are a member.

'ist any relevant acti%ities that you ha%e outside wor .

'ist any relevant acti%ities (present or past) that you ha%e done unpaid.

'ist any relevant awards or pri-es. 'ist any official recognition of you by a relevant organi-ation. Aor certain ,obs with go%ernment or companies contracted by go%ernment, it may be necessary to state your le%el of authori-ation to wor on classified or confidential pro,ects. !f relevant, list your grades or le%els as a ci%il ser%ant (that is, state employee). 'ist anything you do for your local community (for e#ample church or school) if it is important or relevant for this ,ob. !f necessary, list the languages you can spea . 0ou can use the following descriptions" mother tongue fluent e#cellent good some nowledge

ivil service grades ommunity activities Languages

$ravel

4etails of tra%el and e#posure to cultural e#periences that may support your application.

!nterests and activities .obbies

'ist things that you li e or li e doing (for e#ample go%ernor of local school, going to opera, drama or tennis). 'ist your fa%ourite leisure-time acti%ities (for e#ample, stamp-collecting). 0ou should include this only if you think it 1ill be interesting for the employer. 0ou may prefer to include this under 3!nterests and acti%ities3. 8dd any additional information that is necessary and relevant for a particular ,ob. !f re.uired, gi%e the names and addresses of (two) people who can gi%e you a reference. 8lternati%ely, you can state 38%ailable on re.uest.3

%dditional information References

)o*s and )on*ts


Do this(((
4o be positi%e. 4o loo forward to the future. 4o emphasi-e the benefit you will bring to an employer. 4o use acti%e %erbs. 4o eep to the point. Be rele%ant. 4o create an organised layout. 4o be neat. 4o use good .uality paper. 4o use a word-processor (computer). 4o use wide margins. 4o use plenty of white space. 4o use a good .uality photo (if you use a photo). 4o chec your wor for spelling errors. 4o chec your wor for grammatical errors. 4o as a friend to loo at your CM and letter. 4o sign your letter with a fountain pen.

Don)t do this(((
4on3t loo bac ward to the past. 4on3t write CM or /esume at the top. 4on3t write $r, $rs or $iss in front of your name. 4on3t gi%e personal details (place of birth, age etc) unless necessary. 4on3t gi%e full addresses of past employers. 4on3t gi%e minor or unimportant school .ualifications. 4on3t gi%e lots of irrele%ant or unimportant hobbies.

4on3t write names in capital letters. 4on3t use lots of different typefaces (fonts) and si-es. 4on3t use lots of capital letters, italics or fancy typefaces. 4on3t use coloured paper. 4on3t ma e your co%ering letter more than > page. 4on3t ma e your CM(resume more than ? pages.

Vocabulary
8cti%e %erbs act.

%he 'alue of #implicity and $larity


!f you want people to read your CM, your language must be simple and clear"

9se short 1ords and short sentences. 4o not use technical vocabulary, unless you are sure that the reader will understand it. Tal about concrete facts (3! increased sales by 2@L3), not abstract ideas (3! was responsible for a considerable impro%ement in our mar et position3). 9se %erbs in the active %oice (3! organised this e#hibition3), not passive %oice (3This e#hibition was organised by me3). Generally, the acti%e %oice is more powerful, and easier to understand.

%he *ower of Action 'er+s


Certain words are used fre.uently by recruiters in their ,ob descriptions. 0ou can study recruiters3 ad%ertisements and ,ob descriptions and try to use these 1ords in your CM and co%ering letter. The most po1erful 1ords are verbs. 8nd the most po1erful verbs are action %erbs. (8ction %erbs describe dynamic acti%ity, not state). 2erbs of action 2erbs of state to sell, to manage to be, to e#ist

&o you should use plenty of action verbs matched to your skills, and use them in the active form, not the passive form3 Bhich of these two sentences do you thin is the more powerfulJ

%ctive form "assive form

! increased sales by >@@L. &ales 1ere increased by >@@L.

*ower Words to ,se


)ere is a list of typical action verbs categorised by skill" ommunication skills address arbitrate correspond draft edit lecture mediate moti%ate negotiate persuade present publicise reconcile spea write 6anagement skills assign attain chair coordinate delegate direct e#ecute organise o%ersee plan recommend re%iew strengthen super%ise train Research skills collect criti.ue define detect diagnose e%aluate e#amine e#plore e#tract identify inspect interpret in%estigate summarise sur%ey $echnical skills assemble build calculate de%ise engineer fabricate maintain operate o%erhaul program remodel repair sol%e upgrade

reative

(inancial

&ales

$eaching

skills conceptualise create design fashion form illustrate institute integrate in%ent originate perform re%italise shape

skills administer allocate analyse appraise audit balance budget calculate control compute de%elop forecast pro,ect

skills sell con%ert close deal persuade highlight satisfy win o%er sign

skills ad%ise clarify coach elicit enable encourage e#plain facilitate guide inform instruct persuade stimulate train

British and American English


There are sometimes differences between British and 8merican 6nglish and con%entions. )ere is a guide to some of the most important differences for your CM(resume and co%ering letter. But remember, this is a guide only - there are no strict rules. Aor e#ample, some British people li e to use 38merican3 words, and some 8merican people li e to use 3British3 words. British CM(curriculum %itae resume %merican resumV

co%er letter co%ering letter co%ering letter &tandard paper si-e" 8: (?>@ # ?ON millimetres) $rs $s $iss 4ear &irs 0ours faithfully Gentlemen 0ours truly &incerely 0ours sincerely &incerely yours 0ours truly Chief 6#ecuti%e Officer (C6O) $anaging 4irector ($4) General $anager date format" 44($$(00 e#ample" F@(>?(OO F@ 4ecember >OOO labour date format" $$(44(00 e#ample" >?(F@(OO 4ecember F>st, >OOO labor &tandard paper si-e" 'etter (; >(? # >> inches)

+nternet
Aunction not fashion.

$'s-.esumes for the /0st $entury


!n the past it was usual to produce your CM(resume and co%ering letter on paper and submit them by post (snailmail) or fa#. Today, it is increasingly usual for companies to as you to send your CM by email or for candidates to place their CM on a 1ebpage. These are two e#cellent ways of distributing your CM, but there are se%eral important points that you should not o%erloo .

Email

Bhen you send your CM by email, you can send it either as inline te#t (that is, written in the body of the email) or as a file attached to the email (or as a combination of these). !n all cases, please ma e sure that the subject line is clear, and rele%ant. 0our prospecti%e employer may recei%e hundreds of CMs by email and many will ha%e sub,ect headings li e"

CM 5ob 8pplication 5ohn Brown 5B 0our Macancy

0ou can imagine how frustrating it is to sort emails with meaningless sub,ect lines li e these (or, worse still, no sub,ect line at all, as sometimes happens). !f your name is "5ohn Brown", a good sub,ect line would be"

/esume" 5ohn Brown CM W Co%ering 'etter" 5ohn Brown 5ob 8pplication" 5ohn Brown 8pplication for Post of &ales $anager" 5ohn Brown

!nline te,t !t is best to use "plain te#t". 0es, you can write your email in ")T$'" or "/ich Te#t", but will your prospecti%e employer be able to read itJ Bill it arri%e correctly formattedJ Bill colours, typefaces, tabs and spacing, and any special characters li e fancy accents be correctly presentedJ Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. 9nless you are certain that what you write will be seen as you intended, you cannot ta e the chance with such an important document. Plain te#t, on the other hand, can be read by %irtually all email programs world-wide and you can be confident that what you send is what arri%es at the other end. )owe%er, e%en with plain te#t it is ad%isable to" >. Heep the line-length short3 9se hard carriage returns (the "6nter" ey) e%ery E2 characters ma#imum. ?. %void fancy spacing and tabulation3 8 CM(resume that is beautifully formatted in $& Bord or some other wordprocessing program cannot be reproduced with the same layout in plain te#t. 0ou should not e%en attempt it. !nstead, you will need a different, simpler approach, similar to the one below. Aormatted document"
20052000-2005 ,ales -anager ,ales Re!resentative United Technologies Universal Ltd Wonder Techniques Inc. London, UK New or!, U"#

Plain te#t email"


2005 to date Sales Manager United Technologies Ltd (London, UK) 2000-2005 Sales Representative Wonder Techni !es "nc# ($e% &or', US()

%ttachments 0ou should be %ery careful about sending your CM as an attachment. $any people are %ery cautious about opening attachments, largely because they can contain %iruses, and your email with an unin%ited CM attachment may well be deleted before it e%er sees the light of day. !f you are sure that your prospecti%e employer will accept attachments, then this can be a good way to submit your CM and co%ering letter. Be careful too that your documents are properly laid out with a file format that can be read by your prospecti%e employer. 8n $& Bord document (.doc) is almost certain to be readable by anyone, on PC or $ac. Better still, con%ert it to the uni%ersal /ich Te#t Aormat (.rtf). !f you send your CM produced on some obscure word processing program, and do not con%ert it to /TA, then do not be surprised if you ne%er hear from your prospecti%e employer again. 8nother word of caution" li e the sub,ect line for your email, be sure to gi%e your attached files meaningful names. 4o not simply attach a file called "CM.doc" or "co%eringletter.doc". Once it has been sa%ed to your prospecti%e employer3s hard dis , the name will be meaningless, unless they ha%e ta en the trouble to change it. But you should not gi%e them this trouble. !nstead, call your attachments something li e"

/esumeX5ohn-Brown.doc CM-and-Co%ering-'etterX5ohn-Brown.doc ,ob-applicationX,ohn-brown.rtf 5ohnBrownX8pplication-for-Post-of-&ales $anager.rtf

We+page
!t can be a %ery good idea to place your CM on the Beb. This ma es access to your CM easy and rapid world-wide. !f you wish to retain confidentiality, you can always password protect it. 9nfortunately, many people suddenly become artistic as soon as they add pages to the Beb. They belie%e that they can somehow enhance their CM by adding colour, or unusual typefaces, or fancy bac grounds. They pay for their artistry in illegibility. !f there is one, immutable law of the 9ni%erse, it is that contrast between te#t and bac ground increases legibility (readability). !n general, blac te#t on a plain white bac ground is the easiest te#t to read. (That is why boo s, newspapers and maga-ines the world o%er are printed in blac te#t on white paper, e#cept for some %ery special effect.) /emember, too,

that a prospecti%e employer may wish to print out your CM, and will almost certainly prefer to ha%e a result that loo s more li e a con%entional CM. Bhich of the following is easiest to read, and printJ

./ Essential 0i!s
)ere are some essential tips that summari-e much of what we ha%e already discussed, and add some new ideas. /ead them carefully and act on them. They will guarantee that ,ob inter%iew.

tip 01 ,se design that attracts attention


6mployers don3t ha%e time to read through each of your ,ob descriptions to now if you ha%e the s ills they need. The design of your CV must do it for them. 0our CM should be 1ell-organiFed and emphasi-e the most important points about your e#perience, s ills and education. This information is the first impression that an employer has of you.

tip /1 Match your headings to the 2o+


9se a ,ob title and s ill headings that match the job you 1ant. 8n employer who sees unrelated ,ob titles or s ills will immediately thin that you are not right for the ,ob in .uestion.

tip 31 Write convincing content


Good design will get an employer3s attention. But after that, you must concentrate on the content of your CM, the actual descriptions of your s ills and abilities, to ensure an inter%iew and good ,ob offer.

tip 41 ,se )power words)


0ou need to control the image that an employer has of you. To do this, use power words that match the position you want. !f, for e#ample, you are applying for a financial post, you should use as many financial s ills power words as possible

tip 51 ,se 60/345789:


"eople react to numbers0 7umbers are ali%e and powerful. They create vivid images in our minds. General statements are easy to ignore. Be specific and use numbers when describing your duties and achie%ements. 4on3t tal about 3managing a major turnover3. Tal about 3managing a I8@,CCC,CCC turnover3.

tip 71 *ut important information first

'ist important information at the beginning of your ,ob description. Put statements in your CM in order of importance, impressiveness and relevance to the ,ob you want. 8 powerful statement with numbers and power words influences e%ery statement that follows.

tip 81 Find &ey words from the 2o+ description


'et an employer do your wor for youP 6mployers spend much time and money writing ,ob ad%ertisements and descriptions that contain key 1ords for the position offered. /ead these descriptions carefully to find the ey words. Then use the same key 1ords in your CM and co%er letter.

tip 91 #ell +enefits; not s&ills


)oliday companies do not sell holidays. They sell rela#ation, ad%enture, sun, sea and sand (the benefits of a holiday)P 0ou should not sell your s ills (many other people ha%e the same s ills). 0ou should sell the benefits of your skills. Bhen you write your s ills and past duties, be careful to e,plain their benefits to the employer.

tip :1 $reate the right image for the salary


9se language that creates the right image for the level of job and salary you 1ant. Position yourself at the appropriate level. The language you use will immediately influence an employer3s perception of you.

tip 061 %arget the 2o+


0ou will ha%e more success if you ad,ust your CM and co%er letter for the specific skills an employer is seeking. This means that you would write one CM for one particular ,ob and a different, modified, CM for another ,ob. 0ou 3re-package3 yourself. !n that way, an employer will see immediately that you correspond to the ,ob description. !t is not dishonest to 3re-pac age3 yourself. 0ou are simply presenting yourself and your s ills in the best light for a particular employer. This will help you to get more inter%iews. !t will also allow you to apply for a wider range of ,obs.

Bonus tip1 #olve your employer)s <hidden= needs


6mployers want people who can sol%e problems, not create themP 0our CM and co%er letter should show how you can solve the employer4s problems and needs. 8nd in addition to the s ills or needs shown in a ,ob ad%ertisement, an employer may ha%e other needs. 0ou should identify these additional needs and show how you can satisfy them too. But concentrate first on the needs listed in the ,ob description. 0our additional solutions should come later, and low- ey, after you already ha%e the employer3s attention.

+m!ort#E1!ort
> bill of lading ? c3/f3 F c3i3f3 : cargo 2 certificate of origin E container n. list of goods and shipping instructions1 waybill abbr. cost W freight" includes shipping to named port but not insurance abbr. cost, insurance W freight" includes insurance and shipping to named port n. goods or products that are being transported or shipped n. a document that shows where goods come from

n. huge bo# to hold goods for transport - container port n. to containerise v. N customs n. 7 go%ernment ta# or duty on imported goods 8 officials who collect this ta# ; declare v. to ma e a statement of ta#able goods - customs declaration form n. O f3a3s3 abbr. free alongside ship Hincludes deli%ery to .uayside but not loadingI >@ f3o3b3 abbr. free on board" includes loading onto ship >> freight n. goods being transported1 cargo >? irrevocable adj. that cannot be undone1 unalterable - irrevocable letter of credit n. >F letter of credit n. a letter from a ban authorising a person to draw money from another ban >: merchandise n. things bought and sold1 commodities1 wares - also v. >2 packing list n. a document that is sent with goods to show that they ha%e been chec ed >E pro forma invoice n. an in%oice or re.uest for payment sent in ad%ance of goods supplied >N <uay n. a solid, artificial landing place for (un)loading ships1 wharf <uayside n. >; ship v. to send or transport by land, sea or air - also n. shipment n. >O shipping agent n. a person acting for or representing a ship or ships at a port ?@ 1aybill n. list of goods and shipping instructions1 bill of lading - air 1aybill n.