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Job Search Correspondence

Effective correspondence is a powerful marketing tool that supports your job search activities.
It will ensure you make that all-important positive first impression whether responding to
adverts, contacting recruiters or netwok contacts or sending thank yous.
Writing effective job search correspondence, letters, emails, networking communications or
thank you letters, has a big impact on your image during a job search. Every time you
communicate with a potential employer, recruiter, or networking contact, you have a significant
opportunity to make a positive influence how they will perceive you. Its all part of your
personal brand!
Effective job search correspondence (coupled with effective telephone interactions) will help
you stimulate interest, arrange and confirm meetings, and will ensure that you are
remembered. Your follow up communication keeps you in "sight" of your connections and
allows you to stay in control your next step activity rather than wait for a response.
Recruiting managers will look for and be impressed by well-crafted, concise writing that is
targeted to their needs whether in a formal letter or email.
Your job search correspondence needs to:

Inspire, engage and inform the reader


Be clear and well structured
Be grammatically correct
Sell what you offer in relation to the needs of the reader

All forms of correspondence should follow a basic 3 part structure:

Connection: This is the point of connection between you and the reader. It is the
"hook" that quickly engages them
Proposal: This is where you give the details of what is relevant to the reader about
you. It is generally 1-2 paragraphs and usually incorporates bullets to highlight key
points.
Close: This is where you close with an action - request a meeting, propose a follow up
plan, or close a relationship on a positive note.

Letters and Emails in Response to Adverts

To structure a compelling covering letter or email that sets you apart,


highlights your match with the job, and introduces / complements your
CV.

A covering letter (or email) should always accompany your CV in


response to a job advert. This is an opportunity to introduce yourself (and
your CV) highlighting your relevant Unique Selling Points (USP). A
covering letter should follow the 3 part structure:

Connection: It is usual to introduce your letter with where you


saw the advert, date and any reference number but you might also hook the recipient
with an opening that demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm
Proposal: Highlight your functional experience relevant to the target (recruiting
person, company, industry, and /or the position). Describe your skills, quantify your
achievements, and define the contribution you will provide.
Next Steps: End on a positive and proactive note about your interest in meeting them
to discuss your offering in more detail.

You can also use a T-Letter match format:


This easy to read structure matches the job requirements for the position (listed down the left
hand side) with what you offer (listed on the right side) of the page. Use this format when you
match 60% or more of the job requirements. Most recruiters appreciate this quick approach to
screening applicants. It is easily scanned and highlights, at a glance, how you meet the
specified requirements.
Whatever structure you choose, and as well as spending time on targeting it to the needs of
the recipient, you must always pay attention to grammar and spelling. You will likely draft and
then edit your letter its always a good idea to run your letter by a trusted colleague and
your Career Consultant for feedback too.
Letters and Emails to Recruiters
In order to communicate successfully with a recruiter, including providing the right information
that maximises their assistance to you, you need to put yourself in their shoes. It is important
to acknowledge that a recruitment consultancy is not an employment service to individuals.
They are retained by and earn their commission from recruiting organisations.
When recruiters read a covering letter or email to accompany a CV it is their goal to determine
if the candidate is a fit within a organisations requirements and whether the candidate is
marketable. Your letter should contain contact information, the reason you are in the job
market, positions and industries of interest to you. You may also include broad information on
salary expectations, or you may choose to derer this until you meet.
The aim of your letter is to secure a face-to-face meeting with the recruitment consultant to
build your profile (this wont always be easy). If the consultant has not met you it is likely that
your CV will not be in the forefront of his/her mind.
Recruiters appreciate brief letters of introduction so be concise, specific, and mention only
those points important to the targeted positions you are seeking.
When recruiters have an interest in your experience, they will typically arrange a phone call so
they can listen to you and evaluate your verbal presentation. This communication provides an
opportunity to share your 30-second commercial.

Follow-up is after a meeting with a recruiter the same as after an


interview. Send a thank you note, typically by email, confirming the
content of your discussions.
Networking Correspondence
Here are some ideas to help you compose correspondence for making an
initial contact, setting up networking meetings and generally staying in
touch with your network throughout your job search.
Most networking initial contacts will be by approach letter or email, (though
some close contacts may be more appropriately contacted by phone) with the aim of setting up
a personal meeting or arranging a phone call. This communication introduces you to a network
contact and therefore you need to think this through to ensure you make that all-important
positive first impression. Before you start writing, consider your relationship with the reader
(are they already a relatively close contact or are they a referred contact?). That way you can
write a letter that is appropriate in tone and style, i.e., how that person would expect you to
communicate with them. You also need to make this connection perfectly clear in the first
paragraph.
Remember these steps as you structure your letter:

Connection: Clarify who are you and describe your connection with the reader: Begin
with a personal, positive and distinctive introduction. Be clear about your relationship
with the reader.
Proposal: The first paragraph should focus on what are you requesting from your
reader and your anticipated outcome reassure the reader that your purpose is
exploratory and that you are asking for a meeting. Suggest approximately 30 minutes
of their time when asking for a meeting. The second paragraph should provide your
background or experience that justifies your request. In this paragraph, you further
diffuse the reader's concerns that you are asking directly for a job and you build the
interest of the recipient. Emphasise that you seek information and advice.
Next Steps: At the end of the letter, express appreciation for their time and close with
your follow up plan.

In addition to initial approaches to a network contact here are some other forms of networking
correspondence:
Following up on a Networking Meeting
Always thank your network contact following a meeting, provide any additional information if
appropriate and share any outcomes. This could be handled by an email, phone call, or if
appropriate, a text message. You should also thank your intial contact for the referral and
inform them of any significant outcome
Status Updates
Provide your network contacts with periodic updates on the progress of your job search.
Notes, emails and letters enable you to stay connected and are especially helpful if you are
making changes of any sort.
Landing a New Job Letters
Notify your key network contacts when you have accepted an offer. Informing people in your
network of your good news is just as important as any correspondence you have throughout

your job search. It is a final thank you in your job search but also keeps
the door open in your new role for ongoing networking.
LinkedIn
When sending invitations to potential connections, please keep the
correspondence brief and to-the-point. Link with people in your network
using an email format. In order to promote invitations, be succinct and
brief; LinkedIn has limited the invitation correspondence to 200
characters. Writing messages to your first-level contacts is just like
writing an email to a contact of yours. For those connections that are based
on a professional relationship, keep the correspondence more formal. For first-level
connections that you may know personally, a correspondence that is less formal is appropriate.
LinkedIn messages to your first-level connections do not have a character limit; however,
respect your contacts time and save the elaborate conversations for the one-to-one meetings.
Direct Approach Letters
A Direct Approach might be defined as contacting people with whom you have no existing
connection. Sometimes this is called cold calling but if you turn your letter into a warm call and
you carefully script this kind of letter to offer your services based on your research and your
ability to anticipate the needs of the company, you will undoubtedly have more success. In this
case you are basically creating a proposal for a position.
As with all letters you can use the 3 part structure to your advantage:

Connection: Always address your letter to a named person and start with a hook to
demonstrate your interest and your research about the organisation. Ensure you
engage the recipient right from the start.
Proposol: Outline how you could be an asset to the reader, given your experience and
skills in relation to their likely needs.
Next Steps: Close with a positive action, proposing a meeting.

Interview Correspondence
You will have opportunities to write a variety of correspondence throughout the interview
process. They allow you to demonstrate your ability to craft a succinct message beginning
with the process of setting up or confirming the interview. Here are some examples:
Interview Confirmation
Write a short note or send an email confirming your attendance at an interview. This sets a
positive tone right from the outset:
I would like to confirm my attendance at interview on (date) and very much look forward to
meeting you and the team
Interview Thank You
A thank you letter (or email) following an interview should be viewed as a sales opportunity,
giving you another chance to restate how you match the explicit needs of the company that
were discussed in the interview process. You can also re-iterate why you want the job, how
your qualifications are relevant to the work and how you will contribute.

It is also a perfect opportunity to highlight anything of importance that the


interviewer might have neglected to ask you, that you neglected to
answer thoroughly, or to include additional information you might want to
share. Tailor your letter to information discussed in the interview that
demonstrates you were listening. Be specific about why you are thanking
the person.
Interview - Withdrawal
You may be being interviewed for two or more positions and receive an
offer. Or, you may decide one position is a better fit than another. In these
circumstances, send a withdrawal letter to the employers with the job opportunities you no
longer wish to pursue. Remember, you may cross paths in the future so send a letter of
appreciation for their time and consideration. You may say you accepted a position that is a
better fit rather than you accepted a better job.
Interview - Acceptance
Most organisations provide an offer letter automatically that requires your signature.
However, you might use an acceptance letter or email that summarises your understanding of
the verbal agreements to the negotiated terms.
Interview - Turn Down
If you are notified that you were not offered a position thank the interviewer(s) for their
consideration and express your appreciation of the time they spent with you. Remember to be
positive and professional; you don't know if/when your paths will cross again. You can offer to
check back with them periodically. You can also wish them success with their selected
candidate.
Tips for Job search Correspondence
Here are some general writing and style tips to help you create effective letters and emails that
are well-crafted and concise.
General Tips

Choose the appropriate method of correspondence, formal letters, emails, text


messages or messages / invitations on online networking sites.
Be clear about why you are writing. Keep your communication brief, no more than one,
uncrowded page.
Use the 3 part structure Connection / Proposal / Next Steps
Proof read and ask someone else look it over. Do not rely on the spellchecker.
Inappropriate usage of language and outright mistakes in spelling and grammar can be
differentiators when a recuiting manager has many candidates and is looking for a
reason to eliminate you.
Use the identifying reference code specified by the organisation or recuiter when
responding to a advertised position.
Place your name and your professional identity such as Sharon Smith Office
Manager at the top of your correspondence when you are contacting a targeted
employer or recruiter.
Always write to a specific person. Call the organisation and ask for a person's name,
use Research databases or your network contacts if you do not have a name.
Take control of following-up at the end of your correspondence, adding a plan for next
steps or some action.
Use your written correspondence as a base to guide you during a follow-up telephone
call.
5

Always use a covering letter or email whenever you provide your


CV.
Write follow up notes, letters or emails within 48 to 72 hours after
a meeting or interview.

Writing Style Tips:

Keep sentences to a conversational length (12-15 words) and


paragraphs to six lines or less.
Use an active voice with your notes, emails or letters. The term
voice in writing refers to the relationship between the subject and
the action taking place in a sentence. In the active voice, the subject performs the
action. In the passive voice, the subject of a sentence is acted upon. The active voice
shows you are taking charge. For example: Your consideration will be appreciated.
(passive) I appreciate your consideration. (active)
Use relationship language and avoid clichs.
Avoid the use of all uppercase letters that are perceived as shouting when read.
Minimise the use of the pronoun "I" to keep the message oriented to the reader.
Write messages that are easy to grasp at a glance. Use the following within reasonable
limits; headlining, bolding, underlining, tables and bulleting get your message across
quickly and efficiently. Use white space, paragraph breaks, and bullets to focus
attention appropriately.
Write in a professional, positive and confident tone at all times. This may be an obvious
recommendation for any writing directed to potential employers, but also be aware of
attitudes you convey when networking with friends, former colleagues, etc.
Sign your name in blue or black ink when sending hard copy letters. If you addressed
the recipient by his/her first name, sign only your first name to extend the sense of
familiarity.
Type your full name below your signature.
Include the word Enclosure below your signature when you include other documents,
such as your CV.

Electronic Correpondence Tips:

Treat emails as formally as a letter sent through the post.


Create a powerful Subject Line with specific information. For example:
1. NAME + POSITION ADVERTISED + DATE when responding to an advertised job
2. NAME + FUNCTIONAL EXPERTISE when sending your CV to a targeted employer
or recruiter.
3. REFERRED BY __________ when you have a referral.

Send a Blind copy (bcc:) of emails to yourself so you have a convenient record of the
email content and the date sent. Managing your sent folder is also an option.

If you decide that text message is an appropriate way to correspond, identify yourself
first before composing the content of a text message. The person you are texting may
not have your number in their address book and not know who is texting them.

If you correspond via LinkedIn, consider adding your LinkedIn public profile URL to your
email signature and/or covering letters.

Compose your LinkedIn correspondence in a word document first and use the spell
check and grammar tool as there is no spell check in LinkedIn.