Job Letters

English Composition


Employers often read 50 to 100 to hundreds of application letters per position. These days, the piles are especially high. Therefore they initially will very likely skim your application, setting aside those few candidates for the position who look immediately good. It’s easy to be considered dead meat right from the start unless you take care with your application materials.

The job letter should be the same color paper as your rÈsumÈ, and precedes it.


24 May 1994

Name: If job announcement doesn’t list exactly, find out by callingcompany; reference desk at the library for corporation numbers. Invest time on this to show you have initiative (“proactive”) which will apply to the job too. Get the person’s name spelled correctly; nothing pisses off more than this.

Company and Address: Don’t use abbreviations (St., Bldg., Blvd., NY); don’t take shortcuts–they make you look lazy or hasty.Re: Job title and position number (not just “secretary position”; there may be 500 at a time in large corporations.

Dear Dr. Mr. Ms.: If you don’t know gender, title and last name, use “To Whom It May Concern” only as a last ditch option.

Include in your letter:

1) Purpose for writing. Identify job and source of announcement: “I read with interest your advertisement for ____ in the May 13th Lewiston Tribune. Please consider this letter of application. . . .”

2) Describe yourself professionally: qualifications, experience, qualities relevant to job. Don’t overpower. (And no more than one page.)

3) Why you want to work for this company. Indicate you’ve researched (annual report, grad degree programs, sales statistics), and are not just blindly applying to generic jobs (“My husband’s in jail and I have to take care of my sister’s kids while she’s in rehab. I had to sell my car to raise bail for Leo my youngest.” No! High risk: sickness, etc.).

4)Willingness to do what it takes to complete the application process successfully. Willingness to travel if appropriate and/or interview by phone. Thank you for consideration.

Cordially (formal but a touch archaic), Sincerely, Yours truly,

Your name typed whole as signed (you are the least to assume familiarity)
Phone day and evening
No photos!