There is lots of advice and tips for finding a job and approaching your potential future employees when job hunting.
Emails vs. letters
Employers and recruiters, particularly those working in large organisations, will receive countless CV applications for jobs, whether they’ve advertised a position or not. The overwhelming majority of these CVs will be sent via cyberspace in an email as opposed to in an envelope and through the door.
If an employer has not posted an advertisement inviting people to apply for a position, then the unfortunate likelihood is that he or she will delete these emails from an already full inbox without even looking. However, if that person was to see a letter, with the name and address handwritten on the envelope sitting on their desk then they would be far more likely to open and read it.
Being creative with an application to make it stand out does not have to mean printing off your CV on neon pink paper. Something as simple as sending a traditional CV and a well thought out covering letter through the post, rather than on the computer, should get your application seen at the very least.
Do’s and don’ts
Like the CV and the covering letter, writing letters to employers regarding job opportunities carries the potential to work either largely in someone’s favour or disastrously against it. A letter tells a lot about the person who wrote it and mistakes will be judged negatively against an applicant’s character.
There is no single way to write a letter; the style, tone and content to be used will depend on the job and the organisation the letter is for. There is, however, a list of fairly simple yet fundamental do’s and don’ts which apply to pretty much every scenario:
- Don’t start a letter off with “dear sir/madam,” especially when writing to small organisations. This shows that you do not know who you are addressing and therefore might not know an awful lot about the company.
- Research the employer. The Internet is overflowing with information about companies, so finding at least one employee’s name and position within the company shouldn’t, in theory, be too hard using company websites and social networking sites, such as LinkedIn. If finding a person to write to proves absolutely impossible, as it often can do, begin the letter with “To whom this may concern”.
- Don’t forget to leave your contact details. This sounds so obvious, but people have been known to do it.
- Do what you would do normally when composing a letter and write your address, the date and other contact details, such as email address and mobile number at the top right hand side of the page.
- Don’t send a letter with mistakes in spelling and grammar. Just like the CV, any silly errors in an application reflect really badly on the applicant, as the care and effort put into writing a CV or a letter is perhaps a good indication of how much effort one puts into working.
- Check it through thoroughly and then check again. Get someone else to look through it if needs be. Even the smallest mistakes are inexcusable.
- Don’t be negative and don’t make it too personal, whether talking about a previous or current employer or any unfortunate experience you have had, personal or professional. If the letter is negative, then you will be perceived as a gloomy person.
- Verge on the positive side of neutral. Obviously, try not to come across as sickly sweet or overly familiar, but remain professional and confident, as you would want your character to be judged.
- Don’t spend too much time writing about yourself. Yes you need to promote yourself to a certain extent, but try not to focus too heavily on your dreams and objectives; whether you fulfil your goals or not is of no concern to an employer, not at this stage anyway.
- Think of the person reading the letter and the organisation they work for. They want to know how bringing you into the company will benefit them, not how it will benefit you.