Ironically, strangely, or oddly enough, I’ve been trying to create a quirky, musical medley by combining four loosely related songs about letters: “I’m Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “The Letter,” and “Return To Sender.”
So, for the debut of my new, writing and communications blog, some thoughts on letters just seem to fit the bill.
With email and regular mail perfectly suited for introducing yourself to a potential employer, job candidates will do well to get their letter game in gear.
First off, it’s true that you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one. Proof read, spell check, proof read, spell check, and proof read some more. Nothing ruins a job applicant’s letter faster than a glaring mistake. (Even if you’re handwriting your way through a written application form, be neat, take your time, and be accurate.)
Whatever you do, double and triple check that you’ve spelled the recipient’s name correctly. (I can’t tell you how many Dear-Mr.-Morris letters I’ve received.)
Second, state your case quickly and with enthusiasm, but without going overboard. If you know there’s a specific job opening, mention it by name. If you are interested in any job a company might have, it still may be best to narrow the focus by calling attention to your skill sets.
“I believe that my friendly, outgoing personality would make me an asset to your sales team or human resource department.”
“My experience with computers will help me learn your inventory management and bookkeeping software quickly.”
Like a good sales person, you are selling you! Your brand. Your style. Don’t be pushy or you’ll risk being unbelievable. But don’t undersell yourself, either.
Third, be yourself. Write the way you speak. A conversational tone usually works best. Be smart. Be engaging, direct, and to the point. Any employer worth working for will see right through those ponderous, Thesaurus-driven statements that may sound strong and dynamic, but are really hollow and lacking substance.
Avoid sentences like, “My primary, secondary, and tertiary professional quests involve using my interpersonal and economic acumen to develop innovative solutions that echo the dynamic vernacular of my commitment to corporate excellence.” What?
Good luck in singing your own praises. And remember, it’s the hollow barrel that makes the most noise!
What kind of luck have you had with employment query letters?