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Business Letter Writing Guide

There are various types of business letters, but for purposes of the interview process the following business letters will be covered:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Networking letter
  3. Interview thank you letter
  4. Acceptance letter
1. Cover Letter

A cover letter expresses your interest in a specific position.  This letter should catch the reader’s attention and help get you an interview.  A well-written cover letter will convey your written communication skills effectively.  A cover letter also highlights how you will fit into the company and information beyond what your resume supplies.  Each cover letter should be specific to the job for which you are applying.

Cover Letter Contents:

A cover letter consists of your information, the recipient's information, and three to five explanatory paragraphs:

  • Your name, address, and current date
  • Contact name, title, and address of the company to which you are applying.  Address this to a specific person whenever it is possible.
  • Formal salutation (greeting)
  • First Section (One opening paragraph) – Why You Are Writing
    • Usually there are 3 reasons why you may be writing:
      • Someone referred you (you may have even spoken directly to the person);
      • Newspaper or other advertisement;
      • Cold calling and/or general interest in working for the firm
  • Second Section (One to three middle paragraphs) – Why You Should Be Called In For An Interview
    • This is where you shine by explaining your qualifications for the job and why they should consider you.
  • Third Section (One closing paragraph) – Next Steps
    • This section addresses what you expect to happen next.  Unless instructed otherwise, you should typically take the responsibility upon yourself to call the employer.  You may write - “I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my interest and abilities with you further.  I will call you within the next two weeks to follow-up” instead of using – “I look forward to hearing from you”.
  • Closing and Signature
  • Enclosure Listing

Other Cover Letter Writing Tips:

  • Be clear and concise and keep your paragraphs short.
  • Keep your cover letter to one page in length.
  • Match the type style and paper with your resume.
  • Proofread for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Don’t simply restate your resume; instead explain how your experiences meet the specific needs of this position and what you can do for them.
  • Sample cover letter. 

2. Networking Letter

A networking letter is used to develop a contact in an organization or field that interests you. It may be used to request an informational interview or help with preparing your job search materials.

3. Thank You Letter

A thank you letter is used to follow up an interview.  It conveys appreciation for the time the interviewer spent with you and reiterates your interest in the position.

4. Acceptance Letter

An acceptance letter is an ethical contract between you and an employer after you have been offered a job.  It restates the terms of employment, specifies a position title, starting date, etc., and expresses your appreciation and acceptance of a job offer.