How to write a letter that will get you an interview. Before writing a letter of application or responding to an ad, find out all you can about the company and the job. In the business department of a public library, consult publications such as Dun & Bradstreets Middle MarketDirectory, Standard & Poors Register, and Dun’s Employment OpportunitiesDirectory: A Guide. Or obtain the name of a trade association to which the company may belong; contact the association and ask for particulars about the company. Ask people you may know in the company to share their knowledge.
Reflect on your past and present job and educational experiences. Try to credibly align your talents, skills, and attributes with those that your research shows maybe needed or those outlined in the job description.
After you have marshaled the facts, tell them to a friend or to a mirror until you can present your case convincingly. Then write your letter, covering the following points.
- Get the recipient’s attention. Describe one or two characteristics that you think may distinguish you from other applicants.
- Don’t be obviously competitive unless it’s a job in sales.
- Mention the title and duties of your last or current job.
- Show how your skills and knowledge fit the company’s specific needs.
- Ask to discuss the job in person.
Overcome your modesty by writing the first draft in the third person-as though you were recommending a friend. In your final draft, keep the “I” statements to a minimum. Don’t brag or claim traits or skills that you don’t possess. Be specific; keep the letter short. Use the appropriate form and stationery to a name, not a department or a title, unless so specified in the ad. Phone the company and ask for the personnel director’s name if it wasn’t in your research materials. Check your letter for spelling and typographical errors. If you’re not a good typist, have the letter professionally typed.