Career & Education

7 letters to use in your job search

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, July 30, 2017

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Dear Readers:

Recognising the significance effective written communication plays in career entry and advancement, we feel it will be instructive to dedicate this article to looking at the seven basic types of job search letters that you are likely to write during your career.

We will begin by making the distinction between the prospecting and the application letter.


1. Application Letter

This letter is used to respond to a specific job advertisement or announcement of vacancy. Its purpose is to get your résumé read and generate interviews. The previous two articles outlined how this letter should be structured.


2. Prospecting letter

The purpose of this letter is to prospect for possible vacancies, get your résumé read, and generate interviews. Target specific individuals in the organisation. Structure this letter similarly to the application letter, but, instead of using specific position information, focus on broader occupational and/or functional areas and describe how your qualifications match the work environment.


3. Networking Letter

This letter is designed to generate information interviews; not job interviews. It allows you to meet individuals who can give you specific information about your intended career. Your purpose for wanting to meet with a contact person must be genuine and sincere, and the meeting should not be seen as a shortcut to employment. Normally, a résumé is not attached to a networking letter. State your purpose without pressuring the reader.


4. Thank-you Letter

This is one of the most important, yet least used, tools in a job search. Appropriately used, it allows for the establishment of goodwill, the expression of appreciation, and strengthens your candidacy. It is good practice to send one within 24 hours following a job or informational interview. Express your sincere appreciation and draw attention to the good match between your specific skills and the job requirements. Reiterate your interest.


5. Acceptance Letter

Use this letter to accept a job offer, to confirm the terms of your employment (salary, starting date etc), and to positively reinforce the employer's decision to hire you. Confirm, accept, and reaffirm your employment decision. Express your appreciation for the opportunity.

6. Rejection Letter

Rejecting an employment offer should be done thoughtfully. Indicate that you have carefully considered the offer and have decided not to accept it. Be sure to thank the employer for the offer and for considering you as a candidate. In rejecting an offer, demonstrate your professionalism.


7. Withdrawal Letter

Once you accept a position, you have an ethical obligation to inform all other potential employers of your decision and to withdraw your employment application from consideration. Your withdrawal letter should express appreciation for the employer's consideration and courtesy. It may be appropriate to state that your decision to go with another organisation was because you felt it was a better person-job fit for this stage of your career. Do NOT say that you obtained a better job!

Final tip: Be sure to sign printed copies of your letters before you dispatch them and keep copies of them, including those sent electronically.

We trust you will find these guidelines useful.


Career Advisor


Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at




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