Red

Tips for writing personal letters to employers?

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My employer has just posted and opening for a new job. I've been preparing for this oppurtunity for almost three years now, and the last couple of months have been sleepless knowing this would come up. I'm fervent about it, and I would be exceptionally good for the position. Now it's just a matter of getting there...

The CV just needs to be updated - not much to do there. I'm not really worried about an interview; just show up on time, be well dressed, and the rest will take care of itself. To get there though, I need a good personal letter to present myself with. That's something I always struggle with.

I think a good letter should be brief, show what value you bring, why you want the job and sell you to the employer(while being authentic, of course). Avoid the typical clichés and back up every claim with concrete examples. Usually when I write it either looks like something straight out of kindergarten("Hi, my name is Red. I'm sixteen and a half and I like pancakes...") or a small novel.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, especially if you have tips on structure and process.

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Here in the States, we have people who know how to put together resumés in order to maximize their impact. Some, the ones that work in employment agencies/headhunters, know what they're doing. Do you have such an option there? Are you open to it?

Good luck!

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Since the purpose of the letter is getting a particular job with the addressee, I recommend talking about HIS values and needs, and the reasons why you are the person who is uniquely the one to help him accomplish them. You can be friendly and casual if you are comfortable writing that way, but only include personal details about you are relevant to your qualifications for the job and your motivations for doing it well.

A good format might be:

Dear [hiring manager],

I understand you are looking for someone who can do [job qualifications] and who is [personal qualifications]. It is crucial that you find the person who is well-qualified and motivated to do the best job possible for you and I appreciate that you are considering me for your [position title].

I have wanted, and have been preparing for, this job since I began working at [company name] three years ago. I have been studying [what you've learned] and [other ways you have prepared.] Now that the position is available, I'm hopeful, excited, and a little scared because I want it so much, but I think I am well qualified (see my CV) and look forward to our interview.

Thank you again,

[your name]

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Here in the States, we have people who know how to put together resumés in order to maximize their impact. Some, the ones that work in employment agencies/headhunters, know what they're doing. Do you have such an option there? Are you open to it?

Good luck!

I don't know to what extent that exists here. Never thought about it actually. I'll look into it. Thanks! :)

This got me thinking about contacting the interviewer that recommended me for my current job. They were hired externally to help with the rectruitment(this time it's the section managers, so unfortunately I won't be interviewed by the same person again). It was a bit funny, so i'll give you the long version:

I had started on a temporary position in spring/early summer because they needed people over the summer vacations. I had worked there before and this time I knew I wanted to stay. When I studied CGI I actually used to daydream about going back to my old job there. Considered it a passing fancy at first, but not this time.

Now this was/is an entry level job. Some qualifications are needed but we're sort of generalists, which means you can pick it up fairly quickly if you're interested. When I got there I did simple grunt work at first. Not my cup of tea, so I decided to show that I meant business. I learned the more difficult tasks quickly, and since there's a small library in the corridor outside the office I stayed late just so I could read through the books.

The boss was of course very pleased so I got put in "full production". I was doing excellent. Still not in a permanent position though. No, you see, to get there I had to first send in my application, then pass a personality test, pass a really sharp rectruiter and then a final interview. One might think that's a bit over the top for a job you've been doing good at for months already.

I was farily upset about the bureaucracy, until I met that sharp rectruiter. Best job interview i've ever had. When I left I thought that wether I got the job or not, she would know exactly what kind of person I was. I thought about sending her flowers, but since that could be considered a bribe I decided not to.

I might just give her a call on monday. I'm pretty sure she remembers me. :)

Since the purpose of the letter is getting a particular job with the addressee, I recommend talking about HIS values and needs, and the reasons why you are the person who is uniquely the one to help him accomplish them. You can be friendly and casual if you are comfortable writing that way, but only include personal details about you are relevant to your qualifications for the job and your motivations for doing it well.

A good format might be:

Dear [hiring manager],

I understand you are looking for someone who can do [job qualifications] and who is [personal qualifications]. It is crucial that you find the person who is well-qualified and motivated to do the best job possible for you and I appreciate that you are considering me for your [position title].

I have wanted, and have been preparing for, this job since I began working at [company name] three years ago. I have been studying [what you've learned] and [other ways you have prepared.] Now that the position is available, I'm hopeful, excited, and a little scared because I want it so much, but I think I am well qualified (see my CV) and look forward to our interview.

Thank you again,

[your name]

I love that format - thank you! :)

I have a couple of questions here:

The first is, what's the best way to point out performance/results that are not so easily measurable? I know they're looking for someone who can make independent decisions and produce good results. The biggest value i've brought to my current position is by supervising and tutoring new employees, generally getting others to perform better(I have a great knowledge and i'm a good leader), solving problems and helping to develop the organization. My days are usually spent being in a million places at once. None of that is measured though, so it's difficult to point to any statistics(there are of course some statistics that I can show, but they'll just give you a little bit of the whole picture). So aside from doing my own things well i've also managed to lift everyone else up.

(Regarding that part it's one of the things I look forward to in the new position. Currently it's a bit like doing those things with your hands tied behind your back, because that part of the organization is very inflexible. The new position is the opposite, with a lot more freedom and responsibility)

The other question is regarding the reference to my CV. What about changing that to "talk to my boss", or something along those lines? I think my best qualification is my work. Looking at the CV's i'm sure they can find someone who's worked there longer and have better academic merits. But I doubt there's anyone who's built a "stronger brand", and i've done that by being good at exactly the things i'll work with in the new position.

Jeez, I might just have written a small essay. :D

Anyway, thank you so much for your tips!

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By the way, what do you think about mentioning future ambitions? My goal is to work there for a few years, probably advancing to some management position, while going through law school. When i'm done I want to work there as a lawyer.

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I have a couple of questions here:

The first is, what's the best way to point out performance/results that are not so easily measurable? I know they're looking for someone who can make independent decisions and produce good results. The biggest value i've brought to my current position is by supervising and tutoring new employees, generally getting others to perform better(I have a great knowledge and i'm a good leader), solving problems and helping to develop the organization. My days are usually spent being in a million places at once. None of that is measured though, so it's difficult to point to any statistics(there are of course some statistics that I can show, but they'll just give you a little bit of the whole picture). So aside from doing my own things well i've also managed to lift everyone else up.

(Regarding that part it's one of the things I look forward to in the new position. Currently it's a bit like doing those things with your hands tied behind your back, because that part of the organization is very inflexible. The new position is the opposite, with a lot more freedom and responsibility)

Keep your focus on what the person hiring wants and needs. You don't need to have measurable accomplishments, but definitely mention the experience you have and what you have done that is similar to what he's looking for. He doesn't care that YOU want more freedom and responsibility, but he wants someone who can work autonomously and assume responsibility. Stress that you have those attributes and very briefly mention how you have exercised them in the past. Just indicate, but don't give too many details. Just enough to make him interested and give him something to ask about at the interview.

The other question is regarding the reference to my CV. What about changing

that to "talk to my boss", or something along those lines? I think my

best qualification is my work. Looking at the CV's i'm sure they can

find someone who's worked there longer and have better academic merits.

But I doubt there's anyone who's built a "stronger brand", and i've done

that by being good at exactly the things i'll work with in the new

position.

Mention the CV if it relevant to the job, but definitely refer to anyone who can give you references that are relevant to the job requirements and, especially, to your personal and character traits. I used to keep a file of my "love letters" -- appreciative letters of recommendation from previous clients -- and include copies with my resume whenever I applied for a job. Nowadays, you might ask them to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn and refer people to it.

By the way, what do you think about mentioning future ambitions? My goal is to work there for a few years, probably advancing to some management position, while going through law school. When i'm done I want to work there as a lawyer.

I wouldn't mention that at all unless asked. Keep the focus on what the hiring manager wants and on not what you want. If they ask about your plans, always couch it in terms of the job you want now such as: "I want to continue to expand my skills and knowledge but I value this company and want to remain here and continue to contribute to its success."

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My employer has just posted and opening for a new job. I've been preparing for this oppurtunity for almost three years now, and the last couple of months have been sleepless knowing this would come up. I'm fervent about it, and I would be exceptionally good for the position. Now it's just a matter of getting there...

The CV just needs to be updated - not much to do there. I'm not really worried about an interview; just show up on time, be well dressed, and the rest will take care of itself. To get there though, I need a good personal letter to present myself with. That's something I always struggle with.

I think a good letter should be brief, show what value you bring, why you want the job and sell you to the employer(while being authentic, of course). Avoid the typical clichés and back up every claim with concrete examples. Usually when I write it either looks like something straight out of kindergarten("Hi, my name is Red. I'm sixteen and a half and I like pancakes...") or a small novel.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, especially if you have tips on structure and process.

Here is one tip (and I am not joking around). Make sure your spelling is perfect.

During my misspent youth I have been burned by bad spelling.

ruveyn

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Keep your focus on what the person hiring wants and needs. You don't need to have measurable accomplishments, but definitely mention the experience you have and what you have done that is similar to what he's looking for. He doesn't care that YOU want more freedom and responsibility, but he wants someone who can work autonomously and assume responsibility. Stress that you have those attributes and very briefly mention how you have exercised them in the past. Just indicate, but don't give too many details. Just enough to make him interested and give him something to ask about at the interview.

That makes a lot of sense. Funny how I haven't thought about it like that before. I mean, they're clearly not going to hire me just because I think it's a terrific idea. Clearly they must think it's a terrific idea. :)

Mention the CV if it relevant to the job, but definitely refer to anyone who can give you references that are relevant to the job requirements and, especially, to your personal and character traits. I used to keep a file of my "love letters" -- appreciative letters of recommendation from previous clients -- and include copies with my resume whenever I applied for a job. Nowadays, you might ask them to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn and refer people to it.

Asking for and saving those letters is something I really need to get better at. Since this is the employer where i've started to build a carreer it's not something i've paid much attention to in the past, and here most references are readily available... except for when people actually change jobs. However, I do have a few people to ask for letters of recommendation, and I think they'll give high praise.

I wouldn't mention that at all unless asked. Keep the focus on what the hiring manager wants and on not what you want. If they ask about your plans, always couch it in terms of the job you want now such as: "I want to continue to expand my skills and knowledge but I value this company and want to remain here and continue to contribute to its success."

I'll follow that advice as well. More of a general question though, do you think it's generally a bad idea to be open about your future plans? So far i've been very open about it. Frankly told my bosses that "I love this job, but here's what i'm aiming at". Though that's been obvious without me telling them anything.

Here is one tip (and I am not joking around). Make sure your spelling is perfect.

During my misspent youth I have been burned by bad spelling.

ruveyn

Oh yes! Spelling, grammar and punctuation will be perfect. I'm also taking great care to have a good page layout, perfect margins, line spacing and font(which will be formal, with a subtle elagance, and read well on both print and display). Details are important. :D

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Since the purpose of the letter is getting a particular job with the addressee, I recommend talking about HIS values and needs, and the reasons why you are the person who is uniquely the one to help him accomplish them. You can be friendly and casual if you are comfortable writing that way, but only include personal details about you are relevant to your qualifications for the job and your motivations for doing it well.

A good format might be:

Dear [hiring manager],

I understand you are looking for someone who can do [job qualifications] and who is [personal qualifications]. It is crucial that you find the person who is well-qualified and motivated to do the best job possible for you and I appreciate that you are considering me for your [position title].

I have wanted, and have been preparing for, this job since I began working at [company name] three years ago. I have been studying [what you've learned] and [other ways you have prepared.] Now that the position is available, I'm hopeful, excited, and a little scared because I want it so much, but I think I am well qualified (see my CV) and look forward to our interview.

Thank you again,

[your name]

I think Betsy nails this.

The only counter thought that comes to mind is that you want to know your audience. I have had times in my career when I was not hired because the hiring boss was intimidated. I've actually gotten job offers by dumbing down my resume as an experiment. Hopefully, this is not a factor here.

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I think Betsy nails this.

The only counter thought that comes to mind is that you want to know your audience. I have had times in my career when I was not hired because the hiring boss was intimidated. I've actually gotten job offers by dumbing down my resume as an experiment. Hopefully, this is not a factor here.

I'm not too worried about that. More likely they'll find it refreshing. I know the team managers, who do the hiring, are under a lot of pressure from their bosses to show good resuls. Meanwhile the teams are held up by a few individuals. Showing them "here's what I can do for you" should be very welcome.

What worries me most is actually a minor technicality. High school wasn't a good time for me. Considering what i've achieved and what I can do, I don't think that should be problem(plus my current position actually had higher requirements, but that's incidental since they've changed the reqruitment strategy). However, I know they've made some very strange decisions in the past. It could be simple excuses because they didn't want to hire somone because of personal issues.

I applied for the same position 1.5 years ago. Back then they required at least 2-3 years of college in law or economics. That's very over qualified for the job, but I think they wanted to make sure people would pass the 1-2 years of training required. Plus they wanted a higher status for the job. Anyhow, I had none of that back then. I figured proven competence and experience would at least give me a shot. I knew the job and the training would have been easy. Not a chance though.

That's fine, so I resumed more responsibilities at work and went on to study law(not just for the job, I love law). Figured that would keep me busy and having fun for a while...

Now, suddenly, they've changed the game. They realized the reqruitment strategy wasn't working well. The college requirement was removed for internal applications(a bit ironically they're probably going to put that requirment for external applications to my position - they want people to get in that way before they advance).

In the past thye've been very rigid and bureaucratic. I don't know what to expect now really. It could be a problem, but everything else speaks in my favor.

Heh, I guess you can tell i'm pretty terrified about this. But that is as it should be, it shows how important it is. :)

Betsy's advice is very good, and as an interesting example of someone who also followed this was Leonardo da Vinci

I think i'm going to borrow that and show it to our chief executive next time I see her. She will be impressed. :D

Seriously though, that was very interesting. It gives me few ideas i'll have to ponder(and no, I will not mention bombs and mortars in my resume ;) ).

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I'll follow that advice as well. More of a general question though, do you think it's generally a bad idea to be open about your future plans? So far i've been very open about it. Frankly told my bosses that "I love this job, but here's what i'm aiming at". Though that's been obvious without me telling them anything.

Since your immediate goal is landing that job, the only thing that matters is appealing to the hiring manager's self-interest now. If your future plans are not relevant to that, I would not bring them up unless the interviewer asks, and then I would only mention the kind of things that would make me a more desirable person to hire.

After you get the job, you will have more freedom to use it as a base for further advancement, but right now you don't want to look like a short-timer who is just passing through.

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Since your immediate goal is landing that job, the only thing that matters is appealing to the hiring manager's self-interest now. If your future plans are not relevant to that, I would not bring them up unless the interviewer asks, and then I would only mention the kind of things that would make me a more desirable person to hire.

After you get the job, you will have more freedom to use it as a base for further advancement, but right now you don't want to look like a short-timer who is just passing through.

Hehe, and I here I wanted to make the exact opposite impression - that I do want to stay and not just pass through. :D

I understand though that I need to stay focused on the present. And while having future ambitions within the same organization, the hiring managers interest is to have me on that position.

I've just learned how very important that is to them as well. They're trying to solve their recruiting problems by focusing on people who really want that job(and not just something nice to put in their resume).

By the way, today I had such a great confidence boost that I just have to tell you about it. A few weeks ago we had a couple of days education, because we're taking over - or helping with - some new tasks. This is part of the work i'll be doing when I get that new position. The tutors were three charming ladies, showing us the ropes and making sure there are no legal issues. I might add that their position carries a lot of authority.

Anyhow, I ran into them in the cafeteria today. They'd just come for a quick visit, immediately recognized me and we started chatting. Apparently i've made a very good impression. They offered to give a letter of recommendation and told me I could put their names as references in my application. Oh, and they also suggested I should move to another city so I could work at their office. :D

I had no idea I made such an impression on them. From what I recall I was just there being me; listening, asking questions and engaging them in interesting conversations when we had breaks. Talk about a positive surprise! I'm thrilled to get such endorsement. :)

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I had no idea I made such an impression on them. From what I recall I was just there being me; listening, asking questions and engaging them in interesting conversations when we had breaks. Talk about a positive surprise! I'm thrilled to get such endorsement. :)

Get it in writing! If they recommend you to someone, ask to be CC'd. Written references will be money in the bank long after you lose track of the people who wrote them.

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I had no idea I made such an impression on them. From what I recall I was just there being me; listening, asking questions and engaging them in interesting conversations when we had breaks. Talk about a positive surprise! I'm thrilled to get such endorsement. :)

Get it in writing! If they recommend you to someone, ask to be CC'd. Written references will be money in the bank long after you lose track of the people who wrote them.

I should have it in writing next week. :)

I like the thought of money in the bank... better start collecting more written references.

I've seen claims from experts that you should avoid putting more than three references in you resume. Is that true? My references so far are:

Four of my bosses, that i've worked directly with. Two of them current and the other two used to be team managers for the same position.

The three ladies mentioned above.

One of our lawyers. She works as a legal back up for us, among other things. Since we work at different offices our communication has mostly been phone and email, but we've met and worked together on a few occasions(and talked each others ears off :D )

My college teacher whom i've asked vouch for my performance on her course. Since this position requires one year of training, with some college courses, I think it's good to have someone vouch for that ability.

I could put more names on the list, but they don't know me that well.

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I've seen claims from experts that you should avoid putting more than three references in you resume. Is that true?

I never put specific references on my resume. All I said were "Extensive references available on request." You might want to leave out "extensive" right now, but that's the general idea. Then I included hard copies of my "love letters," signed and on company letterhead. For emails, I used a standard printout.

Nowadays, when resumes are sent by email, you might want to attach your "love letters" as jpgs or pdfs.

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Thanks again!

I sent the application on wednesday, following the suggested format.

I think it turned out really well. I had lots of things I could have written, but this focused only on the essentials: Showing them that I understand what the job is about and what they want, that I have the skills/ability they value (without going into any details) and that I really want it. Simple, brief and focused, and enough to get their interest. I like that. My boss also adviced against trying to tell them just how good I am. Told me they're going to give him a call anyway, so he'll take care of that. Plus it adds more credibility coming from him.

Having good credibility is very important here. Every decision must be right and mistakes can really make the stuff hit the fan. Selling myself too hard could be taken as over-confidence or lack of judgement. I figured those things will show through anyway when I get to talk to them.

I designed the CV the same way. Just one page, two collumns, and a clean layout. Wrote a short "profile", only mentioned relevant work experience, education and skills that apply for the job. For the references though, I did put my bosses there. The reason was just simple convenience. I know they're going to call them, so now they don't have to search through the very annyoing company phone book.

Yesterday I had a brief chat with one of the team managers, and a longer conversation with the section manager(the process basically works so that the team managers decide on who they want, and then suggests those to the section manager). The team manager already knows me a little bit and seemed very positive. Then I spent about 45 minutes getting to know the section manager. It went really well. Very easy to talk to and seemed like on of those guys who's really competent and loves his job.

I think my chances are looking good and I have high hopes. :)

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I had an interview a couple of weeks ago. Thought it went well. Then I got a call today.... NAILED IT! Got the job! :D

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I had an interview a couple of weeks ago. Thought it went well. Then I got a call today.... NAILED IT! Got the job! :D

Congratulations_2-7281b56d10cf982bcfae67

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Thank you!

This is so exciting - I can't wait to start! :)

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