Three Job Search Letters You Need to Write

Lori Johnston | January 25, 2011

A student I know who is applying for summer internships recently mentioned that she is writing a variety of cover letters to send to potential employers. I was so proud that she recognized a cover letter is essential when introducing yourself to prospective employers and that she needed to send more than a quick e-mail to the companies.

The cover letter is one of the three important letters you need to know how to write for career success. The others are the thank you note and the rejection follow-up letter. Here are some key things to know…

Cover letter

Use a brief but interesting cover letter to sell yourself as a valuable asset to the company.

You don’t want to regurgitate your resume; the cover letter should serve as an introduction to your resume.

Let the employer know what type of job you are interested in, and why you think you would be their best hire. You’ll also want your cover letter also to reflect your personality and work ethic.

Check out Virginia Tech’s Career Services’ division for sample cover letters and other tips. There’s also a paragraph-by-paragraph synopsis of what you need to include in a cover letter on the state of Michigan’s website.

But remember – you have to be accurate. You must spell the company’s name right and the contact’s name correctly. Any spelling errors or poor grammar will reflect poorly on you and impact your ability to land the job.

Thank you letter

Getting a job is all about relationships, and the thank you letter helps show your continued interest in the job and move forward your relationship with a potential employer.

A survey by Northwestern University notes that less than 15 percent of job seekers follow up with thank you letters. So taking the time to write these notes could really help you stand out! Northwestern’s tips include:

• Send the letter within 24 hours

• Mention something discussed during the interview (it helps remind the person who you are, especially in the case of open positions with multiple candidates)

• Briefly reiterate qualifications and skills that could be vital to the position

• Use e-mail to send the letter, but pop a hardcopy in the mail, too

Rejection follow-up letter

If you get rejected for a job, the last thing you want to do is to keep in touch with that company. But if you put aside your pride and write a follow-up letter – not to vent, but to thank them for considering you for the job – it could make a lasting impression that could lead to a job in the future.

One example of a rejection follow-up letter does a perfect job of not seeming bitter about losing out on the job, but keeping the door open to apply for other openings. says that “following up can send a powerful message about your resiliency as a professional and your heartfelt interest in the company.”

These three letters are essential to launching a successful job search now and in the future. So start writing!

-Lori Johnston

50 responses to “Three Job Search Letters You Need to Write”

  1. Cover Letter says:

    Thanks for spending the time in explaining the purpose of different cover letters. very informative..keep up the same going!!

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