Tips for ON-SPEC letter writing

Tips for ON-SPEC letter writing

Connecting directly with companies in your target market makes sense.

1. Is your letter likely to arouse the recipient's interest and attention almost as soon as they start reading it?

The best way to do this is to appeal to their self-interest by identifying a need which you think they have, and showing how you can fill it. For instance, every firm usually has middle management problems, needs accountants, looks for people with a proven record of sales success. As an executive, you will know general personnel problems in your area of experience, even if you cannot find the need which particularly applies to the firm you are writing to.

2. Have you clearly identified the reason you are writing?

Beware of making your approach so oblique and 'soft sell' that the reader is left in doubt about what you are getting at. At some point, you must get over the fact that you are looking for a job with the firm to whom you are writing!

3. Does it contain unnecessary data which will make it too long to read?

Remember that a recipient is a busy person. She has a pile of letters on her desk which she has to read and answer.

4. Does your letter clearly state that you are a forward-looking person with an open mind, and plenty to contribute?

Cut out phrases that sound like you are an old die-hard who is stuck in a rut! Show that you have the ability to deal with change. Emphasise what you have achieved in your previous jobs.

5. Is the writing crisp, precise and easy to follow?

Avoid pomposity and repetition.

6. Is there a logical flow to the letter?

Relate sentences and paragraphs to each other. Make sure you do not hop about.

7. Are spelling, punctuation and grammar correct?

Look up spelling in dictionaries, etc. (DO NOT RELY ON COMPUTER SPELL CHECK)

8. If writing to someone by name, it is imperative that the initials, title, and spelling of the name are correct.

Nothing will turn off the recipient quicker than if you get the spelling of his/her name wrong! Take the trouble to telephone the telephonist at the company you are writing to make sure you get these vital points right.

Let your ACMA career management consultant coach you in these specialised techniques.

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