Correspondence for the Job Search


Written correspondence is an integral part of the job search process.  Many job applications request that a cover letter accompany your resume; however that is only one form of communication you will likely draft.  There are seven basic letters to be aware of, each of which have a time and place in the process.  Be aware that you may encounter many opportunities to communicate, both through email and professional letters; each one is important when creating a positive impression and should be given careful consideration.

Three letters... to introduce yourself to someone, either in hopes of being granted a job interview or an informational interview:

1 & 2. Application Letters and Prospecting Letters:
These are the most common types of letter, often called cover letters.  The first, application letters, are sent in response to an advertised posting. They are focused on a specific job and how you would be an ideal fit for that position.  Prospecting letters are used to inquire about possible openings; instead of writing for a specific position, your letter focuses more broadly on how you fit within the  industry and organizational environment.

3. Networking Letters:
Networking letters are appropriate when requesting an informational interview to talk with someone about your intended field of study or career path.  This is not the same as asking for a job interview. 

Four letters... that may be appropriate after an introduction or an interview.

4. Thank-You Letters:
This is an extremely important and valuable tool to show appreciation for anyone who has helped you.  Sending one goes a long way toward showing genuine interest and gratitude to employers you’ve met with at a fair or networking event, those who have interviewed you for a position, and networking contacts who have provided advice. 

5 & 6. Acceptance Letters or Rejection Letters:
Whether you are accepting a job opportunity or declining the offer, the professional thing is to do so in writing.  In the former you should confirm the details of your employment and express your excitement in the hiring decision.  The latter is meant to thank the employer while maintaining professionalism in declining an offer that doesn’t fit your career objectives or interests.

7. Withdrawal Letters:
Once you’ve accepted a position, it is necessary to contact any other employers you’ve submitted applications to in order to withdraw your name from further consideration.

For assistance in crafting these letters
, please contact the Career Development team ( and/or refer to Job Search Correspondence TIPS, for basic formats and examples. Additional materials on cover lettters and other job search topics can be found in the three digital editions of JOB CHOICES -  Business & Liberal Arts; Science, Engineering & Technology; Diversity.