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Letter writing strategies

Letter writing strategies

You may contact several hundred people during your career exploration and work-search activities. For every written communication, confirm the name and title of the person to whom you should write and ensure that you have the correct spelling. Telephone the organization to verify that your information is current. Your correspondence will be better received when addressed to the correct person and not just to a job title.

Decide on the focus of your letter, tailor your information to the reader, and ensure that you remain on topic. Keep your letters to one page.

Let your enthusiasm shine. You do not want to lose the reader’s interest before the end of the page. Avoid writing “as you can see,” because the reader may not “see” the point as you do.

Check your first draft for how often you have written “I.” The overuse of “I,” monotonous sentence structure, and rambling or boring text defeat your goal of writing an effective letter. Try to limit your paragraphs to no more than five sentences and your sentences to a maximum of two lines. Remember that the first sentence in a paragraph should introduce the topic discussed in that paragraph.

Send an original, not copies that look mass produced. Keep a copy of your correspondence. Follow up at the appropriate time because the person you wrote may not contact you.

University of Waterloo

Centre for Career Development