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Other Important Letters

Everyone recognizes the importance of sending a cover letter with a resume, but here are three other kinds of letters that are often forgotten:

I. Thank-You Letters

Send a short note to anyone that you met during your interview. Do not forget to include person(s) in the human resources department if they spent a significant amount of time with you. Mention that you appreciated the person taking time to meet with you and try to mention something specific that you discussed. (This will help him remember which interviewee you are.) It is good practice to mail thank-you letters within a day or two of your interview.

Many job seekers forget, or choose not to, write thank-you notes. That is a big mistake. Sending a note has three important benefits:

  1. It keeps your name fresh in the employer's mind.
  2. It sets you apart from competing job seekers who did not send thank-you notes.
  3. It shows you to be courteous and professional--two traits that employers look for.

Prepare a thank-you letter template early in your job search. Leave open an area to personalize the letter with information specific to a particular interview.

It is best to send a thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview so that it may reach the employer before he has made a decision. For this reason, you may consider sending a thank-you e-mail instead of a hard copy in order to shorten the delivery time.

II. Acceptance Letters

Acceptance letters are necessary if a special compensation package or special benefits were agreed upon and your employer does not formalize your agreement with a contract or in writing of some kind. A written record of promises made is essential to proving your claims should promises go unfulfilled later.

Generally, your employer will write this letter. If he does not, ask him to write one, reminding him of the terms of employment that are important to you.

If you must write your own letter, exercise caution so as not to lead your employer to believe that you are greedy or paranoid. Only detail "make-or-break" promises in your letter.

If your employer will not give you a letter of agreement, and won't sign yours, you would be wise to question the sincerity of his promises.

III. Decline Letters

Decline letters are the professional way of stating that you are withdrawing your application or have accepted a job with another employer. Always write one of these letters to employers who are giving you serious consideration (e.g., employers with whom you have interviewed or who have offered to give you an interview). In the letter, politely thank the employer for considering you for the position and inform him that you have accepted employment elsewhere. Do not state why you have accepted an offer from another firm nor with which firm. Finish the letter with a positive statement; i.e., how you may look forward to the possibility of working with them at some time in the future.