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Cutting and pasting from a Word doc

Job Materials

In application (or cover) letters, the "you attitude"—looking at the situation from the reader's point of view and adjusting the content, structure, and tone of your writing to meet that person's needs—is crucial. Don’t write about how the organization will benefit you; show the reader how you can benefit the organization. An employer or grad school is interested in your knowledge, skills, and experience. Begin by showing your knowledge of the organization in the introduction; find something to praise and try to show you might fit within the structure of the organization. Since much of science, technology, and business, not to mention technical communication, requires collaboration, employers will be interested in how well you work with others. In the letter, try to incorporate information about working with others.

 Parts of a letter:

Almost all letters contain:

  • heading: your address
  • inside address: the organization and or person receiving the letter,
  • salutation: greeting, don’t use clichés such as To Whom It May Concern
  • body: Introduction, body, conclusion
  • complimentary close,
  • signature,
  • reference initials.

Most letters also contain some of the following notation lines:

  • attention: useful when you don’t have a name, e.g. Attention HR
  • subject: job title or number
  • enclosure and copy.

All letters contain the following:

  • introduction
  • body (Qualifications)
  • conclusion

Most letters are typed in one of two formats (See handout called letter formats):

  • modified block
  • full block