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Letter Writing Etiquette - Job Covering Letters

 

Correct letter writing is very important, it shows how good you use of the English language is and many employers can put a lot of emphasis on this. Firstly you must ensure that the salutation and ending of your letter is correct. For example if you have been asked to apply to Mr J Williams for a position your letter should start with “Dear Mr Williams” and the letter should be ended with “Yours sincerely” the “s” in sincerely must be a small “s” not a capital “s”. If the position you are applying for has no contact name the letter should be commenced with “Dear Sir/Madam” and should be ended with “Yours faithfully”, again the “f” in faithfully should be in lower case.

Where the contact is female and advertised with a name, for example Louise Williams, it is more difficult to address the salutation as you do not know whether she is married or single. To address her as “Dear Louise” would be far too informal so what can you do? A good idea would be to contact the company in question and ask them how Louise Williams prefers to be addressed. This may be either Miss, Mrs or Ms. Again with all of these salutations the ending of the letter must be with “Yours sincerely”. If you are told to address her as “Dear Madam” the ending must be “Yours faithfully”. The phone number may be advertised in the job advertisement but if not just give directory enquiries (118118) a quick ring or if you don’t want to pay for the call just look up the companies details on the internet.

What do you do if the advertisement says “Apply to L Williams?”. Is it Mr/Mrs/Miss – how are you going to address the letter – Dear Sir/Madam/Mr Williams/Mrs Williams. No! Again just give the company a quick ring, it only takes a couple of minutes and you will be sorted in no time, the chances are you will be one of the only candidates to bother and this shows initiative and may make you stand out from the rest – something you want to do when you are trying to get an interview. I sometimes think that companies do this on purpose to see who has the initiative to work this out!

Sometimes advertisements will just say Reply to “The Personnel Department” along with a PO Box address. There is little you can do about this so the best thing to do is to address the letter to “Dear Sir/Madam” and finish the letter with “Yours faithfully”.

Here are some samples of correctly written application letters and the advertisements that they refer to: 

Production Manager - Midlands Attractive Package.

JMS Fasteners PLC is a specialist manufacturer of pressure fasteners. Due to our rapid expansion a  position has arisen for a Production Manager at our new 130,000 square foot processing plant in Birmingham. The role will include the daily overseeing of production and will entail management of a 60 strong workforce. Reporting to the Production Director You must have at least 6 years management experience within the engineering industry, posses strong leadership skills and be able to use Excel spreadsheets. Some Sales Development skills would also be an advantage. In return we offer a very competitive package and good career progression opportunities throughout our Group. If you would like to apply for this position, please forward your CV to: Mr J Williams, Production Director, JMS Fasteners PLC, JMS House, Redhouse Industrial Estate, Birmingham. B1 3JJ. Please quote reference PM/11932.

 Sample Letter For Above Advert:

14 Thornhill Road,
Streetly,
Sutton Coldfield,
West Midlands.
B74 3TY


14th February 2009

Mr J Williams.,
Production Director,
JMS Fasteners PLC,
JMS House,
Redhouse Industrial Estate,
Birmingham.
B1 3JJ.

 

Dear Mr Williams,

Re: Production Manager Vacancy - Reference PM/11932.

I am writing with regard to your advertisement for the above position which I am very interested in and would like to apply for.

As you will see from my CV which I enclose, I am currently employed by Jenson Engineering Limited as their Production Supervisor based at their assembly plant in Tamworth. My present position involves the overseeing of the production line to ensure that it runs smoothly and identifying any potential problems which may disrupt production. I am also responsible for the Health and Safety training for the 20 strong workforce which involves assessing and evaluating “risk” and “hazard”.

Over the last six months I have been involved in the implementation of ISO 9000 for our company. This has involved changing several production procedures which I personally implemented, not only did this help towards our accreditation but it also saved the company several man hours per week.

I feel that with my proven ability to help manage and maintain an effective production workforce I would be able to make a significant contribution to your company's team.

Yours sincerely,



David M Smith

It may be that you haven’t seen a job advertised by a company but you are randomly choosing businesses to write off to in order to establish whether they have any vacancies in your particular field. This can be very hard work and often produces little return but should you find an employer who is looking to fill a vacancy then you may be one of the first to be considered. Many employers also keep CV’s on file should a position arise in the future which they feel you may be suitable for.

If you are taking this route it’s always a good idea to find out the name of the person When you are making a speculative application you should always write to a named person if possible. Generally speaking someone is more likely to read a letter that is personally addressed, rather than addressed to say the “Head Of Personnel” or “Managing Director”. In any case these letters rarely reach the destination you want them to because they get intercepted beforehand. Again, the best thing to do is to ring up the company beforehand and find out either; who is responsible for recruitment or, if the business is a small business, who is the Managing Director. The phone numbers can be obtained from either Directory Enquiries 118118 or by using the internet.

Here is a sample of a letter you might write if you are writing to employers who are not advertising a job: 

4 Thornhill Road,
Streetly,
Sutton Coldfield,
West Midlands.
B74 3RR.

12th February 2009

Mrs M James.,
Personnel Manager,
Albion Galvanizing Limited,
New John Street West,
West Bromwich,
West Midlands.
B70 8YH.

 

Dear Mrs James,

I am writing to enquire whether you have any vacancies within your company for a Production Manager.

I have enclosed a copy of my current CV for your perusal. As you will, I am currently working for Jenson Engineering Limited as a Production Supervisor. My present position involves the overseeing of the production line to ensure that it runs smoothly and identifying any potential problems which may disrupt production. I am also responsible for the Health and Safety training for the 20 strong workforce which involves assessing and evaluating “risk” and “hazard”.

Over the last six months I have been involved in the implementation of ISO 9000 for our company. This has involved changing several production procedures which I personally implemented, not only did this help towards our accreditation but it also saved the company several man hours per week.

I would be very grateful if you would contact me if and when you have any vacancies arise in your company, or keep my information on file should a position arise in the future. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

 

David M Smith.

 

So remember the golden rules:

  • If the letter is addressed to Dear Mr Williams, Dear Miss Williams, Dear Mrs Williams, Dear Ms Williams the letter should be ended with "Yours sincerely" and make sure sincerely has a small "s".
  • If the letter is addressed to Dear Sir, Dear Madam, Dear Sir/Madam then the letter should be ended with "Yours faithfully" again using a small "f" for faithfully. 

 


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