Professional Correspondence

The most common job search letter is a cover letter, but it's important to be aware that there are other letters that you may use in the course of a job search. For most college students, letter writing has been reduced to short e-mail messages, quickly written, and quickly sent. This is not acceptable when in the midst of a job search. Communication skills are critically important in your career and your job search letters will be one of the first samples employers will have of your competence in this area. All correspondence with a prospective employer will be carefully critiqued to screen out candidates. Be sure your job search letters have no typos, are grammatically correct, follow standard business format, and present you as the best candidate for the internship or job!

To have your job search letters critiqued, come to drop-in hours at the career center or meet with a career advisor.

Below are some common types of Job Search Letters. Be sure to sign the original hard copy letters and to keep copies for your records

Cover Letter

A cover letter always accompanies a resume when you send it through email, U.S. mail, or when you are completing an online application. It is not required when you hand a resume to a recruiter at a career fair, presentation, or interview. Write a persuasive letter in a conversational format to market yourself for the particular job you are seeking. Identify your experiences, education, and skills which are most directly related to that job. Use the job description to drive what you include and highlight in your cover letter. Each cover letter should be unique to the experience that you are applying to as it is based on what that specific employer is looking for. This is your opportunity to help an employer see how and where you fit into the organization. 
View sample cover letters 
View sample cover letters - email 
View sample cover letters - print 
View Seven cover letter don'ts


Exploratory/Networking Letter

This letter or email is sent to individuals requesting information about a career or company. It's a great way to reach out to other UK alumni to prospect for possible job openings. Be sure to focus on broader fields and industries when describing your qualifications. Normally, a resume is not attached to this type of letter because the focus is on generating information not generating job offers! It's also used to ask for an informational interview.

View a sample Exploratory/Networking letter


Thank You Letter

This is one of the most important yet least used letters in a job search. A thank-you letter is used to establish goodwill and express appreciation. It can be sent to a potential employer, a contact that's assisted you, or an interviewer. The general rule of thumb is that if someone has spent more than 10 minutes of their time, then a thank you would be appropriate. A thank-you letter should always be sent with 24 hours of an interview, informational interview, etc. A handwritten thank you note is a more traditional form; however, you must take into consideration the person to whom it will be sent. Use your best judgment. If you have been communicating via email, it might be more acceptable to send an emailed note of thanks.

View a sample Thank you letter


Follow-Up Letter

This is a letter requesting the status of your application while noting your continued interest in the position. You should also offer to provide any additional information that would assist the employer in making a decision. Due to time sensitivity, this letter is often emailed.

View a sample Follow-up letter


Acceptance Letter

Congratulations if you've made it to this stage in the job search! This letter is sent to an employer when an offer has been made. Use it to accept the offer and confirm the terms of employment (start date, salary, medical examinations, etc.). It's an excellent way to positively reinforce the employer's decision to hire you.

View a sample Acceptance letter 


Withdrawal Letter

This is a letter sent to formally decline an offer of employment or to remove yourself from consideration as a candidate. Rejecting an employment offer must be done thoughtfully. Indicate that you have carefully considered the offer but that it was not the best job fit for this stage in your career. Do not say that you have obtained a better job. You want to express your thanks while keeping the door open for future contact.

View a sample Withdrawal letter