In some few cases certain mechanical parts are omitted.
The above rules for the mechanical composition of a commercial letter should be tried out on the illustrative letters here and there thruout the text. This style is by no means common but it is growing in favor. It is a convenient form for the typist. It is used, however, by some business offices and it is decidedly pleasing to the eye. The short letter is placed too high on the paper; the salutation is wrongly placed; the inside address has a diagonal margin and the signature and complimentary closing a vertical margin.
Note particularly the special data at the beginning of the letter. Please mention when answering this letter. The business man to whom you write for a position wants to know at once, and has the right to know at once, just why you are addressing him. If you enter upon a long account of your education and experience before stating exactly what you want, your application will probably not make a good impression. Be direct and straightforward, therefore, without being blunt or abrupt. The letter of application is too frequently regarded as a merely routine and mechanical form of correspondence.
There should really be fto such thing as a routine or mechanical letter. All letters should bear the stamp of personality, should evince a human touch. Originality, cleverness, spirit, "differentness" may be employed to good advantage in a letter of application. Such qualities catch and impress. But, of course, modesty and courtesy must never be sacrificed in your effort to be striking and engaging.
Flippancy and forwardness have no place in any sort of letter, least of all in a letter of application where the chief purpose is to make a good impression. You should interest, you may even surprise, the person to whom you write a letter of application, but you must not shock or annoy him. And do not attempt to be "different" in such a letter unless you are quite sure you can be so successfully.
There are two kinds of letters of application: Direct and Indirect. The direct letter of application is one written directly to a firm or an individual for a position, — the opening or vacancy having been reported to the applicant thru friends or acquaintances. The indi- rect letter of application is one written in answer to an advertise- ment, — the advertisement serving as the medium of communica- tion between the one who wants the position and the one who offers it. The greater number of letters of application are of the latter class.
Direct application may perhaps be somewhat less formal than indirect, owing to the fact that the applicant may be ac- quainted with the person to whom application is made.
The general order of letter content should, however, be about as follows in letters of both classes: 1. Purpose of letter. Salary expected optional.
References, — school, character, ability, experience. Arrangement for interview optional. Telephone number optional.
Experience may be stated before education, for what you are doing now may be of greater interest to an employer than what you have done in the past. In stating education and experience you should play up particularly that part of each that bears upon the position for which you are applying. Show if possible that your training and your experience have been in line with the position to be filled. Imagine what questions the employer would ask you about these things if he were talking to you, and write the answers to them seriatim.
Points 4, 6, and 7 may be omitted, their inclusion being deter- mined in each case by the special conditions bearing upon it. Salary expected when included should be stated indirectly and negatively as a rule. Not "I shall expect to receive at least twelve dollars a week," but "I am at present receiving twelve dollars a week and shall be willing to start with you at the same salary, tho an increase would of course be a gratifying aITangement.
It is the place in your application that calls for tact.
It may facilitate matters for the one to whom your letter is written if you include in it your telephone number and the times at which you are free to call upon him, tho these are obviously dependent upon particular conditions of individual cases. Your references should be classified as indicated in the outline.
Those who know your capacities in one direction and another should be grouped accordingly. Instead of saying, "In reply to your advertisement, etc. It is an annotation merely. A better plan is to clip the advertisement from the paper and paste it immediately above the salutation where the address belongs. Open your letter with some such definite statement as, "Please consider me an applicant for the position you have to offer.
Your application itself is evidence that you "hope" or "trust" you will get the position. Moreover, the business man to whom you are writing will not be influenced by, probably not even interested in, your expression of faith or hope or trust.
He will weigh the salient points of the letter itself and your method of stating them. What is still more important for you, — he will compare your letter, consciously or unconsciously, with hundreds of others and you will benefit just in proportion as your letter stands out from the host of others in style and content.
Remember that every letter of application is an entrant in a com- petition, a sales competition. You are offering your abilities for sale, along with many others. Feel the spur of competition, there- fore, just as if you were playing a game on the school field. Instead of saying, "I have had three years' experience in the brokerage business," state specifically the names of the firms you have worked for, give their addresses, their telephone numbers, and tell how long and when you served with each.
If you are em- ployed when you write a letter of application, tell frankly why you wish to make a change.
If you are not employed, state with equal frankness just why not. If you lack business experience, tell ex- plicitly how your education has equipped you to make you capable of filling the position in question. Do not make general statements in connection with any of those matters.
Generalities are worth- less in business of any sort, most of all in business letters. Definite, specific facts are the only items that count in business dealing, the only ones that deserve consideration. The average employer will like your system, just as he will appreciate your outlining or skeletonizing your answer to his advertisement. Tabulation saves time for him. His eye and his mind will more easily follow material that is tabulated than solid writing.
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He will furthermore be favorably impressed with novel and unusual forms of make-up in your letter, provided of course you do not permit innovation to cause error in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. There is no objection to the use of the pronoun "I. But you should always use it modestly and you should subordinate it wherever and whenever possible. By stating your qualifications in outline form, you will be able to elimi- nate the "I" from your application almost altogether, if, you wish.
Enclosures in a letter of application should be attached to the letter proper by clip. A small photograph may be conveniently pasted in the upper right hand corner. If there are many enclosures, they should be arranged in the order in which it is desired to have them considered. A stamp, or better, a stamped, addressed en- velope, should always be enclosed in a letter of application. Stamps should be placed in oiled paper, in a small envelope, or attached by pasting the selvage of the stamp sheet to the letter.
Study carefully the models immediately following. These are letters that have actually secured positions for,. They have thus received the approval of men and women who employ large numbers of workers. Well displayed. Rogers Peet Company, 41st St. Gentlemen: Attention Mr. Apply early Monday norning to Mr. James Stepel, 54 13th St. Very truly yours, Dear Sir: It may he that you are now looking for a suitable teacher to fill a vacancy in your English Department.
If so, I shall he glad to he con- sidered an applicant for the position. These are my qualifications: Since September, , I have attended the University of Illinois, having been abroad a year previous to my entering college.
My instructors, Dr. Bagley, Department of Education; Prof. Paul and Dr. I am American, twenty- two, happy and healthy. I trust that my qualifications meet your requirements and that I may hear from you. New York City, January 5, Dear Sir: Mr. Renshaw of the Gregg Publish- ing Company has informed me that there is a va- cancy in the teaching corps of your Commercial Department.
If the position is still open, I should like to be considered an applicant.
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In June I expect to receive my B. While teaching in Seattle, I took work in Education at the Uni- versity of Washington, and the follow- ing summer, took Commercial Methods at the University of California.