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When asked, most people will define an employment letter as a document that is used to accompany their executive resume when seeking a new position. In reality, however, there are a variety of employment letters available to a job hunter, each having its own unique purpose in the individual’s overall marketing strategy. But regardless of type, an effective employment letter must be worded so that it catches the reader’s attention and creates enough interest to warrant further scrutiny of the job-seeker’s credentials and potential for future success. And while there is no guarantee that a top-notch marketing letter will result in an interview, it can play a major role in determining whether the accompanying executive resume will simply be discarded without any further consideration.

Types of Employment Letters
There are a number of potential employment letters that may be used when conducting a job search, and each one must be thought out and prepared so that it helps distinguish you from the legion of other candidates all vying to get their equally impressive credentials noticed. The more commonly known employment letters, however, include both initial and follow-up broadcast cover letters that are sent with the executive resume when contacting prospective employers, networking letters, post interview thank you letters, continued interest letters and executive resume letters.

The Broadcast Cover Letter is used to transmit your initial executive resume mailing to targeted employers and has two basic objectives: to introduce your qualifications and ask for an interview. But to improve your response rate, a high-impact cover letter must go one step further and clearly set your background apart from all of the other job hunters attempting to get their credentials noticed.

The Follow-Up Cover Letter is mailed approximately three weeks after your initial effort and can add as much as 70% to 80% to the total response rate you received from the first mailing. Obviously, this can mean a considerable increase in the total number of job interviews you are granted. But if poorly written, it can have an unbelievably negative impact on the success of your search effort.

The Networking Cover Letter (mailed with an abbreviated one-page version of your executive resume) can help “grease the skids” in preparation for your call to the contact by showing how your qualifications and accomplishments align with your job objective. But if your letter is poorly written, it is unlikely that the contact will even speak with you, much less provide any assistance.

The Post-Interview Thank You Letter is used to match-up your core competencies and previous accomplishments with the hiring company’s most pressing needs and challenges as disclosed to you during the employment interview. It may also be used to help overcome any objections raised by the interviewer as to the appropriateness of your background for the position currently being filled.

The Continued Interest Letter can help trigger the hiring executive’s memory as to your qualifications and value-added benefits long after your interview is over. Since the initial screening process can take many weeks to complete, and a number of other candidates are likely to be interviewed during that time, it is wise to show an ongoing interest in the position and company.

The Executive Resume Letter is ideal when changing careers or if you have been out of work for a lengthy period of time. This is due to the fact that it allows you to project a favorable image by focusing on the areas of your background that are appropriate for the position you desire, without revealing any of the liabilities that may be quite apparent on your traditional executive resume.

Still other types of specialized employment letters are used to respond to corporate job postings, advertisements found in newspapers and on the Internet, contact executive recruiters at search firms, or reach out to venture capitalists and private equity investment group contacts. But regardless of usage, each type of employment letter has a great deal of impact on how you are perceived. If properly worded it can grab the reader’s attention, but a poorly written letter can reduce, or eliminate, your chances of gaining an interview. While there is no guarantee that a top-notch letter will get you an interview, it will go a long way in determining whether your credentials will be taken seriously.

Track the Success of Your Materials 
If it is apparent that your written materials are not producing satisfactory results, do not let pride of authorship blind you to the fact that changes are likely to be required. Of course, even if your materials are pulling reasonably well doesn't mean they can't be improved. Never let yourself become complacent, since a well-written letter and executive resume make the reader want to know more about you, even if there is no current opening for someone with your specific background. 

Next to your executive resume, interviewing skills, and overall aggressiveness in attacking the job market, the most important factor in conducting a successful job-search campaign is writing effective employment letters. If done well, your employment letters can provide you with a distinct competitive advantage throughout your entire job search, but if not done well they can have disastrous results on your campaign. In fact, even one poorly conceived letter can literally cause the reader to discard your executive resume with no further thought given to your potential candidacy. 

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