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9th Nov 2012

Have Writing Skills Down To The Letter

Anne Richardson

As part of your search for a job, letters can be used in a variety of ways.  Jobseekers should realise that a letter can be the first impression a prospective employer has of them, so it’s worthwhile investing some time and effort into getting the letter writing process and presentation correct.  Anne Richardson from the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service explains the basics…

A letter is a formal document, so we would recommend that when producing letters you follow a formal business layout. Use a size 12 font in either Times New Roman or Arial. These are the size and typeface most commonly used in business. It is felt that Arial is the most clear for those with sight or reading issues.

The name and address of the person you are writing to should be on the top left hand side of the page, whilst your address (do not include your name) should be listed on the top right hand side. The date should be given at the top of the letter on either the left or right hand side under the addresses.

The letter should begin ‘Dear Sir /Madam’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Whoever’, according to whether you know the name of the person to whom you are writing or not. This will then affect your sign off at the end of the letter. If you have started ‘Dear Sir /Madam…’ then you should end, ‘Yours faithfully’. prior to your name.  If you have begun your letter with ‘Dear Mr …’ then it should end with ‘Yours sincerely’.

Use the space provided by the page.  Do not scrimp or squeeze your letter into the top of the page only to leave a huge empty space at the bottom.

If you need further information, please log onto www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers to find your local careers office.This site also carries extensive information on education, skills and training.You can also contact the Careers Service by phone on 0300 200 7820.

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