You may be waiting by the phone, but sometimes it is more efficient for prospective employers to request an interview by letter. This tack is especially common when an employer is planning multiple interviews. If you receive such a request, you probably will be asked to respond in kind, with a letter of your own. In this case, write an upbeat response, confirming not only the time and date of the interview but your conviction that you are the right person for the open position.
Address the letter with a formal salutation, such as “Dear Mr. XX” or “Dear Ms. YY.” Do not use the person’s first name, even if she signed the letter with her first name only. Maintain a professional stance.
Begin your letter concisely and with a clear statement of purpose: “I am writing to confirm my interview with Personnel Director John Doe at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2012, at your offices to discuss my qualifications for the receptionist position.” On the off chance that you have not been extended a specific interview date, supply general dates and times that you would be available. You might say, for example, that “afternoons after 1 p.m. would work especially well for me, but please let me know if this is convenient for you.” The more flexible you can be, the easier it will be to schedule an interview.
Offer to bring a copy of your resume, a list of references and your work portfolio, if appropriate. Ask if the person to contact you if she requires additional information, as it is in your best interest to be fully prepared for the interview.
Reaffirm your interest in and qualifications for the position. Do not repeat word for word statements in your original cover letter, which you probably sent with your resume to apply for the position in your first place. Say, for example, that you are enthused about the position and are confident that you possess the skills that would help you add value to the company’s efforts. Be sure to couch your confident tone in terms of what you can contribute to the company, rather than what you expect to learn or gain in return.
Close the letter by saying that you look forward to the interview and that you appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the company and the open position. If a specific time has been offered to you, ask that the person contact you if the interview time must be changed.
Write a formal closing for your letter, such as “Sincerely,” rather than the more informal “Best regards” or “Best.” Sign your full name, not just your first name. You should not be on a first-name basis with an employer until you are hired.
Proofread and edit your letter with a sharp, critical eye. It should be grammatically correct with no spelling errors.
- If possible, date and send your letter the same date as the one listed on the interview request. A prompt response will underscore your interest in the position.
- A company may ask you to respond to an interview request by letter so that it can take another measure of your communication skills. If this is the case, don't feel daunted. You have a plan of action; now all you have to do is execute it with flair and confidence.
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- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Writing the Basic Business Letter
- Colorado State University: Writing Guide: Business Letters
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