You're thrilled to receive an invitation to interview for the fellowship that will be both a financial and professional boost to your career. Before you do anything else -- or at least right after you've hooted and cheered your way around your living room -- respond with a concise, professional letter or email thanking the sender for the opportunity and accepting the proffered interview.
Business Letter Basics
Write your interview acceptance using standard business letter format, whether you respond via hard copy or electronically. For a hard copy letter, use good-quality white or cream paper and a matching envelope and print the letter on a business-quality printer. Create your own letterhead by centering your name, mailing address, city and state and phone number or email address on consecutive single-spaced lines at the top of your letter. Next, space down two lines and put the date an inch to the right of the center of the page. You can skip this "create your own letterhead" step if you're responding via email.
Opening Your Letter
Space down four lines from the date and put the name, title and full address of your intended recipient flush with the left margin: Mr. Robert Smith Vice President for Marketing ABC Company 123 First Street City, State 12345 Space down two more lines and add the appropriate salutation flush left at the margin: "Dear Mr. Smith," or "Dear Ms. Jones." If you know a woman is married and goes by "Mrs.," use that instead of "Ms." When responding electronically, use the "reply to" function of your email program and begin your letter with the salutation.
The Body of Your Letter
Keep your response short and to the point. The fact that committee members have invited you for an interview indicates that you've already impressed them and they're considering you as a viable candidate for the fellowship, so you don't need to rehash all your qualifications or gush about how much you want this particular fellowship. Instead, incorporate two key thoughts into your first paragraph: First, thank the recipient for the opportunity to interview for the fellowship. Second, state that you're happy to accept the interview and will attend at the scheduled time and place. If, for some reason, you can't attend at the proposed time, ask if you can reschedule.
Finish Your Letter
Feel free to add a second short paragraph reiterating your pleasure at the prospect of the interview and your sincere interest in the fellowship, including a simple statement about how it will enhance your educational or career growth. Don't say "and the money will really help, too" -- that's understood and already explained on your initial fellowship application. Demonstrate your professionalism and ensure you'll show up prepared for the interview by asking if you need to bring any materials or records with you on the day of the interview.
Close your hard copy letter or email with a traditional business closing, such as "Yours Truly," or "Sincerely Yours," two lines below the final paragraph and lined up below the date line at the top of the page. Then space down four more single lines and type your full name: Mary Smith or Mary E. Smith. Review your letter carefully for typos or grammatical errors, then print a copy. Sign your signature in black or dark blue pen in the space between the closing and your printed name. For your email signature, type #signed# in the space between the closing and your name.
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