In a globally competitive marketplace, it is increasingly important that job hunting teens develop good career and job search habits early. Teens seeking work or volunteer experiences to learn new skills or just earn extra cash should learn to write three very important letters as part of an effective job search strategy. These three critical letters are the Cover Letter, the Thank You Letter and the Reject-A-Job-Offer Letter.
In addition to the specifics of these three letters, here are some general tips that should apply to all written job search communications from teens:- Be brief and make the point clearly- Avoid spelling and grammatical errors- Use appropriate salutations- Include writer's name and address- If using email, watch the use of slang terminology or text message abbreviations- Get help proofreading resumes, letters and job applications
A cover letter, otherwise called a “letter of application" should accompany a resume. The simple goal of the cover letter for a teenager is to highlight specific skills and to show interest in the job. Avoid long paragraphs but write complete sentences. Since not all companies will require cover letters, the general rule of thumb for teenagers seeking a job, is to use a cover letter, unless the job posting specifically says not to do so.
Teenagers should always send a Thank-You letter to a hiring manager, after the job interview. Slippery Rock University career center states that only 33% of interview candidates will follow through and send a Thank-You letter. An employer poll by Monster.com says that 65% of employers expect a Thank-You note. 36% percent of those surveyed say they prefer Thank-You notes sent by email compared to 29% who prefer the Thank-You letter by traditional mail. Use this letter to thank the employer for the interview, to remind them about interest in the job and emphasize relevant skills. Since so few people and definitely fewer teenagers send Thank-You Letters, it will definitely demonstrate professional maturity.
Teenagers sometimes apply for several jobs before getting hired. If they receive a job offer from an employer and decide, for whatever reason, not to take that job, it is important that they send a Reject-a-Job-Offer-Letter. This letter is also very simple, but will go a long way to demonstrate professionalism. Sometimes if the chosen job does not pan out, the employer who received a Reject-a-Job-Offer, might be willing to speak with the teenager again. This letter should express appreciation for being considered and state clearly that the job seeker is declining the job offer. Also include a willingness to be contacted for future opportunities.
Marcia Robinson writes and trains on career, workplace and employment related issues. She is a Principal at The RayeMartin Group, a HR consulting firm in Philadelphia, that owns BullsEyeResumes, publishes the Norristown-At-Work monthly and maintains career advice blogs. Robinson has a BS in Human Resources Management and a Masters in Business Administration.
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