When you want to write your first letter of recommendation, you’re probably not going to be the first person to tell you that you’re wrong about the job.
But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck, right?
In fact, there are a few steps you can take to write an original letter that actually works.
You’ll find a few ways to improve your chances, including writing a letter with a single subject line and using the same words and phrases.
Here are the 10 tips that’ll make your letter writing process a breeze.
Choose a Subject Line That’s Unique The first thing you need to do is pick a subject line that’s unique to your letter.
“Thank you for your interest in my column, Dear Haters,” for example, isn’t going to work.
But “How do I make my writing more personal?” or “I love your column and hope that you enjoy it.”
Instead of saying “Hello,” write something more personal, like “How are you doing?,” “My name is Jill,” or “Dear Jill, how are you?”
The topic line gives your letter a more personal tone.
Plus, it gives you a way to get the word out to the people who will read it.
You might even want to try using a more descriptive subject line to differentiate yourself from other letter writers.
“Dear John, I am a writer at New York magazine,” or, “Dear Jane, I wrote a column for you last month,” are some good starting points.
If you’re a frequent letter writer and want to make sure you’re using a topic line that appeals to the general public, then you can ask a friend or colleague to read your letter for you.
“I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to write for your column, How do I help my readers make informed decisions about what they read?” will do just that.
You can also ask a letter writer for advice.
Write a letter about your work that sounds like it came from your home town.
“If you’d like some tips on how to write letters that get read by thousands of people a year, I’d love to know what you’ve been up to,” says Jill St. John, a writer and editor at The New Yorker.
Don’t Write About Yourself In a recent column for The New York Times, Jill St John said that a writer should always avoid writing about herself.
“When I first began writing, I knew I would never be successful, but I was so focused on my job that I didn’t really think about my own self-worth,” she writes.
“It’s hard to think about the people I am or what I do with my life, even when we’re in the same room.
And if you’re writing for the masses, you should really just stop and think about what you’re doing and why it matters to them.”
In her column, St. Johnston points out that when writing a piece, it’s not enough to say “I’m writing this letter to myself.”
You also have to make it clear to the reader what’s going on in your life.
She recommends writing, “I spent my twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties as a writer for the New York Sun, and I still work for the paper,” or something like that.
Don’s Letter Writing Tips to Write a Letter of Recommendation First of all, don’t waste time on the phone with potential letter writers, says Jill.
You should focus on sending your letter right away.
“We know that the best way to make an impact on the world is to write and publish letters that reach millions of people,” she says.
She also suggests doing a Google search for the subject line, subject line name, title and a link to the article you’re pitching.
“What you’ll find is that many letters are a bit cryptic or lack depth.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” St. Johns says.
Keep Your Letters Short and Powerful Write short, clear and concise letters that don’t overwhelm your readers.
For example, write something like “Dear Mr. and Mrs. John and Ms. Kate, How are you feeling?,” rather than, “Mr. and Ms., I love your columns and hope you enjoy them.”
“Do you have any questions about this column?
If so, I’ll be happy to answer them,” she adds.
“The more you think about it, the more compelling the letter becomes.
You may be surprised at how much you can achieve if you make the effort to write it.”
Don, Don’t Donate Money If you’ve written a letter of recommendations, it might be tempting to donate a portion of the letter to charity.
“Donate money to charity because it can help us grow,” St John says.
But you might be surprised by how much money people actually donate to charity, especially if you don’t follow any