Recently Brunel hosted a legal employers event, during which there was a short discussion session. An interesting point was raised by one of the participating solicitors about the fact that all too often he rejects applications for work experience and training contracts on the basis that simple conventions in letter writing and emailing are not being followed.
So, with that in mind, here are some top tips for making a professional approach in writing to a potential employer.
1 – When writing letters, if you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, start with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. The closing to a letter that starts like this should always be, ‘Yours faithfully’
2 – If you do know the name of the person, start with ‘Dear Mr Harris’. Such a letter would close, ‘Yours sincerely’.
3 – If you don’t know the marital status of a woman whose name you know then use ‘Ms’ i.e. ‘Dear Ms Jones’.
4 – Avoid using any variations on the above 3 points, such as ‘Dear M’am’, ‘To Whom It May Concern’, ‘Dear Mr John Harris’ etc
5 – Emails should use grammatically correct English; avoid using ‘text speak’, always use captial letters where they should be (watch out in particular for lowercase ‘i’).
6 – Emails can be signed off using ‘Best regards’ rather than the more formal ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Yours faithfully’
Would be lawyers – pay attention to DETAIL!