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Learning English
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  Written communications
Doing it
Application forms
Even in a supposedly electronic world, we still can't seem to exist without paper.

Before you get the opportunity to be interviewed, the chances are there'll be some sort of paperwork to be done.

To make sure all of your written communications make a positive impression.

    Doing it  


So, how do you make a good impression on paper?

Mainly by using an important advantage of writing - it's slow. Which means you have the time to get it right before you send it.

^^Back up


Application Forms

Blue line Blue line

Application forms are mostly there to gather facts, and don't give you much chance to say things in your own way. But from your point of view their main purpose is to get you an interview. Remember that someone going through the form will still make judgements about you if, for example, it's untidy or difficult to read.

TIP (If you have to complete a form by hand, you make life easier for a reader if you use capital letters, especially when you have small handwriting.)

Sometimes, however, there's a space on the form for you to write freely -asking you "Why did you apply for this job?", perhaps, or "What were your favourite subjects at school?". This is where you have the opportunity to write something that's targeted at this particular set of readers, so don't miss out.

If the choice is left to you, always list things on the form (eg exams passed, work experience obtained) with the most recent one first. The past is not as important to a potential employer as the present.


The application form may need to be accompanied by a letter. Or even before that, you might have to write to ask for an application form.

Sometimes, too, you could be asked to write a letter simply for an employer to see how well you communicate on paper.

As far as language is concerned, there's no need to use the old-fashioned phrases that used to be part of business writing. But a business letter is still formal writing. So there's no place for the slang of speech or the chattiness we use with our friends.

There should be a logical structure - going from why you're writing through to the main content and ending by looking towards what happens next - such as "I look forward to hearing if you would like me to come for an interview."

^^Back up


There are several stages in the selection process where you might be able to use email, from asking for an application form to confirming an appointment. And even in business, this has become a much less formal way of communicating than by letter.

But there are exceptions, and one is when the person writing hasn't met the person at the other end. That's likely to be the case for you - which means that the more formal conventions of a letter - for example - "Dear Mr Smith", are safer than the jargon and short-cuts we might use with friends - such as 'CU' for 'See you', and '4' instead of 'for').


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