5 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Writing a Letter of Employment

Running a business can be difficult.

There’s number of variables involved and keeping track of all of them can prove to be a herculean task.

But, sometimes, it’s the smaller objectives that prove the most difficult.

At some point, you’ll probably be asked to write a Letter of Employment for one of your employees. This kind of letter is typically for employees who are looking for employment. Where else and need proof of their history of at a specific business.


But how do you go about this? After all, the future of your employee could rest on this letter and every task has its pitfalls.

To avoid them. Here is a list of the mistakes that you absolutely must avoid while writing a Letter of Employment.

Presentation is Your First Impression

Sample letter


The first thing you need to focus on when writing your letter is to make sure it looks professional. This begins with the letterhead. Your logo should be situated on the top left or right of the page. This allows whoever is reading the letter to immediately associate it with a representative of a specific company. The reader won’t have to search for your company’s name.

Your address and contact information should also be located at the top, opposite of wherever you put the logo. This allows the reader to easily locate your phone number, address or email, so they can respond if necessary.

As Grammarly’s Shundalyn Allen encourages. The date should be located two lines below your address. To accentuate your letterhead and make even more easy to see for your reader. It helps to make the letterhead a different color than the body text. Alternatively, this also accentuates the body text, and makes it easier to read, as well.

Your body text should be written without indentation in modestly sized paragraph, averaging about four line apiece. At the bottom of the letter, following your body text, is where your signature should go. Followed by your printed name, your position and your company.

writing a letter

As every other part of the letter, this area should also be a different color. But, make sure all of the colors are contrasting. Otherwise, it defeats he purpose. If everything is a slightly different shade of blue. It could have the opposite effect and make the letter more difficult to read.

As with the actual content of the letter, the presentation should reflect the desires of the employee. As example, an employee seeking a job in finance might be better suited to a letter with a muted.

On the other hand, if they’re seeking out a job in the field of video game designing. There might be more room to get creative with the presentation. Not only will this aesthetically help the letter, it might even relate to reader an understanding of their field. This understanding could very well reflect positively on the employee.

On the other hand, you don’t want to make the letter too fancy or elaborate. At the end of the day, any letter should be about its content. The presentation should ease the reader into your content, it shouldn’t be the content. You could also risk distracting the reader from the actual letter or creating a bad first impression. Which will taint the material of the letter, no matter how good.


Consider Who You're Writing For


Not all letters of employment are created equal. Depending on the purpose of the letter, your tone of voice might change. There are no strict rules for your tone this isn’t SAT, but it’s best to consider your audience.

For instance, if your employee needs the letter for a potential job at a law firm. Your tone might need to be more professional and measured. Joking that he or she was a good employee, but occasionally stole from office fridge, not go over well. You might want to stick to the objective specifics of the employee’s history at your business.

writing the word dear on paper


On the other hand, if your employee is seeking a place in the entertainment profession. You might want to adopt a lighter tone. This could include some tasteful jokes or even some fun stories that occurred during employee’s time at your business.

Taking too stilted and strict of a tone of voice. However, might turn off future employers who are looking for personality in future hires. As opposed to accomplishments or cold, hard facts.

Aside from catering to the recipient of your letter. It would also be helpful to keep the subject of the letter in mind. Think about the employee whose employment history you’re detailing. Consider his or her personality and attempt to reflect that in letter to the best of your abilities.

This will allow future employers to get a better sense of the person they’re going to hire. As well as the verification of the person’s employment history. Don’t reach too far out of your comfort zone. However, or the inauthenticity might inadvertently reflect on your employee.

Whether you go with a professional tone or a lighthearted tone, you should always remain respectful. This point is backed up by Howstuffworks.com, which preaches diplomacy in writing professional letters.


Grammar Goes a Long Way


This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often people make obvious mistakes. Even when writing something significant. Forbes’ Kern Lewis spotlights Hyundai’s grammatically incorrect slogan, “Live Brilliant,” as a perfect example. It’s especially important to focus on good grammar when you’re writing a letter of employment. Because your mistakes could reflect badly on your employee.

It’s not enough to rely on spell check either. For there are certain mistakes that spell check won’t pick up, particularly with typos. Even thought typos aren’t a result of bad writing. They do exhibit a lack of attention and the disregard of rereading. You don’t want to settle for your first draft. Even the greatest writers of all time relied on friends and editors. Help them clean up their mistakes before sending their work out to the public.

editing a grammatical error


Some of the most common mistakes that spell check won’t catch include using the wrong word. Such as using “there” or “they’re” instead of “their.” Remembering which to use is actually quite easy. “There” is in reference to a location. “They’re” is a conjunction of “they” and “are,” and “their” is in reference to someone’s possession of something. Another common mistake that most people let slide by is the use of “who” instead of “whom.” Remember, if the answer to the question is “he” or “she,” then you use “who.” But if the answer is “him” or “her,” then you use “whom.” Easy, right?

Locking down your grammar can really impress the reader of your letter. Which can leak onto the reputation of your employee.


Understand What Your Employee's Needs

employee thinking while writing a letter


Before starting the letter, it might be helpful to speak with the employee who’s asking to write it. You want to complete understanding of employee goals and they might have specific needs for the letter’s content. For instance, if they’re applying for a job that is heavy on deadlines. The employee might like you too specifically focus on the his or her proficiency in hitting deadlines.

If your employee simply needs to letter to rent a property that needs verification of employment. Going into the details of the employee’s performance might not be necessary. In this case, you might want to stick with the bare essentials. There’s no need to do more work than is necessary.

This conversation with your employee is where you’ll get the majority of your information. Regarding who the recipient of the letter will be. This will impact the actual content of the letter. You might need to alter your tone of voice, depending on area of work your employee is seeking out.


Don't Forger the Letter's Purpose


In focusing on making every facet of the letter of employment absolutely perfect. You might forget about the actual purpose of the letter. Which is to verify someone’s employment status, past or present. After you introduce yourself to the reader. Explaining your status on the company and your relationship to the subject of the letter. You’ll want to get into the specifics.

First of all, the specifics should include the timeline of your employee’s history. This includes when they started at the company and the breadth of their working history. As well as if they’re still at the company or have moved on.

woman with question marks


You’ll also want to mention the employee’s title at the company and how long they held it. Even titles if the employee rose the ranks. How fast they were promoted could be pertinent information for their chances at landed a new job. While this can be important, a verification letter is not necessarily a reference letter. So going into great detail concerning the employee’s performance might not be required.

Depending on the employee’s wishes, they might want you to bring up their annual salary. It could prove important to the specific job they’re looking for. You’ll also want to delve into the employee’s duties at their job. These could also pertain to the employee’s future work. In fact, their duties, more than anything else. Will properly verify their time at your company.



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