Let’s discuss how to write a letter of continued interest. This is a tricky one. You’re interested in a position or business relationship, but you haven’t heard from the addressee in a reasonable amount of time; remember, everybody’s busy. You need an “I’m still interested” message that will hopefully break through the barrage of communications your addressee receives every day. But if the person has good memories of your interaction, then you have a leg up, so go ahead and write.
- Pick your salutation carefully to reflect your relationship with the reader. Avoid the stiff, legal-sounding To whom it may concern, Dear Sir/Madam, and Gentlemen.
The default is Dear+TITLE+NAME. Alternates include Dear + NAME, e.g., Dear Henry Adams, and Dear +TITLE, e.g., Dear Human Resources Manager.
If conditions warrant, you can go with a first name only: Dear James, (with a comma; I use the comma all the time – it makes the salutation a little less formal). Hint: look at how the person has addressed you.
Hello has recently appeared and spread as an informal, jovial salutation: Hello James, (no comma after Hello in this usage).
Even more informal is Hi or Hi +NAME,
A name-alone salutation is reserved for brief, familiar communications. You’ll have to assess the degree of familiarity between yourself and the addressee.
What if the recipient is a group or department?
First, make sure you get the name exactly right. Use the organization’s nomenclature. Don’t call it a “department” if they consider it as a “division,” “group,” or some other collective name.
You can use the group name — start with Dear English Department – but I find this a bit awkward. I recommend starting with To….
Here’s the salutation I like when you have to deal with collective recipients: To the (members of the) English Department, (with a comma, to connote informality; also members makes it personal).
Reason for Writing (Job or Business Partnership)
- The letter should contain a reason for being composed and sent. If the personal or previous email interaction was “good” or higher, then the reminder is OK by itself.
But it’s better if you can provide a “news hook” – something you did that was right in line with the job requirements or the anticipated business relationship (I just wanted to let you know that…). And then, the purpose is subtly subordinated: Of course, I am still interested in…
If the subject is not a job or position you want but a business relationship – partnership in a start-up, mutual investment venture – then the dynamics are different, and you’re OK with a reminder, assuming you know that the other person wants to move ahead as well. I don’t think they’ll mind, since business is a matter of time and urgency, and tasks have to get done. If the other person is at all interested, then definitely try to keep things on track.
Again, a bit of news, personal or business, relevant to the relationship-to-be – stock price gain, merger/acquisition, new technology – should be shared. The message is: “Things are changing. We’d better get moving.”
Another scenario involves you and the addressee as project collaborators. In this case, the “news hook” is the progress you’re making (I’ve just finished a new version of…)
A small but important piece of communication, the letter of continued interest can show your ambition (modestly) and get you closer to what you want.
Now that you know how to write a letter of continued interest, have a look at these related articles: