Written Correspondence


  • Your professional resume is a representation of you – a summary of your education, skills and experiences for your targeted audience.
  • A resume is a living document – it should change with you and your goals.
  • Generally, not longer than one page, until you have several years of professional experience.
Getting Started:

The Resume Guide (view as PDF) is a great place to start. Identify a sample resume that you like, and start drafting your own information into a Word document (avoid resume templates as they can be difficult to edit).


Cover letters and exploratory emails are the two primary types of correspondence you will use when applying for jobs and internships. While a cover letter is expected when applying for a specific position, an exploratory email is used when you are reaching out to an organization to inquire about potential opportunities, especially for informal career-related experiences.

Exploratory Emails:

  • Use an exploratory email when seeking internship, volunteer, or shadowing opportunities that are not listed.
  • The major difference between exploratory and networking emails is your request at the end of the email. A networking email is a request for a conversation, while an exploratory email is a CRE inquiry.
  • An excellent exploratory email:
  • Articulates skills, interests, and experiences
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the organization
  • Inquires about the possibility of a career-related experience

Cover Letters:

  • An excellent cover letter is personalized and targeted to the employer and the job. Never try to use a template, it will be obvious.
  • Be sure that you are targeting your letter to the specific job, not just the company.
  • Use business format (includes dates, address, and is formal in tone) even in an email.
  • Establish “fit” in the 1st paragraph of the letter: What makes you a good fit for this company?
  • Relay how your skills and experiences will benefit the employer.
  • Ask for an interview at the close of the letter.

Email Networking

The purpose of a networking outreach email is to request an informational interview, either from someone who is already in your network or from a new contact. You are more likely to get a positive response if you follow the guidelines below.

  • Have a subject line that will catch the person’s attention (for example – says “Hamilton” for alums, says name of person who referred you, etc.)
  • Introduce yourself with relevant details that help the reader understand what stage of career planning/searching you are in.
  • Explain why you have chosen him/her to reach out to and state your goal for the meeting.
  • Specifically ask for a meeting and be clear about how you wish to meet (in person, by phone or Skype) and provide your general availability.
  • Keep it short (one paragraph).
  • Be professional (no “love language”, no typos, use appropriate salutation: Dear Mr., Mrs. Dr. etc.)

For a detailed overview of the process of setting up informational interviews, refer to Steps and Tips for Informational Interviewing.

Follow up

  • A sincere and well-written thank-you note (or email) sent within 24 hours of your interview can set you apart from your competition.
  • Thank you notes are generally brief, and should thank the interviewer for their time, refer to something specific about the interview, and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Send an email, a hand-written thank you note, or both. If you have been corresponding with the employer via email, then email is an acceptable way to send a thank you. Hand-written notes may capture attention, but be sure to send it right away.

Contact Information

Career Center

Third floor of Bristol Center
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323 
315-859-4346 ccadmin@hamilton.edu
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