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An appointment letter (or job offer letter) is usually the culmination of lots of discussion, negotiation and review, so it’s especially important that you keep the momentum moving forward with a positive and pointed version of this document.
By reviewing the appointment letter samples below, you’ll see examples of the kind of tone and specifics that should be included. While there will be some variation depending on the type of offer you’re making, in all cases, you should be welcoming and detailed.
Read on for a few more tips to writing a strong appointment letter.
How to Write an Appointment Letter
Whether you’re congratulating someone on their promotion or making a job offer, the appointment letter should signify the start of something good, set expectations and clearly lay out agreed upon terms.
Open with a congratulations and end with a warm welcome, but make sure the body of the letter contains the meat of the offer.
Avoid topics usually associated with an employment contract. Don’t mention the duration of the job, conditions of employment, grounds for termination or resignation, detailed compensation and benefits offerings (it’s okay to cover the basics), or intellectual property components.
Include a statement that employment is “at will.” Check with your legal department for state law, but most states recognize at-will employment as the employer’s right to fire an employee without cause.
Provide essential start information. Job title, start date, start time, rate of pay, overarching benefits and reporting relationships.
Reiterate any contingencies already discussed in the interview process. If your company requires drug testing for new employees, background checks, or even credit checks prior to employment, make sure those issues are stated clearly.
Send two copies. You need the potential employee’s signature indicating agreement before the offer is finalized. One copy should be signed, dated and returned, and the other copy retained by the employee.
Take advantage of your legal department. Once you’ve added your own finesse to the document and included all the nuts and bolts, let your legal team look over it to make sure you’ve ticked all the necessary boxes.
As you review the appointment letter samples provided, you’ll get a flavor for the variety in tone, level of formality and amount of detail.
How to Format an Appointment Letter
The date of your appointment letter is important, especially if you’re requesting a response in due time.
As far as the salutation goes, if you know the individual well enough to offer them a job, you can call them by their first name, with the possible exception of a military setting where rank is preferred.
While you don’t want your appointment letter to be more than one page, you do have some pretty important information to impart, so be concise, accurate and logical in your presentation. One paragraph, two paragraphs, one paragraph followed by a list of bullet points Ð the exact format depends on what you have to say.
When you close, make sure the individual knows exactly what’s expected of them and when.
Various format choices are presented in the appointment letter samples. Choose the style that suits your situation and the amount of information you need to include.
Common Appointment Letter Mistakes
- Not providing contact information: It’s entirely possible you forgot some important detail, like which door they should come in or where they should park. Even if it’s not your direct number, providing a point of contact gets everyone off to a good start.
- Not asking for a signed copy: Having a signed agreement on file is good business for everyone involved.
- Not identifying reporting relationship: You may be making the offer on behalf of the company or department, but that doesn’t mean the new employee will be reporting to you. Either way, make it clear.
You’ve Written Your Appointment Letter. Now What?
You already made a job offer either in person or on the phone, so the appointment letter is just a formality, right? True, but it’s an important one. Take another look at the appointment letter samples to see the various ways employers carefully compose job offers.
Be specific about the required return date of the signed letter. The application letter is both a genuine welcome and a formal acknowledgment of terms.
Convey genuine excitement. As Humphrey Bogart might say, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”