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Letter #2

As promised, here is my second persuasive letter:

Dear [W],

I’ve just completed an 8-month co-op placement with Punch Integrated Communications and in that time, under the tutelage of [X] and [Y], I’ve become a copywriter and editor. I’ve produced effective copy in a timely manner for all of our major clients, I’m a member of our Public Relations committee, and I happily volunteered to help this year’s CreateAthon become a huge success. Moreover, writing for Punch has given me the opportunity to expand on my pre-existing knowledge of our industry from my time as a Loss Prevention Officer for HBC.

I believe that I fit in well with the young, innovative team here at Punch. For example, after [Z] was hired, we built an immediate rapport. I worked closely with [Z] to teach her our documentation standards and make her feel welcome. After [X] left, I demonstrated the ability to complete projects independently as a copywriter, direct the work of a freelance writer, copyedit, and proofread—I feel my performance thus far indicates my commitment to Punch’s growth and success.

I’ve also enthusiastically leveraged my research expertise to create a clipping service for up-to-date news coverage on Punch and to access the Hoover Business Directory free of charge. Next year, I will be also working on a research project with Tom to produce a series of articles about Punch for various publications within our industry.

As a co-op student in your employ I’m currently earning $16 per hour. According to the National Labour Market Information Service, the average salary for editors in this region is $23.17 per hour and the average salary for writers in this region is $25.60 per hour. Both of these rates of pay are higher than what is to be expected for my experience level, however, I’m requesting a pay increase to $20 per hour as I believe that the experience I’ve gained and my potential to be an asset to the company is suggestive of an increase.

This rate of pay is appropriate for my experience level and the average salary for my position in this region. Furthermore, this pay increase will help offset medical and dental costs incurred as I will not have any health benefits during this time.

Thank you so much for the opportunities you’ve offered me thus far and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I truly desire to grow with this company. I think that we’re entering a new and exciting E-learning market sector and I’m very interested in a long term position with Punch Integrated Communications after Lindsay returns. I think that my interest in loss prevention and my skills as a researcher, writer, and editor will prove valuable to your company’s future. Thank you for considering my request and I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Allan McDougall

Which one is better, yesterday’s or today’s? Ricardo commented that yesterday’s was too long–this one is longer. LOL, sorry Ricardo. Please share your thoughts. I’ll comment back ASAP.

Comments

  1. In my opinion your other letter was vastly superior. I had great difficulty making to the end of this one and actually had to read it twice because I think my thoughts drifted off after the second paragraph during the first read. I have to agree with the commenter on the previous post, brevity is very important when you are soliciting. In this letter it was difficult for me to ascertain the intention of the letter until such a point as I was already bored. If I were busy I might have just assumed after paragraph one that this was a “thanks for having me” letter and moved on. Don’t get me wrong, your writing is superb but a solicitation email is not like a book that someone has scheduled time and is reading out of interest. Make your request, back it up, and thank them for their time. IMHO that is :).

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  2. tatteredpage says:

    I’d add that when requesting something like a raise it’s a good idea to show how they will benefit from paying you more, i.e. you’ll be able to focus more energy or time to the work because you won’t have to work for supplementary income, etc. Something that shows that all the good you’ve already given the company will continue and increase if they invest a bit more in you, too. Pointing out the average wage is good, but if they don’t know what benefit they’ll be getting from a raise they might just see that as having gotten a good bargain to begin with.

    I have to agree with Shane, it does seem to have a tone of a thank you letter. There’s an off chance that someone might misread it as suggesting that you’re ready to walk away if you don’t get the raise. It’s probably not likely, and I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s sending out that vibage, but it might have to do with how far down into the letter the raise request actually is.

    Also, depending on what kind of terms you are on with the addressee, greeting them with Hi might be a bit too casual considering the tone and intent of the rest of the letter. It would be a good idea also to offer to meet and talk about your request instead of just saying you await their response. It helps build the impression that you’re interested and assertive and willing to negotiate and keeps away any sense that you’re simply laying out a demand.

    Last, and this might just be a pet peeve of mine, but saying that you fit in is not as persuasive as showing that you fit in. You already talk about the work you’ve done with others, I’d focus more on that, point out how much you look forward to more opportunities to do so, and let the conclusion draw itself. And yes, brevity :)

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  3. Hey Al,

    I have to agree with Ricardo- short and sweet is best. People don’t want to have to work to get your point and reading a long letter can feel like work, especially if you don’t know why you’re reading it until the very end.

    My tips:

    Use lists. People like to skim but still get as much info as possible. In the second letter, for example, a list would organize your accomplishments in one area, make them easy to find and refer to, and make them stand out from the rest of your text.

    Tatteredpage already noted this, but focus less on the benefit of getting a raise, and illustrate how they will benefit from giving you a raise. Everyone can benefit from a raise, but that doesn’t make companies give them out.

    Great use of evidence to support your request. I really liked that. It was quick, to the point, and very relevant to your topic.

    Final note: Cut, cut, cut! Too many words. Less is more in almost all types of communication!

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  4. Hey guys,

    Thanks a lot for your feedback. I think we always feel the need to individually share too much information. We want to provide our readers with so much context that they’ll know EXACTLY where we’re coming from. But this is impossible. The challenge with persuasive letters is explaining your position without detracting your reader through unnecessary details, then deciding which details are the MOST necessary.

    Thanks,

    Allan

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  5. Hi Al,

    In addition to what everyone else has said, let me add a reminder to enlarge the contextual thinking about letters. Letters are used as an adjunct to personal meetings in professional situations. They document, recall, and plan personal meetings. No serious activity, which requires collaboration, is done without a meeting.

    I’d be surprised if you asked for a raise without speaking to your supervisor. Following my comment on your previous post, I’d always recommend that you offer or schedule a personal meeting as early in your persuasion as possible.

    Conceptually, your two letters book-end a meeting, even though they address different people in different situations.
    Ideally, you would use a short introductory note asking for a meeting, make your case during the meeting, and follow-up with a letter like the one you wrote in this post.

    Letters play one role in the stage play of persuasion; it’s not a one-man show.

    Best,
    Ricardo

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  6. Iagree with all comments, letters too long. I found myself just skimming thereby missing the point. A short letter is much more appropriate and easier to read.

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  7. is the persuasive letter too long???

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