How to Make a Good First Impression in Writing

You’ve already heard about the importance of making a good first impression. In business and during job hunts, first impressions are often made in writing. To create a great first impression this way is to keep your correspondence short.

Hiring managers, employers, and clients don’t have time to read long e-mails, presentations, or letters. We’re talking brevity here. Conciseness helps you to make a good impression when responding to job opportunities, following-up after job interviews, ales presentations, or during initial contacts with prospective clients.

To keep writing brief, spell out your idea on one page. Start that page by stating the purpose of your communication quickly and simply. David Belasco—the American theatrical producer—said, “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.” By the same token, if you’re not able to state the purpose of your written communication clearly on the back of your calling card, spend more time thinking it through before sitting down to write. This old adage about writing is true: don’t sit down to write until you have something to write.

Brevity is one of the best writing tips I can pass along. Here are four more quick writing tips:

First, ask yourself the reason why you’re writing a letter, e-mail, or proposal in the first place. With an audience in mind, words will flow much easier and your communication will be much clearer.

Second, make sure you’re sending the e-mail or letter to the right party. That’s the person who is in a position to take action on your idea. Otherwise that idea could wind up in the basket and your e-mail in the ether.

Third, make your point in the first couple of sentences. As I mentioned above, your communication needs to begin with a brief explanation of the reason why you’re writing.

Finally, when you write a final draft, make sure you sprinkle the word “you” or “your” throughout the communication. This lets you write in the active voice, always the key in writing e-mails and letters. That’s because those words are stronger and more direct. Notice, I’ve used the words “you’ or “your” over 22 times so far.

E-mails need to be written with the same preparation and care as letters. Principles of good writing apply to all writing media.

You find over 30 more writing tips—especially “what you should know about writing convincing resumes, cover letters, memos, and e-mails”—in chapter 23 of my book, Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.

Your might also be interested in “How to Start a Resume.”

Copyright ©2015 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.