How To Write a Complaint Letter

Mike Hinson

English 275


When a person takes the time to write a complaint letter, then that person ultimately wants more than just expressing their feelings, they more than likely want something in return. With that being said, it is important to send a professional, emotion free letter in hopes that your point gets across in its entirety.

First and foremost, always remember to keep your letter short and to the point, again, you want to make sure your letter is read in its entirety not just bits and pieces.  Next, make sure your letter is getting to the right person. Always address complaint letters to the customer service department or consumer affairs, if these departments are not an option then look into sending it to the headquarters office.  Lastly, a hard copy should be sent in a business letter format a long with the same letter sent in an e-mail.

When working on the first paragraph of a complaint letter, don’t waste your time, identify the issue at hand and any relevant information that you deem necessary. Make sure to include the date/time of the incident, location, state what the problem was, the price, and warranty information. If some of this information does not apply, leave it out. When writing the first paragraph it is easy for the writer to get upset and put their anger in it, however, it is important to stick to your facts and leave your emotions out of it.

The second paragraph simply needs to state what you would like done to resolve the issue. For example, a product malfunctions so you request an exchange of the product for a new one.

Lastly, as bad as you may not want to write it, thank the reader for their time. You may also include a compliment of what you do like about their company’s product or services.

Now that you have basic steps to a complaint letter don’t forget to include up to date contact information and always keep a copy of what you sent.


Job interviewing Tips

How to Ace Your Job Interview: 88 Surefire Tips and Tricks


So, you’re a recent graduate? Looking for work? You and thousands of others. What can you offer that they can’t? Well, hopefully you know that or will learn as you search. Your job search is a project in itself, with various stages. Here are some tips to get you to your goal of a great first job.

Skill Building

Robert Fulghum might have learned everything he needed to know in kindergarten, but you probably didn’t. In fact, even college probably didn’t teach you everything. Keep building your skills.

  1. Practice your writing skills. In today’s Internet-oriented world, good communication skills are crucial. Technical writing and documentation seems to be a weak point for many new grads.
  2. Stay updated. Read and subscribe to relevant weblogs, magazines, and newspapers. Use web feed subscription tools like Bloglines or Newsgator Online Edition.
  3. Take refresher courses. You may not get a job in your first interview round. Consider some refresher courses before you rewrite your resume.
  4. Start a blog. Demonstrate your knowledge of a topic related to a field you’d like to be employed in by writing a blog and mentioning it in your resume.
  5. Do some volunteer work. Find something you like doing and volunteer. It shows depth of character on your resume.
  6. Learn networking skills. Finding the ideal job usually means knowing the right person at the right time.

Tools and Miscellaneous

There are some tools that you might need for your job search, and other expenditures.

  1. Computer. Whether you buy or borrow, you’ll need a computer for typing your resume, cover letter, and references page.
  2. Internet access. Your job search will likely take you online. As an alumnus, you probably have access at your college (or local library).
  3. Briefcase or portfolio. Perfect for protecting your materials against the elements when attending job fairs or going to interviews.
  4. Cell phone. If you’re pounding the pavement looking for work, you’ll want to make it easy to be reached for additional interviews or changed schedules.


The average headhunter will tell you that their clients usually spend thirty seconds on most resumes, while culling the stack. Make yours stand out, and defensible.

  1. Don’t lie on your resume. It’s not a novel. Mention skills you’re capable of. Say “learning such and such” for everything else.
  2. Be relevant. Don’t list your parents’ names and birthdays or your dog’s breed.
  3. Customize your resume. You may qualify to work in various industries. Tailor your resume accordingly for each.
  4. Follow standard format. There are a variety of resume formats and you can probably follow any of them. New grads should emphasize education and grades first.
  5. Make it easy to read. Even while following standard format, there are a number of ways you can make your resume easy to read including using bullet points or tables.
  6. Be brief. One page for a a recent college graduate is sufficient.
  7. Use the right terminology. Do use industry terms but don’t be too academic with lingo.
  8. Promote yourself. Your resume has to sell you. Write it using action words but without bragging. Be factual, with concrete details.
  9. Have references ready. Have two or three references printed on a separate sheet of paper and only provide them when asked for. Professors that know you well might be ideal candidates.
  10. Indicate your interests. Depth of character is something interviewers look for.
  11. Stick to the file format. If a company asks for your resume in a specific format and/or provided by a particular method of delivery, then comply.
  12. Use a cover letter. These are specific to the job and company that you are applying to, so use a different one for each application. They should summarize in a few paragraphs your objective, strengths, and relevant interests.
  13. Proofread. Don’t waste your entire effort by sending out resumes and cover letters only to find that it appears a monkey wrote them. Use a spell checker and grammar checker.
  14. Print quality. Use quality white or light tan paper for printed resumes and cover letters. Don’t use gimmicks like colored or scented paper. Stapling is not recommended, but at least keep your cover letter separate.

Finding a Job and Interview Preparation

Before you can get an interview, you obviously have to find a job to apply for.

  1. Ask friends and family. This is not nepotism. You are merely asking around about opportunities where they work.
  2. Ask in social settings. Someone in your church or other social organization may have leads.
  3. Ask on campus. Your professors or the university might have work available.
  4. Check with former classmates. Some companies pay employees referral fees for finding new candidates, so a former classmate might have leads.
  5. Try networking. Career networking websites such as LinkedIn or JibberJobber can go a long way toward helping you find a job.
  6. Use a job search engine. Job search engines like Jobster, Dice, Indeed, and Simplyhired can narrow down your search. Some let you post your profile and resume.
  7. Attend career fairs. Career fairs are sometimes ideal for finding a job. Dress as you would for a one-on-one interview, and you might find yourself in one. Take a clipboard, copies of your resume, and a general cover letter.
  8. Check newspapers. Some jobs just might not be advertised online.
  9. Be selective. Don’t apply to jobs that you know you won’t like or are not qualified for.
  10. Practice being interviewed. Have a friend help you out, setup a video camera, then review your answers and body language. If possible, have two friends interview you “firing-line” style.
  11. Beef up your skills. Missing a skill? Can you learn it fast? Say on your resume that you are learning it, then do so before an interview.
  12. Know your strengths. You’ll likely be asked, in an interview, what you think your strengths are, and possibly your weaknesses and what you’re doing about them. Make a list of both.
  13. Research potential employers. Visit their Web sites and search for recent articles about them. Try Topix, which lets you search for news from a certain date backwards.
  14. Prepare a list of questions. Not all job descriptions are clear. Be ready to ask for clarification in an interview.
  15. Don’t overreach. It’s good to be positive, but as a new grad, you have to be realistic about what work you are qualified for.
  16. Be patient. Work might be hard to come by in some industries. Keep trying. If you are willing to wait, then stay on top of industry news.
  17. Look elsewhere. New grads can simultaneously combine their adventuresome spirit and the need for a job by working abroad.

Offbeat and Appearance

General tips about preparing when you’ve already secured an interview.

  1. Practice. Practice in front of the mirror the night before. Check your facial expressions.
  2. Have your clothes ready. (Reduce your stress.) This includes ironing clothes and buffing shoes.
  3. Dress professionally. Part of being professional is dressing professionally. For men, a tie isn’t always necessary later in life. But wear at least a suit jacket and slacks. Women should dress appropriately. Phone in and ask if necessary. Err on the side of conservative.
  4. Makeover. Don’t spend a fortune, but have clothes you can wear to an interview and the job afterwards. Maybe you need new shoes and a haircut or styling.
  5. Use your judgement. Facial jewelry, colored/ spiky hair, and tattoos are relatively new fashion “accessories” and companies differ in their acceptance. Most look past it nowadays. Being yourself is best. Call reception and ask for suggestions, if you’re concerned.
  6. Groom yourself. Brush your teeth and shower. Men, eliminate stubble.
  7. Get enough sleep. Don’t go in with bloodshot eyes.


On the day of your interview, prep yourself.

  1. Be prepared. Know where you’re supposed to go. Check their Web site, and call in if you have to.
  2. Know why. You’ll likely be asked why you want to work there: it’s small, it’s big, cool research, cool job, highly recommended, whatever.
  3. Arrive early. But not too early. Five to 10 minutes early is okay. If you’re earlier, wait somewhere else first.
  4. Be friendly. Greet the receptionist and anyone that talks to you before the interview. Thank them for any assistance.
  5. Don’t smoke. At least not on the premises. You don’t want to smell of smoke.
  6. Use the restroom beforehand. Better safe than having to go during the interview. Comb your hair, ditch your chewing gum, etc.
  7. Learn your interviewer’s name. If he/she has an unusual name, ask the receptionist for the proper pronunciation. Dale Carnegie, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote of a new American who cried when someone asked him how to pronounce his name, instead of simply pronouncing it incorrectly.
  8. Turn off your cell phone. And take out any Bluetooth earpiece you might be wearing.

The Interview

A lot of what gains you points in an interview is your behavior. They already have your resume. They want to know about you.

Interview Opener

  1. Wait for the handshake. The rules of a handshake have changed as more women have entered the workforce. Normally, two men should shake firmly. Beyond that, you’ll have to use your judgement. Don’t crush a person’s hand. Practice with male and female friends.
  2. Keep standing. Don’t sit until you are directed to. There may be other people participating in the interview and it’s best to show that you are “open to direction.”
  3. Make a good first impression and maintain it. Mirroring is a powerful technique if used subtly, no matter the interviewer’s mood.

Interview Dos

  1. Maintain eye contact. Look the interviewer in the eye without staring. Not doing so is often perceived as shiftiness not shyness.
  2. Be succinct. Don’t be a Chatty Cathy; don’t tell your life story. Give a bit of detail instead of just “yes” and “no”.
  3. Nod your head. But don’t over do it. It shows you are attentive and amenable to being managed. Women are more likely to nod than men, so men should practice more.
  4. Ask for clarification. You may be attentive, but if you don’t understand something, politely ask for clarification.
  5. Ask questions. Ask about the culture at the company and any general questions that an interviewer has not mentioned yet.
  6. Be flexible. Even dream jobs have uninteresting tasks that must get done. Don’t wrinkle your nose at a list of tasks. And say you’re willing to learn if you don’t know how to do something.
  7. Ask about your role. You could be interviewed for multiple positions, despite what the job description you applied to indicated. Ask what positions you’re being considered for.
  8. Ask about your team. Ask how many people you’d be working with and what they do. Ask if there’s anyone internally that is applying for the job.
  9. Ask about the last person. Ask why the last person left the position, or if it’s a new one. If the interviewer hesitates, back off. If they answer anyway, they’ll probably respect you for asking.
  10. Ask about future opportunities. Is there room for growth? Asking shows that you’re career-minded, and that you might stay long-term.

Interview Don’ts

  1. Don’t ask about salary benefits first. Let the interviewer bring it up. Typically, this is discussed towards the end, and usually if they’re interested in you.
  2. Don’t fidget. It’s often perceived as a sign of untrustworthiness.
  3. Don’t mumble. Speak clearly and enunciate your words. This should be part of your pre-interview practice with friends.
  4. Don’t be intimidated. Be confident without being arrogant.
  5. Don’t lie in the interview. A skilled interviewer can “read” an applicant.
  6. Don’t show off or overact. Just be yourself, but don’t be overly effusive.
  7. Don’t hit on your interviewer. Seriously, you’re in an interview, not a nightclub.
  8. Don’t complain about someone. Be positive.
  9. Don’t seem needy. Sure, you need a job, but if you act like it, you probably won’t get it.

Interview Other

  1. Remember what it’s about. Think “what’s in it for them”, not just “what’s in it for me”. Both parties have to benefit.
  2. Be prepared to be tested. You might be asked to prove, say, your computer programming skills with a small quiz on basic principles of coding. Interviews for other industries might include similar testing.

Closer and Post Interview

The end of the interview is just as crucial to getting a job, as is what you do afterwards.

  1. Know your availability. An interviewer may ask when you can start. Don’t be afraid to say that you have a vacation scheduled, etc., or that you can start immediately.
  2. Be flexible on salary. When asked what you’re expecting, a good answer for a new grad is that you’re hoping for at least fair entry level wages, with performance bonuses. You might even say that you’re willing to accept stock options, especially at a startup.
  3. Ask for the job. If the interview goes well and you think you want to work there, ask for the job. Say something like, “Well this sounds like a very interesting job and I’d love to work here.” Do this when they offer their handshake goodbye. If they like you, you’ll be asked back for a second interview, or you might get offered the job right there.
  4. Say thank you. Thank the interviewer and the receptionist, etc.
  5. Be patient, part 2. As you’re leaving, ask about the selection process and when you might hear back. If there’s more than one position, you might hear back sooner. You might get more than one interview, but that may require sign-off from someone on vacation.
  6. Follow up on each interview. Experts offer differing opinions on this. If in doubt, call reception and ask their suggestions, especially if you haven’t heard back within two weeks.
  7. Keep an interview log. It’ll help you track the state of each application (sent application, pending interview, interview complete, followed up, rejected, etc.). Include dates.
  8. Keep learning. An advanced degree may help your career, but you can also learn without returning to school. Many large universities are offering their courses free online.

Dexter Gamble

How to write a memo


To:                               Dr. Dan Ball

From:                           Jordan Dyer

Date:                           June 6, 2012

Subject:                       The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Summary 


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people by Steven Covey is a motivational book, which inspires people to take a different prospective on life. Throughout the book Covey uses personal experiences to relate to what people go through daily. Covey has outlined seven steps or habits to define what makes a person highly effective.  Each  step deals with dependence, independence, and interdependence which Covey believes to be the key in becoming highly effective. The first three steps entail how to shift from being dependent to independent. The final four steps focus on reinventing yourself.  

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Being proactive is the first habit that Covey discusses. Proactive people take the initiative; Covey goes on to say, “Our basic nature is to act, and not be acted upon” (Covey 42).  Taking the initiative does not mean being pushy, or aggressive; it just means recognizing our responsibility to make things happen. Also presented in habit one is an exercise that makes us listen to our language, for example reactive language “there is nothing I can do” (Covey) but a proactive person’s language states, “let’s look at our alternatives” (Covey 53). Being proactive will also mean be positive.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Beginning with the end in mind refers to goals that we must set out for ourselves in order to be effective. Covey goes in depth about two creations in this section leadership and management. Covey refers to leadership as being the “top line” and deciding what it is a person wants to achieve. Management referrers to  the “bottom line” how a person best can achieve certain things, Covey states, “in order for those ideas to work that a person must first have a personal mission statement based on your personal values and principles”(Covey 68).

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Putting the most important thing first is the idea in habit 3. In habit 3 we are dealing with many of the questions addressed in the field of life and time management. Covey has broken this section down into four generations of time management. First generation is notes and checklist, second calendars and appointment books, third prioritization, and the fourth are preserving our relationships. These four are further broken into quadrants, as well as identifying roles. “We accomplish all that we do through delegation either to time or to other people. If we delegate to time, we think efficiency. If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness” (Covey).

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Think win/win in habit 4 crosses the line from dependence into independence. “Win/win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions” (Covey). Covey challenges our way of f thinking by making perceive things as win/win rather than win/lose or lose/lose, there is a fourth idea which is win/win or no deal. This simply means if the two sides cannot come to an agreement that will benefit both sides then they will disagree agreeably. Covey believes that this idea will help strengthen relationships at home and in business.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand

Communication is the key component in this section of Covey’s book. The fifth habit focuses on four types of communication reading, writing, speaking, and listening. “Communication is the most important skill in life” (Covey).  Empathic listening is one of the sectioned off topics of this section, we typically seek first to be understood instead of first seek to understand. People project their own experiences onto another and never completely understand what it was the other person was trying to tell them. After you fully understand the situation then the next step is to be understood, this will ensure your communication skills will become stronger and come out with a win/win situation.

Habit 6: Synergize

To be able to express your mind, heart, and expressions to new possibilities, alternatives, and options you are communicating synergistically. According to The Seven Habits of Effective People this form of communication is the greatest powers within an individual. And it takes all the habits that were covered prior to this habit to create the miracle of synergy (260). Covey pointed out how he used a type of business synergy to create a corporate mission statement. “… as we began to talk about various alternatives, possibilities… people became very open… and started to think aloud.” Not all synergy can be positive. Negative synergy can come about when people try to solve problems or make decisions in an interdependent reality. Negative synergy plays a role in the win/win technique. The individual may talk win/win, but they don’t really want to listen; they want to manipulate (274).

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

This habit makes all the other habits possible. This habit plays a role in an individual’s physical, social, mental, and social/emotional well being (288).” Sharpening ones saw is when an individual expresses all four motivations. By doing so, one must do this regularly, consistently in wise and balanced ways (289).” To be able to make this function, the individual has to be proactive. With theories such as the upward spiral, an individual can make the most out of sharpening their own saw. Covey states that to keep progressing, we must learn, commit, and do-learn, and do it again.   

The Seven Habits in Relation to Students Success

As a student Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People gave me a slightly different prospective in life. Students learning to develop leadership as young adults are key for growing and learning. Habit one stated to be proactive, which is relevant to all students of all ages. In combination with being proactive putting first thing first, habit four is the best academic success motivator that I can think of. Instead of putting parties first, students should put academics first and success will follow.

The Seven Habits in Relation to Personal Success 

To think win/win habit five, will excel my  personal success, and how reactive language puts holds on our life instead of thinking proactive (Habit One), which will make a more positive impact on our life which in return will bring us personal success.

Helpful Tools

The most helpful tool that I took from Covey’s book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was the fifth habit. I seek first to understand, then to be understood. With me being a Mass Communications Major, I can immediately implement the concepts in that chapter. Communication is the most important part of life, whether it is personal or business. Without effective communication it will be harder to succeed.  


What I took for Covey’s book was how to become independent as well as my perception on my society and how it has played a huge role in my life without me noticing. The most meaningful thing I took from reading habit two (begin with the end in mind without knowing what goal you want to accomplish then how will you ever accomplish it).  


Dexter Gamble

How to write a Business Letter

 To write an effective business letter you must use formal language.  There are numerous reasons to send a business letter, but you must be polite in all.  State the correct official title of the person you are sending it to, and be sure to include a subject line so the recipient knows what the letter is about.  Business letters are usually sent within a business or to other businesses and you must be careful not to offend anyone.


-Mary Dickens

How to write an Application Letter

To write an effective application letter you must have your address and of course the company address you are applying to.  Be sure to state your full name and use the correct titles of the person you are addressing in your letter.  The body of the letter should be brief because the person reading your letter is probably going to be busy and reading other application letters.  However, just because the letter is brief doesn’t mean it can’t be good.  The tone of the letter should be what you can do for the company, and not what they can do for you.  A company is not going to hire you as a favor for yourself.

Start out by mentioning your education and other important credentials that pertain to the job you are applying to.  If you studied abroad one semester be sure to mention that because it will impress companies and set you apart from the others.  State your skills that apply to the job and use specific references from the job advertisement or even the company website.  Show that you know the company because this can go a long way with the hiring process.  Focus on broadcasting your assets and strong points, and avoid your weaknesses.  At the end of the letter be sure to list your phone number, email address, and other professional forms of communication so the company has plenty of options to contact you.  Also, be sure to leave enough room for your signature and type your full name below it.  Furthermore, proof read your letter a few times before sending it and correct any mistakes.

-Mary Dickens