July 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Upcoming Appearances

Members of the UpWrite Press staff will be at two conferences this month.

  • July 14-16: FBLA's (Future Business Leaders of America) 2010 National Leadership Conference, booth #210
  • July 19, 20: KACTE's (Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education) Kentucky Career and Technical Education Summer Program, booth #327

We welcome you to visit us there, chat awhile, and browse our newest products.

Writing the
Reference Request

Requesting a letter of reference is asking for a huge favor. You should select someone who can attest to your personal qualifications as well as to your work record and suitability for the job, scholarship, or situation you are seeking. And considering the time and effort this person will take on your behalf, also remember to include any information that will make the job easier.

Here are some tips for drafting your request.

  • Make your purpose clear. You are asking for a positive written recommendation that will help you attain your goal - an interview, a job, a scholarship. Describe what you are applying for and explain why you chose this person to write a letter of reference for you. Ask if she or he is willing to do so, and give a deadline for its completion.
  • Give the details. Explain the requirements of the position, including any specific training or experience necessary, and talk about how your background and/or personal qualities match those requirements.
  • Give specifics. Offer suggestions to help the writer prepare the letter. Review instances of your qualifying experience, work, or training with which the writer may be familiar.
  • Make it easy to send. Provide the name and address (or e-mail address, if applicable) of the person who should receive the letter, and include a stamped, addressed envelope for the writer's convenience.
  • Say thank you, both in your written request and verbally, if possible.

Remember also to let the sender know the end result of the letter - especially if it has realized a positive outcome. Be sure to mention how valuable his or her contribution was to your success.

For more on writing various types of letters, review the tips in Business and Sales Correspondence, a book in our EZ Series - just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

That Little Extra

A wise person once said, "If someone else can do something, so can you." And when you think about it, it's true. Whether it's writing a proposal, building a Web site, or organizing a fund-raiser, although the task may take one person longer to accomplish, or the result may be less spectacular than another's, anyone can make an attempt. So consider your personal talents and interests, match them to a project, and give it your all.

We love our readers!

Beth Tarbell, Technical Writer for Carino's Italian Restaurant in Austin, Texas, responded recently to our February question about organization, and we wanted to share her thoughts.

With tight staffs and limited resources, organization and prioritization is a constant battle. Here's how I try to stay ahead of the curve:

  • List all of the projects that have been assigned to me.
  • List all of the required components/materials for each project.
  • Have a daily checklist of tasks and mark them off as I go.
  • Create a REVERSE timeline, working from the absolute deadline date backward. This helps me to prioritize and plan out each segment of a project.
  • Realize that at times, no matter how organized I am, some deadlines might not be realistic and I must address that issue.
  • Use the facts to speak for themselves.
  • Show what I have already completed. Then specify what I CAN do within the time frame and how much more time I will need to complete the task.
  • Ask for help from other departments if the deadline is firm.

Thanks, Beth!

Now for this month's topic:


July Writers' Forum Topic

Here's your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we'll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

Ah, summer. The warm air and long days pull at us to abandon the mundane, to trade in the minivan for a convertible, to run off and join a circus, maybe, or at least to treat the kids to a few days at a water park. Still, there has to be a crew at the office to keep things running while others are off doing their summer thing. Share your story with us, and let us know how your office handles summer vacations (short of shutting down until fall) without letting the business suffer.

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "July Writers' Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

We Want to Hear from You

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you’d like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or The Mid-Month Mini.

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Write for Business Blog

Entries for the month of June:

Staff Articles

Parts of Speech

Using the Right Word


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Coming in August

Writing the Letter of Reference

eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2010,
UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.