In this lesson I show you a sample letter where you need to suggest the employee of the year. It’s a more formal letter and in the lesson you’ll find tips on
writing more formal letters
structuring the letter
using better grammar
and words and ideas for writing letters about employees.
Reading and understanding the question
Every year, someone in the company where you work is chosen as best employee. Your manager has asked staff members to make suggestions about who should be chosen this year.
Write a letter to your manager. In it you should
Identify a colleague who you think should be best employee
Explain what the job of this colleague involve.
Give reasons why the colleague should be chosen as best employee.
The points to note as you read this question are:
it should be slightly more formal as you are writing to someone in a position of authority
there are 3 points you must include in your letter
you should make the purpose of the letter clear – that you are naming someone for employee of the year
you’ll need to use some employment vocabulary
The employee of the year letter
I am writing to propose Dominic Cole for the award of the employee of the year for 2016. He has proved himself to be a model employee and deserves special recognition.
Dominic has been working for Alpha Solutions for around 5 years now and after a recent promotion is currently part of our interactive whiteboards sales team in our Cambridge branch. His role is to promote our latest range of products and to approach potential customers in schools, universities and other educational institutions who might be interested in converting their classrooms to use ICT.
I believe he should be named employee of the year for helping his team not just reach but exceed their sales target by 150 per cent. This was thanks to his enthusiasm for his job and his hardworking attitude which inspired his colleagues to work harder. Generally he sets an excellent example by always being the first one into the office as well as doing unpaid overtime whenever it is needed. Everyone I think would agree about the influence he has on the team.
I do hope you consider Dominic for this award as his efforts on behalf of Alpha Solutions have been exceptional.
Task response and letter structure
Identifying the purpose in the introduction and conclusion
Note how I use the first and last paragraphs to make the purpose of the letter clear. It can help to think of these paragraphs as a very brief introduction and conclusion. All you need do is to make sure you vary the language between the two paragraphs slightly. One structure you should note is
I am writing to
This is a phrase you can borrow and use for more formal letters to make the purpose clear.
Often the best solution is to use a separate paragraph for each content point. But in this letter I have chosen to combine two content points together in one paragraph. This is because the first point (identifying the employee is only a brief point) and fits naturally with the description of the job. When you do this it’s important to show that you are answering both parts of the question. I do this here by starting the second sentence “His role is”
Tone and formality
There are a number of different ways you can make a letter more formal. Here are some of the techniques I use in this letter.
Certain phrases are standard in more formal letters
I am writing to
Long forms and abbreviations
We don’t use abbreviations such as “I’m ” when we write more formally
I believe he should be named employee of the year – less formally “I’m sure he should be the employee of the year”
Abstract nouns and verbs and adjectives
Abstract nouns tend to be used more in formal writing:
This was thanks to his enthusiasm and hardworking attitude – less formally “It really helped that he was so keen and worked so hard”
Some modal verbs
Sometimes the way we use modal verbs makes our writing more formal
Everyone I think would agree – less formally “I’m certain everyone else agrees”
Some emphatic forms
Some emphatic forms are much more common in more formal letters
I do hope you consider – less formally “I really hope you consider”
Some structures are more formal than others
whenever it is needed – less formally “if it’s necessary”
Ideas and vocabulary
My best suggestion if you get a letter question like this is to choose a job with which you are familiar – you’re much more likely to use better vocabulary that way. Here I have highlighted in red some of the more general work related vocabulary you can borrow.
I strongly suggest you think about what words you want to use before you write. Vocab is 25% of your score and when you’re writing a short letter it can be easy to either use over-simple words or repeat yourself too much. Here I jotted down these words before I wrote and I used most of them.
employee – job – team – promotion – office – salary
deserve – earn – merit
attitude -set example – influence
In this letter I focussed on two reasons for the award – an achievement and personal qualities. Also see how I use precise examples to use a little bit more topic language:
meet/reach sales target and exceed it by 150 per cent
enthusiasm – inspiration
hardworking attitude – sets an example – first into the office – doing unpaid overtime
other ideas for good employees
These are other ideas for writing about the qualities of employees
team player – helpful –
good social skills – communication
proactive and self-motivated
reliable – long service
attention to detail
Note the different tenses I use in the letter and why I use them.
These are to describe his job and his qualities, e.g.:
His role is to promote
He sets an excellent example
I also use present perfect (have tenses) when the past and present combine
He has proved himself
Dominic has been working for
His efforts… have been exceptional
I use these to describe the event/achievement – i.e. something that is finished
This was thanks to
which inspired his colleagues