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What Is an Appointment Letter?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2014
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An appointment letter is a document that an employer extends to a new employee. Specifically, a letter of appointment informs an applicant that she or he has been appointed to a particular position. Included in the contents of the letter are issues relative to the appointment, such as a start date and the salary being offered. Benefits such as insurance and vacation days are also discussed in an appointment letter. Other workers, such as a volunteer or an intern, may also receive a letter of appointment after applying for a position with an organization.

While engaging in the process of hiring employees, employers usually screen multiple applicants before arriving at a final decision about who to hire. Once that decision has been made, an employer contacts a selected applicant to extend an offer of employment. While new hires are often notified by telephone about an employer’s decision, many receive an appointment letter with full details about the position, instead. In many cases, a telephone call precedes an official letter with the latter being considered a more official or formal notification.

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Letters of this nature are extended to full- and part-time employees, as well as when a company is hiring temporary employees. Most appointment letters vary in the exact wording used, but all offer an official announcement of employment. Professional letters are prepared on the company’s letterhead and include the new employee’s full name. A salary is specifically stated in a letter of appointment, as well as pay dates and any benefits being offered under the terms of employment. While it is the employer who extends the appointment letter to an applicant, it is the business policy of some employers to not consider the appointment official until the recipient signs, dates and returns the letter even if a verbal acceptance has already been made.

In some cases, an appointment letter may also be extended to interns or volunteers who have applied for a particular position. For example, a volunteer applying to join a mentoring program facilitated by an NGO or a non-profit agency might receive an appointment letter after submitting an application and undergoing a screening process by that agency’s staff. In such a case, an appointment letter will include information about the volunteer position, such as the number of hours required each month and the rules of that program. As with a business letter of this type, a volunteer would sign and date the letter before returning it if the position is being accepted.

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