In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, a personal touch can make a big difference.

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In today's world of e-mail, PDAs and cell phones, writing and mailing an acceptance letter when you've been offered a job might seem passé. Yet the acceptance letter is still one of the best ways to formally accept a job offer, reinforce your professionalism and remind your future employer why they offered you the position in the first place.

Even if the company offered you the job over the phone, sending a job acceptance letter is a professional courtesy.

You can use the latest technology to send your acceptance letter, but it should still contain all the standard information you would've included if you'd been offered a job 20 years ago. Namely, you should start by stating that you've decided to accept the position, and then outline the details of the job (salary, benefits, schedule and start date). This is especially important if any aspect of the original offer was unclear. Having the details in writing can help avoid future issues about salary, benefits or any other job specifications.

Try to send the letter to your hiring manager as soon as the offer is made, especially if you didn't originally acknowledge your acceptance over the phone. Delaying too long might make your new employer think you're not interested, and they could move on to the next candidate.

Some employers will save you the effort of writing your own acceptance letter by sending you an offer letter and/or employment contract. This standard letter will cover the details of your job offer. You'll just need to sign it at the bottom and return it. Read the letter carefully before you sign to make sure you agree with the terms. If there are any confusing items, call your hiring manager or human resources manager and ask for clarification.

On the next page, you'll learn all of the ingredients that go into an effective, professional job acceptance letter.