“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” ― Lewis Carroll
What is an application letter?
An application letter is a document sent along with your CV, one that provides additional details on why you are qualified for the applied role. Application letters may be required for a range of opportunities and are not limited only to those seeking employment. They will be required for applying for internships, sponsorships, workshops, and volunteering. Since application letters are for increasing your chances of being called for an interview, it is best to be diligent about the process.
How to write an application letter?
- Do your research
- Match your skills to the job requirements
- Align the tone of your letter to the company’s culture
- Be genuine in your interest in the role
- Check for mistakes and make someone else read before you send it in
Below are THREE parts guiding you on how you can best write an application letter that highlights your most relevant qualifications and experiences and elaborates on the features of your resume.
- Preparing your letter
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. You should get all your thoughts and research in order before writing your application letter. If you keep these factors in mind, you will avoid getting stuck while writing your application letter.
Researching the position and company you are applying for will enable you to write the application letter tailored to the interests of the potential employer. It will show that you are interested in the position and have thought about how you would best fit in. One of the first things to do is to obtain and include the contact information of the company to which you are applying to. But before you begin your letter, make sure that you have the proper letterhead. You can do so by making sure the below points are ascribed to.
- Your document is aligned to the left
- Include the current date, then separated by a space, add your contact information
- Phone number
- Email address
- Personal website (if you have one)
- LinkedIn profile
By adding the above details correctly you are making sure that it is as easy as possible for your prospective employer to contact you and know who you are.
The next step is to research the hiring manager of the position. Addressing them directly will show that you are dedicated and did not use a generic letter. You can search for the hiring managers names on the company’s site or sites like LinkedIn, Twitter etc. If all else fails and you have no name, it’s ok to address your cover letter to the hiring manager of the department. Example: [Department] Hiring Manager.
The final step in your preparation would be to study the job description and your skills. You can do this by writing down the requirements of the job on one side, and your skills on the other. Once this is done, you can compare the skills and experiences on your resume against the requirements and skills needed for the job. Comparing your skills against the requirements of the job will help you provide the necessary information in your application letter quickly and effectively.
2. Writing your letter
The opening paragraph of your application letter must be appealing and engaging. You must open with a strong, declarative statement that indicates that you are happy about applying for the position at the company. Below are some of the most important things to mention in the opening paragraph:
- Where you found the position to which you are applying
- A reference (if possible)
- Your interest in the position
You want to move onto the second paragraph by indicating what it is about the company that you like. You can give an example of what attracted you most to the company. This will show the manager that you have done your research and identified what about the company suits you best. The research you have done in your preparation will be useful here.
In the third paragraph, you want to show how your skills and experience match with the job requirements. Adding an example or two of job applicable accomplishments or experiences will help you highlight why you will be a great fit for the role. The aim is to illustrate to the hiring manager why hiring you would be beneficial for the company.
You can close off the third paragraph or start the fourth paragraph by briefly summarizing your strengths, qualifications, and experience. You essentially want to paint a picture of yourself that cannot be deduced from what is on your resume. This is a space to add additional accomplishments and experience that are not on your resume but are applicable to the job you are applying for.
3. Finishing up your letter
Your last paragraph should end your letter of application on the right note and summarise why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. It should also inform the hiring manager that you would love the opportunity to speak further about the position.
You can finish up the letter by thanking the hiring manager and ending with a statement such as “I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.” The aim is to show a genuine interest in getting a response as opposed to forcing them to get back to you.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you properly sign off. If unsure on which one to use, Yours Sincerely or Kind Regards, are two of the best examples. The one you choose should be reflective of the tone of your letter. After you sign off, write your full name on the last line, and consider including a signature.
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