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Resources to support job applications, including resume and application letter writing and preparing for interviews.

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What is an application letter?


Also known as a cover letter, an application letter is a summary of your strongest and most relevant skills and abilities that will be expanded in your resume or selection criteria. It introduces you to potential employers and highlights your suitability for the position you are applying for.

All written applications should include an application letter. In many cases, your application letter is just as important as your resume. It is unlikely that your resume will be read if your application letter doesn't make a good first impression.

The Dos and Don'ts

An application letter should: An application letter should NOT:

 Be professional in appearance

Be tailored to the job under application

 Be one A4 page in length 

Be addressed to a specific person (only use  Dear Sir/Madam if you're unable to find out the appropriate person's name)

 Include your reason for writing

 Demonstrate your interest in and knowledge of the organisation

 Highlight relevant skills and experience you have to offer

 Include evidence that you have the skills sought after by the employer

 Refer to any documents you have enclosed in the application (e.g. resume)

 Express willingness for an interview

 Be written using enthusiastic and positive language

 Be generic

 Apologise for qualities, qualifications or experience you don't have - emphasise what you do

 Repeat exactly what is in the resume

 Be copied from resume publications - employers do recognise them! 

 Focus on what you expect to gain from the organisation - include what the organisation will gain from you

 Include unsupported claims about your skills

 Have spelling mistakes and typos

 Include jargon / acronyms not clear to the reader

 Be sent without proofreading it first


What to include

At the top :

 Name and address of company / organisation you are applying to

 The dateeg. 26 September 2016

 A formal greeting using the appropriate title and name of the addressee, e.g. Dear Ms Smith, NOT Dear Sarah. It is always best to address your letter to a specific person. If the name is not provided in the job ad, phone the organisation and ask receptions for the name and title of the addressee. Use Mr/Ms if you are unsure of the title, not Mrs/Miss. Use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ only if you are unable to find out.

 A heading with reference to the job under application, e.g. Re: Application for [name of position], reference number (if applicable)

At the bottom :

 An appropriate 'sign-off'e.g. Yours faithfully,

 Your name and contact details (address, phone number(s), email address)


An application letter can be structured into 3 parts:


The beginning of your application letter should include:

 The position you are applying for

Where you saw the job advertisement

 A sentence or 2 about why you think you are a great fit for the role and the organisation


The body of the application letter is where you 'sell yourself. It should address the key requirements stated in the job ad, describing how you have the required qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience.

Identify keywords, phrases and skills mentioned in the ad and focus on emphasising your strengths in these areas. It isn't necessary to include everything mentioned in the job ad. Instead, focus on three to five of the most important elements.

Points to remember:

  • Keep to one theme per paragraph and support your claims with examples.
  • Write persuasively
  • Explain why you are interested in the position or working for the company / organisation
  • State the value you will bring to the position
  • Identify how your achievements and skills qualify you for the role


At the end of the letter:

 Refer to any attached documentation, including your resume

 Express interest in further discussing your application and the available position in an interview

 Indicate your availability for an interview and your contact details

 Sign off with with 'Yours sincerely' (or 'Yours faithfully' if you addressed the application to Dear Sir/Madam)

Sample Cover Letter

Your name

Mailing address

Telephone number(s)

Email address

Today's date

Your addressee's name

Professional title

Organisation name

Mailing address


Dear Mr/Ms [last name],

RE: Application for [job role], reference number [number]

Start your application letter with a statement that establishes a connection with your reader. Briefly say what job you are applying for and where you saw the job advertisement.

The mid-section of your application letter should include short paragraphs that make relevant points about how your qualifications and skills make you a good fit for the position. You should not summarise your resume. You may include bullet points here. Choose some qualifications, skills and experience that really target the position you are applying for. Do not go overboard and save information for the interview.

Your concluding paragraph should instigate the reader to contact you for an interview. Refer to any attachments added to your application. Show appreciation for consideration and say thank you.

Yours sincerely, 

Your name

(Include your contact details here if you do not add them at the top of the letter)

Further Support

Below are some useful links providing further support with:

 How to structure an application letter

 What content to include

They also include example cover letters. Please note, it is important to use examples as a guide only. DO NOT copy the examples and use them as your own.

Additional Resource

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