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.
|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
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
At the top ↑:
Name and address of company / organisation you are applying to
The date, eg. 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:
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)
Your addressee's name
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.
(Include your contact details here if you do not add them at the top of the letter)
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.
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