Whilst most job applications nowadays do not require an accompanying explanatory letter, it is still considered good practice by some people to include a letter of application. There are many instances when good job application letters have been effective in gaining an interview.
If you are unsure whether or not to include an application letter and what it should convey, we have added some useful tips which we hope will help you to get ahead of the competition.
Ten points about job application letters / CV covering letters / letters for job application
1. Think about it
What is this letter for? Why are you writing it? What is its purpose? What do you think the company may be looking for? Your letter should spell out exactly how you think you could be of use to them!
2. Do I really need one?
YES! Even when completing an online application, any people make the mistake of not sending a CV / resume covering letter. It should be seen as an introduction to the prospective employer as well as a means of highlighting your key attributes. Don’t expect an employer to plough through your CV or application form to search for your strengths. Application cover letters also send out the message that you can be bothered to make that extra effort.
3. Get a name
Try to send your letter to a name rather than a job title. Application letters beginning Dear Sir or Madam are less likely to be read than those directed to a person. (Always check the spelling of their name!) Try to write to the Head of the department in which you hope to work. They’ll know before Personnel if a vacancy is coming up.
4. Be positive
Tell them what you can do, don’t mention what you can’t! Remember you are marketing yourself – so highlight your key skills!
5. Check your grammar
Poor spelling and grammatical errors make it look as though you did not take trouble over your letter, so why should a company think you’ll pay attention to the details of the job?
6. Be relevant
Don’t waffle. Remember KISS (Keep It Short and Simple). If your best qualifications are not relevant to the job, don’t emphasise them.
7. Don’t overwrite
Get to the point! Let your CV / resume do the rest! If your CV does not mention something which you think could be important – make sure it goes into your covering letter. The more simple and plain your language, the better. The person getting the application needs it to be clear on first reading – they won’t take time to read it twice!
Your letter should be on plain white good quality paper (A4 size). It should be typed if possible (spell- and grammar-checked) or very clearly handwritten in black ink. Coloured paper and coloured inks look unprofessional.
9. Keep it brief
One page and 3 to 4 paragraphs. Your letter should cover:
- 1.The position for which you are applying.
- 2.Why you want the job.
- 3.How your skills are suitable for the job.
- 4.Your knowledge of the organisation.
10. Make it look inviting
Long sentences or paragraphs and too much closely-written/typed text make letters look unappealing and difficult to read. Use a straightforward writing style and leave lots of white space.
Online job application letters
With more and more jobs being advertised online why bother? Even if you are writing an email as part of your online application process, the rules and tips still apply. The layout of your content may differ, but it is serving the same purpose. That is to introduce yourself and highlighting your skills, qualities and experience.
We hope you find the information and tips on how to write application letters and for letters for application useful. We have provided sample cover letters to give you an idea of what your application letters should include.
Before you send out your application letters, please remember how important it is to check for grammar and punctuation. Sometimes a word transposed or omitted can have a devastating effect. Just look at some of the worst CV mistakes for examples of bad grammar and punctuation.
Better-Writing-Tips is a great site with information and techniques explained simply and in plain English, that will help you write more confidently and persuasively.
Another alternative you could consider is to download a software program that enables you to produce powerful letters by following their process.
If you have any questions, comments, need help writing application letters or would like further information on how to write a CV or resume, use our comment form below and we will gladly try and get the advice and guidance that you need.
Do you have any letter writing tips you would like to share or questions that you would like answered? Then use our comments form below to start a topic, add comments or get further information.
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