Writing an application letter is one of the prerequisites to getting a job in most organizations. But, job acquisition is now a clash of the titans, whereby many resourceful, intelligent, and experienced people are competing for the same position. Hence, the reason why you need to learn how to write an excellent application letter.
An application letter is very important in the recruitment process. It tells the hiring manager what you are capable of doing, and how your skills and expertise can move the organization forward and leaves a good lasting first impression in the mind of the hiring manager.
A standard application letter must be able to express your interest in a position, and tell about your personality and why they should choose you. It should also reflect your details, show your relevant achievement in the field, and prompt the recruiter to invite you for an interview.
Have you been asked to submit an application letter with your resume/CV for a job? If you don’t know how to go about it, this guide will help you out. In the following, you will learn how to write a professional application letter that wins a job.
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Is an Application Letter the same as a Cover Letter?
Both application letters and cover letters are used in the process of applying for jobs. However, there are a few differences between both.
An application letter is a document that describes your qualification, a bit of who you are, your objective for applying for a post, and how your skills can be useful to the company.
While the cover letter as the name implies can be used to cover any kind of document such as a CV/resume, report, budget, etc. For a job seeker, It is used only to complement the resume.
An application letter allows you to explain the reason why a company should choose you while a cover letter can not. It only elaborates the information inside your CV.
Also, an application letter can be sent alone in some cases while a cover letter must always be sent with a CV/resume since it talks about it.
Steps to writing a compelling application letter
Writing a compelling application letter is not that hard if you follow the right steps. Listed below are the proven steps for writing a mind-blowing application letter:
Step 1: Research the company and job role
Don’t rush into writing an application letter. The first thing to do is to do thorough research about the company and job role. Inquire more about the specification of the open position. Having a good understanding of the position you’re applying for will reflect in your writing and thus make your application letter stand out amongst others.
When making research about the company and job role, these are the details you should look out for:
- A major achievement that set the company apart from its competitors.
- Their recent award
- Size of the company
- Necessary certificate, skills, and knowledge required for the position.
- The company culture
- Name and title of the hiring manager.
- Deadline for the application.
Step 2: Writing addresses and salutation
After research, you can then proceed to write the letter. The information at the beginning of the letter should comprise the name, contact information, your address, and the company’s address. After that, you write a professional salutation and mention the recruiter by name such as “Dear Mr. XYZ.”
However, if thorough research does not reveal the recruiter’s name, you may use “Dear (Department) hiring manager” to address the recipient.
In general, ensure that the beginning part of the letter is well aligned. Your name, contact information, address, and date should be on the right side while the recipient title and company information should be on the left.
At the top right side
[Address, city, state, zip code, date]
On the left side
[Hiring manager’s name]
[Hiring manager’s title]
[Company’s address, city, state, zip code]
Salutations: “Dear Mr. XYZ” not “Dear XYZ”
Step 3: Body of the letter
- First paragraph
In the first paragraph. Give a clear and straightforward statement about the position you are applying for. Mention the company and be confident in writing. This is where you sell yourself to the prospective employer.
You can also mention the person who referred you or where you saw the job posting, however, be specific. E.g ” I am delighted to apply for the role of [job role] at [company name]. I was ecstatic when I saw the job opening at [website/job board]….”
ii. Other paragraphs
Let your paragraphs be organized and effective. The first paragraph talks about why you are writing. The second and third paragraph is where you elucidate why you are the best fit for the position.
This is where you would have to share the experience, skills, and accomplishments that suggest you as the best person for the job while the fourth paragraph summarizes the whole letter.
iii. Mention why you want the job
In the third paragraph, include a personal statement about why you are applying for the role. You’ve already explained why the company should want you. This section explained why you have chosen this company and what excites you most about this job opportunity.
iv. Summarize your qualification
Mention the relevant qualification that will make you exceptional among your competitors. Let it be a summary of the points in your resume/CV. However, ensure you list those qualifications based on how it is highlighted in your resume. It will enable the hiring manager to notice you first.
v. Include a professional closing
You should sign off your letter by thanking the reader. Indicate that you have attached your resume or any other documents. Mention that you look forward to a favorable reply and conclude with a polite closing such as “Sincerely” e.g
Tip for writing an effective application letter
1. Always write one
Always write one application letter even if the job posting doesn’t say so. Unless the company states not to send. Other than that you must write one and ensure you follow instructions.
2. Use a business letter format
Your date and contact information at the right-hand side while the company at the left-hand side. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
3. Sell yourself
Through the letter, focus on what you can offer the company. Concentrate on your skills and abilities and how they can add value to the company, however, keep it brief.
4. Use keywords
Look for keywords in the job posting and ensure you add them when writing.
5. Proofread and edit
Edit and proofread your writing for grammar and spelling errors. An application letter with an error will likely get neglected.
Only a standard application letter can win a job role now due to the high rate of unemployment, hence why you should learn how to write a good application letter. Follow the guide above to get started. And if you have any questions, let us know.