An application letter communicates to the prospective employer your interest in and qualifications for a position within the organization. The letter is also called a cover letter, because it introduces (or “covers”) the major points in your resume, which you should include with the application letter. A solicited application letter is written in response to an advertised vacancy, whereas an unsolicited application letter is written to an organization that has not advertised a vacancy.
The purpose of the cover letter sent with a resume is to gain an interview. It should add information on where you learned of the job opening, expand on your qualifications, and ask for an interview. While your resume lists your qualifications, your cover letter makes explicit the match between those qualifications and the job requirements.
§ Write the cover letter to the responsible person, not Dear Sir / Madam.
§ Demonstrate knowledge of the company.
§ Communicate your competence and sell your value.
§ Ask for an interview.
Start with something that will gain favorable attention. Rather than ask for an application or say you are looking for a job, talk about the work the firm needs done and why you are the person to do it. You may mention the person who told you about a job opening. You can get attention by mentioning strong qualifications, such as work experience. Highlight your strong points for the job, using material from your enclosed resume. Write a letter that emphasizes how you are qualified to do the job specified. Mention your resume near the end of the letter.
The letter of application should conform to all requirements of a good business letter, and in form it should be correct in every detail. No one should do less than his very best in writing a letter of application, for it is in reality a sales letter in which the writer is trying to sell his services. The application letter usually consists of three or four paragraphs. The first mentions the source of information about the position, the second gives facts to aid in securing the position, the third lists references, and the fourth may suggest further communication. But even conventional form of the application may be altered to suit the originality of the writer. In short, the more individual in form and content your message, the more evident the superior fitness to fill the position.
A happily turned phrase or an appropriate reference may be just the difference necessary to give to an applicant advantage over his competitors. If replying to an advertisement, it is better simply state what you are doing, and remember to give a date or reference. All companies want to know why you are applying for a particular position. This not only means explaining why you want the job but why you think your particular skills and experience would be valuable to the company. At the end of the letter look forward to the interview and offer to supply more information if necessary. Letters confirming that you accept a position can be brief, as long as they mention the relevant points.
Most job applicants use the same resume when applying for numerous positions and then use their application letter to personalize their qualification for the specific job for which they are applying. Such letter is of crucial importance. Format it appropriately. Check for errors. Don’t forget to sign the letter which should be no longer than one page.
The opening paragraph of a solicited application letter is fairly straightforward. For unsolicited application letters, you must first get the reader’s attention. One effective strategy is to show that you know something about the organization – and then show how you can contribute to the corporate effort. Your opening should be short, interesting, and reader oriented.
In a paragraph or two of the body highlight your strongest qualifications and show how they can benefit the employer. Provide specific, credible evidence to support your statements. Don’t repeat all the information from the resume.
Close by asking politely for a personal interview. Indicate flexibility regarding scheduling and location. Provide your phone number and email address, either in the last paragraph or immediately below your name and address in the closing lines. Use a standard complimentary closing. Sign your name neatly.