Have you ever missed a great opportunity because you were required to submit an application letter but weren’t quite sure what it actually was? It’s good to know that you’re not the only one who has gone through such an experience.
Thankfully, you’ll be happy to know that those dog days are finally over. Today, you’ll learn what a letter of application is and how to create one without hassle. Let’s get started!
- As a complement to your resume, an application letter is a document that you send when you’re applying for a job.
- A well-formatted letter of application should include a heading, salutation, introduction, body, closing, and a sign-off.
- To craft a strong application letter, research the job ad to find the requirements, then tailor it to the position.
- Start strong with an impressive achievement, and demonstrate your experience with quantifiable accomplishments. Don’t forget to elaborate on what makes you a good fit for the company
- Finish the document with an impactful closing and encourage a hiring professional to schedule an interview with you.
What is an Application Letter?
Also known as a cover letter, an application letter refers to a document you submit along with your CV or resume when you apply for a job. It allows you to showcase your work history and skills that make you a perfect candidate for the position.
In a letter of application, you have a chance to elaborate on your professional background and provide more detail about your achievements. This way, you’ll not only stand out from the myriad of other candidates, but you’ll also impress a hiring professional with your qualifications and expertise.
Unlike a resume, an application letter isn’t mandatory when you’re applying for jobs unless it’s otherwise specified. However, send a letter of application whenever you’re applying for a job, even if you’re not clearly instructed to do so.
You will instantly be noticed among other applicants, which will boost your chances of landing an interview.
What Should Be Included in an Application Letter?
Just like a cover letter, a well-written application letter should include the following sections:
- A heading—here, you’ll add your personal information (full name and professional title, email address, phone number, and location), date of writing, and a hiring professional’s personal information.
- Greeting or salutation—stay away from the obsolete ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ greeting; instead, go for ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or, ideally, include their name.
- Introduction—in this section, you should introduce yourself and state the reason for writing.
- Body—this is the most significant part of your application letter. It consists of two or three paragraphs in which you should elaborate on your accomplishments and professional experience.
- Closing—in this part of your letter, you should reiterate your interest and add a strong call to action, i.e., suggest scheduling an interview.
- Sign off and signature—finish your application letter with a sign-off and add your full name below.
How to Write an Application Letter
Crafting a strong application letter may seem like a daunting task. However, with the right guidelines, you’ll manage to write it hassle-free.
#1. Research the Company You’re Applying At
Researching the advertised position will help you tailor your letter to it. You’ll be able to find out what the company is looking for in a candidate and then adapt the skills, qualifications, and achievements you’ll include in your letter.
Note, though, that this by no means implies that you should “stretch the truth” like 78% of job hunters; it means that you need to decide what accomplishments and skills of yours will fit the position best and then include them in the document.
#2. Use the Right Application Letter Format
Using the proper application letter format is necessary to avoid winding up with a document that is all jumbled and has no clear paragraphs. Otherwise, your letter will most likely finish up in the trash.
To craft a neat and concise application letter, you should:
- Use a business letter format consisting of a heading, salutation, body, closing, and a sign-off
- Use a professional-looking font, such as Calibri, Cambria, Arial, and Helvetica
- Set the font size to 10.5–12 pt
- Set margins on all sides to 1–1.5 inches
#3. Write a Catchy Opening
To catch a hiring professional’s eye right from the start and intrigue them to read your application letter down to a T, you need a compelling opening paragraph that will be your elevator pitch.
The best way to begin your application letter for a job is to introduce yourself by emphasizing your expertise and achievements that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. This way, you’ll instantly show your competence and impress a hiring professional with what you can do.
Here’s an example:
I am writing to express my interest in the Project Manager position at Pixel Pioneer, as advertised. With over seven years of hands-on experience in project management, coupled with a proven track record of successfully leading and delivering complex projects, I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your team.
#4. Demonstrate Your Expertise
The following two to three paragraphs of your application letter are the most significant; here, you should include skills, achievements, and experiences that you have gained so far. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, this section needs to be tailored to the job you’re applying for. Highlight only the accomplishments and experiences that comply with the position requirements.
Secondly, don’t just reiterate what you have already written in your resume. Instead, elaborate on your achievements by adding more detail and information about them.
Check out an example:
In my most recent role at [Company Name], I led a cross-functional team in the successful implementation of [mention a specific project or initiative] that resulted in a [X%] improvement in operational efficiency. This showcased my strategic planning and execution abilities but also demonstrated my proficiency in managing resources, mitigating risks, and exceeding project objectives.
#5. Explain Why You Would be a Good Fit
Your professional expertise and accomplishments won’t mean much if a hiring professional doesn’t see what makes you a good fit for the company.
Elaborate on how your accomplishments and expertise can contribute to the company and help it grow or deal with the challenges it faces.
Here’s how you can do it:
I excel at developing comprehensive project plans, outlining key milestones, and ensuring all project components align with the company’s objectives. My ability to identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies has been instrumental in project success.
#6. Close Your Application Letter Strongly
Finish your cover letter by expressing gratitude to a recruiter for reading your application letter, and let them know you’re ready to proceed with the hiring process. Include a call to action—subtly say that you are available for an interview and reassure them to schedule it.
This is an important part, as it reveals your readiness to take initiative. Don’t skip it; otherwise, you may be considered a poor candidate.
Here’s an example:
Thank you for considering my application. I am excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to [Company Name]. I would like to discuss how my qualifications meet the needs of your company in more detail in an interview at your convenience.
Application Letter Samples
If you’re on the lookout for a sample of an application letter that you can use to create your own, you’re at the right place.
Here, you’ll find samples for an entry-level paralegal with no experience and for an experienced cybersecurity analyst.
#1. Entry-Level Paralegal
2657 South Street
OT Paralegal Services
1242 Gore Street
Dear Mr. Richardson,
I am writing to express my interest in the entry-level paralegal position at OT Paralegal Service. With a strong academic background in law, practical experience gained through internships, and a commitment to excellence, I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your legal team.
I recently graduated with a B.A. in Law from the University of Houston, where I developed a solid foundation in legal principles and research. During my academic journey, I honed my analytical skills, attention to detail, and legal writing abilities. My coursework included Intellectual Property and Tax Law, which equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of the legal system.
My internship experience at the Lane Law Firm refined my practical skills in legal research and document preparation. I had the opportunity to assist attorneys with case preparation, conduct legal research, and draft legal documents, such as briefs and memos. Additionally, I developed strong organizational skills by managing and maintaining legal files, ensuring efficient retrieval of information.
I am confident that my academic background, practical experience, and passion for the legal field make me a strong candidate for the entry-level paralegal position at OT Paralegal Service. I am eager to contribute my skills to your dynamic team and am excited about the opportunity to grow as a paralegal within your esteemed organization.
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my skills and experiences align with the needs of OT Paralegal Service in an interview at your convenience.
#2. Experienced Cyber Security Analyst
Cyber Security Analyst
4641 Marigold Lane
4394 Tyler Avenue
Dear Ms. Stone,
I am writing to express my genuine interest in the Experienced Cyber Security Analyst position at REEF Technology, as advertised on your website. With a solid background in developing and implementing cybersecurity strategies, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the success of your cybersecurity team.
In my previous role as a Cyber Security Analyst at Palo Alto Networks, I led and implemented various cybersecurity initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall security posture of the company. This involved conducting thorough risk assessments, implementing security measures, and actively monitoring network activities to identify and respond to potential threats.
One of my notable achievements at Palo Alto Networks was the successful implementation of a new security protocol, resulting in a significant 20% reduction in security incidents. Besides showcasing my technical skills, it underscored my ability to navigate complex security challenges and devise effective solutions.
My experience extends to a strong understanding of cybersecurity frameworks, compliance standards, and best practices. I am well-versed in using the latest cybersecurity tools and technologies, including Nexpose, KisMAC, Sprinto, and Wireshark, to ensure a strong security environment.
What drew me to REEF Technology is its commitment to staying ahead of evolving threats. Your dedication to innovation and strengthening cyber resilience aligns seamlessly with my own commitment to ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.
Thank you for considering my application. I am eager to bring my expertise to REEF Technology and contribute to the ongoing success of your security operations. I would welcome the chance to discuss how my skills and experiences align with the unique needs of your company in an interview at a time that suits you.
5 Tips for Application Letters
Now that you’ve got an idea of what an application letter should look like, here are five pro tips to polish it to perfection:
- Never submit a generic application letter. Instead, tailor it to every position you’re applying for. This way, you’ll show a recruiter that you’re eager and motivated to get that job.
- Keep it short. An application letter shouldn’t be longer than one page, or 250 to 400 words max. Resist the urge to mention all the achievements you deem important; select only those that are relevant to the position.
- Proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes before submitting. Make sure that your application letter is error-free before you send it; otherwise, it may be discarded, as even 76% of hiring professionals will reject a candidate whose documents have typos and mistakes.
- Use measurable accomplishments. Whenever possible, support your achievements with figures and percentages to give them more credibility.
- Keep a professional tone. Be polite and professional, but don’t forget to show enthusiasm as well. Don’t use slang or informal language, but make sure that you aren’t too formal and stuck up, either.
Similarly to a cover letter, an application letter acts as an introduction to your professional history and achievements to a hiring professional. Though not mandatory, this one-page document can significantly improve your chances of landing a job interview.
However, crafting a strong letter of application can be tricky. Hopefully, with our comprehensive guide, you’ll manage to master it and write a compelling one without hassle!