Most time, you need to write a letter to apply for a job. Even in the rare cases when employers don’t require a job application letter, writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. I highlight some important tips below on how to write an effective job application letter.
A job application letter should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.
How to Get Started
Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited). Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume — instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter’s presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing:
Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
What to Include in Each Section of the Letter
There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here’s a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:
- Header Examples
Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.
Signature: End with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.
How to write an effective job application letter
To write an effective job application letter, follow these tips:
- Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
- Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
- Language. Do not use abbreviations for any formal letter.
- Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company. Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
- Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
- Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
- Edit, edit, edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Therefore, read through your cover letter, and if possible ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.
12 Tonyllen Crescent Street
Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
October 14, 2019.
Human Resources Manager
Veggies to Go
238 Main Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Dear Mr. Smith,
APPLICATION AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
I was so excited when my former coworker, Emmanuel Etim, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced administrator, I would love to help the company achieve her mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.
I have worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service representatives that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills.
I have attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.
Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)
(Phone number/ E-mail address).
Sending an Email Application
When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:
List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:
12 Tonyllen Crescent Street
Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
October 14, 2019