How to Write a Job Application Letter to Help You Get That Job

Job Application Letters

Application letter writing using laptopThe first thing a potential employer sees when you apply for a job is your job application letter. This doesn't just support your CV - it's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round, the job interview.

Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include here are some helpful guides - just remember not to copy them word for word.

Your job application letter is an opportunity to highlight your most relevant qualifications and experiences, to enhance your Curriculum Vitae (CV), and increase your chances of being called for a successful job interview. Your letter must detail your specific qualifications for the position and the range of skills you could bring to the employer.

What to Include in Your Job Application Letter

In your first paragraph, explain simply why you are writing. Mention the job title and company name, and also where you came across the job listing. Offer something different than what's in your CV: It's rare to send an application letter without also sending a CV. Make sure that your application letter does not duplicate your CV content. Your language can be a bit more personal than the CV's bullet points and you can take this opportunity to tell your prospective employer about your work experience and career to date.

Make a good case. Your first goal with this letter is to move on to the next step – a job interview. Your main goal, of course, is to get a job offer. Use your job application letter to further both of these admirable causes. Offer details about your experience and background that show why you are a good candidate. How have other jobs prepared you for the position? What would you bring to the position, and to the company?

Close with all the important details. Include a thank you at the end of your letter. You can also share your personal contact information, including your mobile phone number. If you'd like, mention how you will follow up at a later date.

Here's a Few Example Job Application Letters

1. Standard, Conservative Style A

This sort of letter is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing - and could even work against you.

Dear Mr. Boss,

I am writing to apply for the programmer position advertised in the Times Newspaper. As requested, I am enclosing a completed job application, details of my qualifications, my CV and three references.

The opportunity presented in this job advertisement is very interesting and I believe that my strong technical experience and education makes me the ideal applicant for this position. The key strengths that I possess for success in this position include:

  • I have successfully designed, developed, and supported live user based applications.
  • I can provide excellent contributions to enhance customer service for all your customers.
  • I strive for continued excellence.

With a BS degree in Computer Programming, I have a full understanding of the lifecycle of a software development project. I also have considerable experience in learning and excelling at new technologies as needed.

Please see my enclosed CV for additional information on my experience.

I can be reached anytime via email at jaketheflake@email.co.uk or on my mobile phone, xxxxxxxxxxx.

Yours sincerely

Signature (for hard copy letter)

Contact details including your home address and email address.

2. Standard, Conservative Style B

Dear Mr Boss,

Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30th November.

The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills.

For one course, [insert course], an understanding of your particular industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating.

I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting.

I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

I can be reached anytime via email at jaketheflake@email.co.uk or on my mobile phone, xxxxxxxxxxx.

Yours sincerely

Signature (for hard copy letter)

Contact details including your home address and email address.


3. Standard Speculative Letter

This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you're applying to.

Dear Mr Boss,

I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information.

As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team.

I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I'm flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I'm keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name].

I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities.

Yours sincerely

Signature (for hard copy letter)

Contact details including your home address and email address.

4. Letter for Creative Jobs

We've used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don't be too flashy, or it will turn off the reader.

Dear Mr Boss,

  • Confused by commas?
  • Puzzled by parenthesis?
  • Stumped by spelling?
  • Perturbed by punctuation?
  • Annoyed at the apostrophe?

Well, you're not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write really well. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can adequately read. So, they will spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it's a false economy, unless you're 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.)

To have materials properly copywritten is a minor expense. But a necessary expense bearing in mind the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers.

I can certainly help and my quotes are free and non-committal. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you'd like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours.

And if you use me you will have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling of the presses.

Luck should not come into it!

With kindest regards,

Signature (for hard copy letter)

Contact details including your home address and email address.

5. Example of sending an application by email

With email still widely used, especially in the business environmement, here's the best way to format an email job application.

Subject: Juicy Lucy - Web Content Manager Position

Dear Mr Boss

I'm writing to express my interest in the Web Content Manager position listed on fab.com. I have built up experience in constructing large, consumer-focused health-based content sites. While much of my experience has been in the business world, I understand the social value of the non-profit sector and my business experience will be an asset to your organization.

My former responsibilities included the development and management of the site's editorial voice and style, the editorial calendar, and the daily content programming and production of the website.

I worked closely with healthcare professionals and medical editors to help them provide the best possible information to a consumer audience of patients. Also, I helped physicians learn to utilize their medical content to write user-friendly, readily comprehensible text.

Experience has taught me how to build strong relationships with all departments at an organization. I have the ability to work within a team as well as cross-team. I can work with web engineers to resolve technical issues and implement technical enhancements, work with the development department to implement design and functional enhancements, and monitor site statistics and conduct search engine optimization.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

Juicy Lucy

Contact details including your home address and email address.