How to write a job application letter

A job application letter is your opportunity to make a great first impression with a potential employer. You want your letter to be a good representation of you and what you can bring to a position. Write your letter in a clear style that is free of jargon and provides the potential employer with a good introduction to you. The purpose of the letter is to get an interview, so make a strong case for why the employer would want to make sure you are one of the people brought in.

Read the job opening description carefully. Take notes on the language that it uses to describe the job and the company. Mark any words that are repeated that should then appear in your job application letter.

Find out who will be reading the job application letter so that you can address the letter directly to that person. If the job description gives the title of the person that the job reports to, find out who is currently in that position and address the letter to her. Otherwise, find out who the human resources director is and address the letter to him. Use a gender-neutral title if possible or, if the gender is clear, use "Mr." or "Ms." with the last name.

Write an opening paragraph that explains why you are applying for the job. Include where you saw the posting and why you are a good fit for the position. Describe why you want to work for the business and what values you have that match the company's. Explain how you can help the organisation meet its goals.

Give examples of how your skills, experience and education match what the employer is looking for. Demonstrate these strengths with concrete evidence rather than just stating that you possess a particular skill. For example, briefly describe a creative solution you provided to a challenge at your last job rather than just calling yourself an innovative problem solver.

Match the job description's requirements with specific examples of your abilities and qualifications. Demonstrate how these qualifications of yours make you the best candidate for the opening and how they can help the organisation meet its objectives.

Write a closing paragraph that states your desire for an interview. Provide accurate contact information, including a cellphone number and an e-mail address. If you are including additional information, such as a resume, sample work or references, state this in your closing paragraph.

Tip

Consider adding a chart that provides a quick visual of how your skills, qualifications and education match the requirements listed in the job description. This can be a powerful visual aid to support your job application letter.

Warning

Carefully proofread your letter for grammar and spelling errors. Some employers automatically disqualify a candidate whose job application letter contains errors.

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About the Author

As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.

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