What is a Letter of Application?

Tips for Writing a Letter of Application With Examples

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A letter of application, also known as a cover letter, is a job application document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience.

The letter of application is intended to provide detailed information on why are you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Effective application letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences.

Your application letter should let the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow up.

Letter of Application Tips

Read below for advice on writing a strong letter of application.

  • Always write one. Unless a job application 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 send one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow any directions (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 the official 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.
  • 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. 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 even consider asking a friend or career counselor to read the letter. Proofread any grammar or spelling errors.

What to Include in a Letter of Application

When writing an application letter you should include:

Subject (for an email letter)
List the job you are applying for and your name in the subject line of your email message, so the employer is clear as to what job you are interested in and who you are. If this is a traditional letter, include a heading with your name and address, the date, and the employer’s name and address.

If you are sending your letter via email as an attached document, title the document with your name and the job title.

Begin your letter greeting with "Dr./Mr./Ms. Last Name." If you do not know the employer's last name, simply write "Dear Hiring Manager" or leave the greeting off the letter and start with the first paragraph.

Body of Letter

  • First ParagraphExplain why you are writing - mention the job you are applying for and where you found the listing.
  • Middle Paragraph(s): State what you have to offer the employer - mention why your skills and experiences are a good fit for the job. For each skill or quality you mention, provide a specific example.
  • Last Paragraph: Say thank you to the hiring manager for considering you and note how you will follow up.

End your cover letter with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.

Also Known As: job application letter, cover letter, application letter

Read More: Job Application Letter Examples

Related: Guidelines for Writing Application Letters | Job Application Letters – A-Z | Sample Resumes

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