Writing a Job Application Letter

By Relebohile Sera

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A good job application letter may be your ticket to landing your dream job as you use it to sell yourself to your potential employer. Any recklessness on your part can result in the hiring manager not giving your application a backward glance.

While your CV outlines your work experience, skills and accomplishments; the job application letter explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected.

 

First and foremost, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include and to include the most relevant and convincing details in your application you’ll need to know what the employer wants. The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so match your qualifications with the employer’s needs and wants.

Start off your letter by adding your contact information aligned to the right. Include your name, address, phone number, email address, personal website (if you have it) and lastly the current date.

Align the next paragraph to the left and add the company’s information. Include the name of the employer to whom you are applying to, their title (search for their name either on the company website, LinkedIn or any other platform you can think of and if all else fails addressing your letter to “The Hiring Manager” will be okay), name of the company and address.

Write the subject of your letter as well as references, if indicated. An example would be RE: Application for the Mechanical Engineering Position – Reference Number: 201709BBR-SCOE43/RSBH56

Address your letter to the person whom you are writing. You want to be formal so “To whom it may concern” is informal and gives the impression that you haven’t done any research on the company. If you have the hiring manager’s name use it, but if not “Dear Hiring Manager” will do.

The body of the application letter is divided into three sections: the introduction, the body and the closing.

 

The Introduction

In your first paragraph, explain simply why you are writing. Mention the job title and company name. You can also briefly mention why you are a strong candidate better for that position. Make it a point that your first paragraph is as engaging as possible and shows the employer that you are excited to be applying for that job position. Also state where you found the position to which you are applying such as in the newspaper, via a job site, the company’s site, etc.

 

The Body

Paint a picture of yourself that’s not on your curriculum vitae by including information that’s different from what’s on your CV. Your application letter should not be a duplicate of your CV. You can also tell a narrative about your work experience and career unlike the bullet points in the CV. Your goal with this letter is to land an interview that will result in you getting a job offer thus use your letter to achieve both these goals. Offer information that shows why you are a good candidate: your educational background, experience, how other jobs have prepared you for this position and what you are bringing to this position and to the company.

 

The Closing

Finishing up your letter, give a brief summary of why you are the perfect candidate for the position,  include a thank you and also invite the hiring manager to contact you for additional documents or the interview itself.

Sign off by using “Yours Sincerely” or simply “Best”. Write your full name underneath and also consider using your signature.

It is important to note that your application letter should be no more than a page long.

View our sample job application letter.

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