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Writing a Winning Job Application Letter: Tips and Examples

what does an application letter contain

A job application letter, also known as a cover letter, is a formal letter that accompanies your resume and introduces you to a potential employer. The purpose of a job application letter is to highlight your qualifications, experience, and skills that make you the perfect candidate for the job. It also helps employers understand your personality, work ethic, and how you plan to contribute to their organization.

Importance of Customization

One of the key factors that can make or break your job application letter is how well you customize it to the specific job you are applying for. Employers want to see that you have taken the time to research their company and understand what they are looking for in a candidate. Customizing your letter also shows that you are genuinely interested in the job and that you are willing to put in the extra effort to stand out from other applicants.

Brief Overview of Key Sections

While job application letters can vary slightly depending on the job and industry, they typically contain four key sections:

Introduction: This section should include a brief introduction, the job you are applying for, and how you found out about it.

Qualifications: In this section, you should discuss your qualifications and experience that make you a good fit for the job. Be sure to tailor this section to the specific job requirements to show that you have the skills they are looking for.

Skills: Here, you should highlight your relevant skills and how they apply to the job. Use examples from your past experiences to demonstrate your proficiency in each skill.

what does an application letter contain

Closing: The closing paragraph should thank the employer for considering your application and provide contact information for them to reach you.

In this article, we will dive into each of these sections in more detail and provide tips and examples to help you write a winning job application letter.

Understand the Job Requirements

To write a winning job application letter, it is important to thoroughly understand the job requirements. This involves analyzing the job description and understanding the needs of the employer, as well as tailoring your letter to attract the specific employer.

A. Analyzing the Job Description

The job description provides you with valuable information about the position you are applying for. It outlines the required skills, qualifications, and responsibilities of the job. By analyzing the job description, you can determine if the role is a good fit for your experience and qualifications.

When analyzing the job description, it is important to pay attention to key phrases and requirements mentioned. These can give you insight into the priorities of the employer and allow you to tailor your application to meet those priorities.

B. Understanding the Needs of the Employer

To write a winning job application letter, it is also essential to understand the needs of the employer. This means researching the company and the industry to get a better understanding of the company culture, mission, and values. It also means understanding the desired outcome of the position and how you can address the employer’s needs.

One way to convey your understanding of the employer’s needs is to highlight relevant accomplishments in your application letter. By showing how you have successfully addressed similar challenges in the past, you can demonstrate your potential value to the employer.

C. Tailoring the Letter to Attract Specific Employer

Finally, to write a winning job application letter, it is important to tailor your letter to attract the specific employer. This means using language and examples that relate to the specific company and its values. It also means customizing your application letter to the specific job and its requirements.

To tailor your letter, take the time to research the company and its values. This can involve reviewing their website, social media, and other online resources. By addressing the specific needs and values of the employer, you can show that you are invested in the position and the company.

To write a winning job application letter, it is important to understand the job requirements, analyze the job description, understand the needs of the employer, and tailor the letter to attract the specific employer. By doing so, you can craft an application that stands out from the competition and showcases your value as a candidate.

Research the Company and Industry

Before writing your job application letter, it’s important to research the company and industry thoroughly to increase your chances of writing a winning letter. Here are three key areas to focus on:

A. Understanding the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Company

Make sure you take the time to research the company’s mission, vision, and values. This will help you understand the company’s goals and the qualities they look for in employees. You can find this information on the company’s website, social media pages or company annual report.

what does an application letter contain

Incorporate the values and mission statement of the company into your job application letter. This highlights your alignment with the company culture, and how your beliefs and goals match that of the organization’s.

B. Identifying the Company’s Competition

Once you have an understanding of the company, you need to identify the company’s competition. Knowing who the competitors are can help you understand the industry as well as the company’s market share position.

List the company’s competitors in your job application letter and briefly explain how you see the company’s strengths overcoming the competitors’ weaknesses.

C. Industry Trends and How to Address Them

The final area to focus on when researching the company and industry is identifying current industry trends and how these trends may impact the company’s future. Use reputable sources to gather trends and predictions about the industry. This will also show the recruiter that you are not only familiar with their industry, but are engaging in informed discussion and contributing to innovative solutions.

Incorporate industry trends into your job application letter and showcase the ideas and innovations you bring, how leveraging them can enhance the company’s position and how you can contribute to any current and future challenges, for which the potential employer has yet to find a solution.

By researching and incorporating the above areas into your job application letter, you demonstrate a genuine interest in the organization and showcase clear understanding, innovative thought and how your expertise can improve the company’s performance.

Know Your Strengths and Skills

When writing a job application letter, it’s crucial to understand your unique selling proposition, relevant experience, and transferrable skills. This information will help you stand out from the other applicants and potentially land the job of your dreams.

A. Identifying Your Unique Selling Proposition

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from the other candidates. It could be a specific skill, experience or personality trait that aligns with the company’s values and job requirements. Start by analyzing the job description and researching the company culture to identify what makes you an ideal candidate for the role.

Once you have identified your USP, use it as the main selling point in your job application letter. Highlight your strengths and skills and explain how they align with the job requirements and the company’s values. This will show the hiring manager that you are not just another candidate, but someone who has something valuable to offer.

B. Highlighting Your Relevant Experience and Accomplishments

Your work experience and achievements are essential in demonstrating your abilities and suitability for the job. When crafting your job application letter, focus on highlighting your relevant experience and accomplishments. Use specific examples to demonstrate how you have contributed in previous roles and how those skills could be applied to the new role you are applying for.

Be sure to use metrics whenever possible as numbers are a great way to showcase your achievements. For example, if you were able to increase sales revenue by 20% in your previous role, mention it in your letter. This will give the hiring manager a clear understanding of your capabilities and how they align with the job requirements.

C. Understanding How to Leverage Transferrable Skills

Transferrable skills are those abilities that you have gained from your previous experiences that are not necessarily related to the job you are applying for. They can be valuable in demonstrating your adaptability and ability to learn quickly.

When discussing your transferrable skills in your job application letter, highlight how they could be applied to the new role you are applying for. For example, if you have strong communication skills, explain how you could use that to effectively collaborate with team members and clients.

By understanding and leveraging your unique selling proposition, relevant experience and accomplishments, and transferrable skills, you can write a job application letter that stands out from the crowd. Remember to tailor your letter to the job requirements and company culture to increase your chances of success.

Address Gaps in Your Resume or Experience

When applying for a job, it’s important to consider any gaps in your resume or experience that might be a red flag for hiring managers. Addressing these gaps upfront can demonstrate your accountability and willingness to take ownership of your shortcomings.

A. Taking ownership of failings

If you have gaps in your work history or experience, don’t try to hide or make excuses for them. Instead, take ownership of any failings and show that you’re actively working to improve yourself. This could involve taking courses, pursuing certifications, or volunteering in relevant areas to gain hands-on experience.

B. Finding a workaround for unfilled requirements

Sometimes a job posting requires specific qualifications or experience that you don’t have. In these cases, it’s important to find a workaround that demonstrates your ability to still meet the employer’s needs. This could involve highlighting related experience or transferable skills that could compensate for the missing requirement. Alternatively, it might involve offering to take on additional training or work with a mentor to acquire the missing knowledge.

C. Highlighting transferable skills to counter an irrelevant job background

When applying for a job in a new industry or field, it’s common to have a background that might not seem directly relevant. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unqualified for the role. By highlighting transferable skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, or communication, you can demonstrate your ability to adapt to new situations and learn quickly.

Addressing gaps in your resume or experience is an important aspect of writing a winning job application letter. By taking ownership of your failings, finding workarounds for unfilled requirements, and highlighting transferable skills, you can position yourself as a strong candidate and increase your chances of landing the job you want.

Crafting an Attention-grabbing Opening Paragraph

In the competitive job market, first impressions matter. The opening paragraph of your job application letter is your opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression on potential employers. In this section, we’ll explore the importance of crafting an attention-grabbing opening paragraph and provide tips and examples on how to do so.

A. Importance of First Impressions

Studies show that it takes less than 30 seconds for a recruiter or hiring manager to form an initial impression of a job candidate. This means that your opening paragraph is a critical component of your job application letter. Your goal is to capture the employer’s interest and convince them to continue reading.

B. Creative and Engaging Opening Lines

One effective way to capture the employer’s attention is by starting your letter with a creative and engaging opening line. This can be a quote, a personal story, a relevant statistic, or a bold statement. The key is to be authentic and genuine while still standing out from other applicants.

C. Strategies for Catching the Employer’s Attention

Beyond the opening line, there are several strategies you can use to further capture the employer’s attention. These include highlighting relevant skills and experience, demonstrating enthusiasm for the position and company, and connecting your qualifications to the job requirements.

By following these tips and examples, you can craft an attention-grabbing opening paragraph that sets you apart from the competition and piques the employer’s interest.

Highlighting Your Accomplishments

When it comes to writing a winning job application letter, highlighting your accomplishments is crucial. This allows potential employers to see the proven results that you can bring to their organization. Here are a few tips on how to effectively highlight your accomplishments:

A. Demonstrating Achievements in Previous Roles

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate your achievements is by highlighting your accomplishments in your previous roles. This shows that you have a track record of success and can bring that success to your next job. When highlighting your achievements, make sure to focus on results, not just responsibilities. Instead of stating that you managed a team, highlight the specific results that you achieved as a team leader.

For example, instead of saying, “Managed a team of 10 employees,” you could say, “Led a team of 10 employees to achieve a 25% increase in sales within the first quarter.” This shows the impact you had in your previous role and gives potential employers an idea of what you can achieve in their organization.

B. Using Data to Support Accomplishments

Using data to support your accomplishments is a powerful way to illustrate the impact you had in your previous roles. This could include data such as sales figures, customer satisfaction ratings, or employee retention rates. When using data, make sure to include specific numbers and percentages.

For example, instead of saying, “Improved customer satisfaction,” you could say, “Increased customer satisfaction ratings by 15% through implementing a new customer service training program.” This demonstrates the impact you had on the organization and the value you can bring to a potential employer.

C. Highlighting Relevant Certifications and Awards

Another way to highlight your accomplishments is by showcasing any relevant certifications or awards you have received. This shows that you have taken the time to invest in your professional development and have been recognized for your achievements.

When highlighting certifications and awards, make sure to explain why they are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, highlighting your Google Analytics certification would be relevant as it demonstrates your analytics skills.

Highlighting your accomplishments is a crucial part of writing a winning job application letter. By demonstrating your achievements in previous roles, using data to support your accomplishments, and highlighting relevant certifications and awards, you can show potential employers the value you can bring to their organization.

Showcasing Your Writing Skills

When it comes to writing a winning job application letter, showcasing your exceptional writing skills is crucial to increase your chances of getting hired. Employers often look for applicants who have a way with words, can express themselves clearly, and can craft compelling content that leaves a lasting impression. Here are several ways to showcase your writing skills:

A. Highlighting experience in writing

One of the most effective ways to showcase your writing skills is to highlight your experience as a writer. This can include previous work experience in writing-related fields such as journalism, marketing, or content creation. If you have a writing degree, mention it. You can also share published articles or blog posts that you have written to demonstrate your skills in action. Highlighting relevant experience shows that you have the skills needed to excel in the role you are applying for.

B. Incorporating keywords

Incorporating keywords relevant to the job posting can also help showcase your writing skills. Employers often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes and cover letters for specific keywords related to the position. By including these keywords, you can increase your chances of getting past the initial screening process and showcase your understanding of industry-specific language.

C. Proper grammar, spelling, and tone

Finally, it’s essential to ensure that your writing exhibits proper grammar, spelling, and tone. Errors in these areas can undercut the impact of your application letter and send the wrong message to your potential employer. Take the time to proofread your cover letter and resume carefully, and have someone else review them too. Double-check for proper punctuation, spelling errors, and that your tone fits the professional context.

Showcasing your writing skills is critical when applying for jobs, particularly those that require excellent communication skills. Highlighting relevant experience, incorporating keywords, and ensuring proper grammar, spelling, and tone are strategies that can help set you apart from other applicants and make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Using Power Words and Phrases

When writing a job application letter, it is essential to use powerful words and phrases that can help you stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips to help you select the right words:

A. Selecting Strong Action Words

Action words can help demonstrate your skills and experience effectively. Use verbs that showcase your achievements and contributions to your previous roles. For instance, rather than saying you “assisted” your team, use words such as “led,” “managed,” or “initiated” to emphasize your role in driving projects and initiatives forward.

B. Avoiding Common Clichés and Buzzwords

Although buzzwords and clichés may seem tempting, they could potentially undermine the impact of your letter. Instead of using cookie-cutter phrases like “I am a team player,” try to use specific examples to illustrate your ability to work collaboratively. Also, avoid jargon that may not be familiar to the reader and opt for straightforward language that can be easily understood.

C. Crafting Impactful and Persuasive Sentences

To make your letter more impactful and persuasive, use language that emphasizes your strengths and accomplishments. Start sentences with action words and focus on the results you have achieved. Also, be specific and illustrate your points with concrete examples that demonstrate your value to the prospective employer.

When writing your job application letter, make sure to choose powerful words that demonstrate your expertise and experience effectively. Avoid using clichés and buzzwords and instead focus on crafting persuasive and impactful sentences that showcase your strengths and contributions. By following these principles, you can create a compelling letter that increases your chances of landing the job you want.

Formatting and Presentation of Your Job Application Letter

When it comes to writing a winning job application letter, the presentation and formatting of the letter are just as important as the content. Here are some tips to ensure your letter looks professional and polished:

A. Ensure consistency in formatting

Make sure your letter has a consistent format throughout. This means using the same font and font size for the entire letter. Also, ensure that the margins and spacing are consistent from beginning to end.

B. Proper use of fonts, margins, and spacing

Use a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (such as 11pt or 12pt). Be sure to use proper spacing between paragraphs and section headers. It’s important to have enough white space to make the letter easy to read, but not so much that it takes up unnecessary space.

C. Guidelines on length of the letter

Longer letters can seem rambling and may deter the hiring manager from reading the whole thing. Focus on the most important points and make them clear and succinct. Remember, your goal is to make a strong case for yourself as a candidate, not overwhelm the reader with information.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your job application letter looks professional, polished, and focused on what matters most – your qualifications for the job.

Sample Job Application Letter

Writing a winning job application letter is important if you’re looking to impress the hiring manager and land your dream job. In this section of the article, we’ll walk through a sample job application letter, analyze its strong points, and provide strategies to improve it.

A. Walk Through a Sample Job Application Letter

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the position of Marketing Manager at ABC Company, as advertised on [job board]. With over [number] years of experience in the marketing industry, I believe I have the skills and knowledge to succeed in this role and make a significant contribution to your team.

During my time at XYZ Company, I was responsible for developing and executing successful marketing campaigns that exceeded client expectations and resulted in increased ROI. My experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation have prepared me well for this role. I am highly adaptable, and I have a proven track record of implementing innovative strategies to achieve business objectives.

In addition, I am a strong communicator and collaborator, and I work well in cross-functional teams. I am confident that my skills and experience make me a strong candidate for the role of Marketing Manager at ABC Company.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

B. Analyzing the Strong Points in the Letter

The sample job application letter has several strong points:

  • The candidate clearly expresses their interest in the position and summarizes their skills and experience in the marketing industry.
  • The letter highlights the candidate’s successful track record in executing marketing campaigns and achieving business objectives.
  • The candidate demonstrates their adaptability and ability to implement innovative strategies.
  • The letter emphasizes the candidate’s communication and collaboration skills.

C. Strategies to Improve the Letter

To improve the sample job application letter, consider the following strategies:

  • Start with a strong opening sentence that grabs the hiring manager’s attention, such as a personal anecdote or a statement about the company’s mission.
  • Use specific examples of your achievements and accomplishments to demonstrate your value to the company.
  • Customize your letter to the specific job and company by conducting research and referencing relevant company initiatives or values.
  • Show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn by expressing interest in the company’s future projects or goals.

By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your job application letter and increase your chances of landing an interview with your dream company.

Writing a winning job application letter requires attention to detail, strong communication skills, and a clear understanding of the hiring company’s needs and values. By following these tips and analyzing examples such as the one above, you can take your job application letter to the next level and stand out from the competition.

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How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

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Find a Job You Really Want In

While applying to jobs, you might be asked to provide a job application letter (sometimes referred to as a cover letter) along with your resume. A resume outlines your professional skills and experience, and a job application letter explains why you are an ideal candidate for the position you’re applying to.

You can think of this as a strictly formatted professional letter that gives hiring managers a sense of your individual qualities prior to a job interview.

This article outlines the essential details and formatting for a job application letter. You’ll learn how to write a concise and engaging letter that will increase your chances of being selected for an interview.

Key Takeaways:

A job application letter can also be known as a cover letter. It is a way to introduce how your skills and experience are a good match for the job.

A job application letter should have your contact information, employer contact information, and a salutation,

A job application application letter should have an introductory paragraph, middle paragraphs that explain your qualifications, and a closing paragraph.

Use specific experiences with quantifiable results to show how your skills were successfully put into action.

Make sure to do your research and edit your letter before submitting.

How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

Tips for writing a job application letter

Job application letter format, what’s the difference between a cover letter and a job application letter, dos and don’ts for writing a job application letter.

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If you’ve ever asked for advice on the job application process, you’ve likely heard the phrase “sell yourself” a million times over. This means that you should highlight your skills and achievements in a way that will pique a hiring manager ’s interest and make them pause over your application.

You might feel overwhelmed in the grand scheme of online applications, application/ cover letters , letters of intent , and interviews. It’s a lot to balance, especially if you have no experience with any of the things listed.

Remember to take everything one step at a time and review some helpful tips for writing a polished and engaging job application letter:

Tailor the application letter to each job. Your letter should address key points in the job description from the listing, as well as how you can apply your knowledge and experience to the position. You want to emphasize why you are the best candidate for this specific job.

Don’t copy information straight from your resume. Your resume is meant to act as a formal record of your professional experience, education, and accomplishments. The job application letter is where you highlight a few particular details from your resume, and use them to demonstrate how your experience can apply to the job.

Follow the business letter format. These letters have very strict formatting rules, to ensure that they appear as professional to hiring managers. A poorly formatted letter could prevent employers from taking your application seriously.

Proofread. Hiring managers will definitely overlook letters riddled with proofreading mistakes. Read your letter several times over to fix any grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors. You could ask someone else to look over it afterwards or run it through any number of online grammar check programs.

Decide on printing and mailing your letter or sending it in an email. An application letter sent through email requires a subject line that details your purpose for writing— consider “[job title], [your name].” The placement of your contact information is also different depending on the medium . In a hard copy, this goes at the top of your letter, as a header. In an email, it goes below your signature.

The following formatting information can be used as a guideline while drafting your own job application letter, with an example for both a printed/mailed letter and a letter sent through email.

Your contact information

Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Email Address

Employer contact information

First paragraph

Middle paragraphs

This section should be about one to three paragraphs, discussing your various qualifications for the job. This is where you really emphasize what you could bring to the company and how you might fit into the work environment. It might be necessary to do some additional research about the company, to lend more specificity to your letter.

Final paragraph

Ending a cover letter might be a challenge, as you try to wrap up all the details about why you’re the most well-qualified employee on the planet. Let that confidence carry over into your concluding paragraph.

Sincerely/Best,

Job application letter example – printed and mailed

Robin Gomez 37 Southwest Avenue Gainesville, FL 12345 365-123-4567 [email protected] October 20, 2020 Ms. Martha Waters Hiring Manager Blue Swamp Publishing 27 Archer Street Gainesville, FL 67890 Dear Ms. Waters, My resume is attached in response to your advertisement for an editorial assistant . The job description aligns with my interest in editing short fiction, and I believe my experience and skills match what you’re looking for. This past year, I interned with the Editing, Design and Production department at Gator University Press. Over the course of two semesters, I interacted with academic texts at various stages before publication. I’m comfortable proofreading and copyediting manuscripts, as well as adding typesetting codes in Microsoft Word. I have also previously worked on the staff of Writers Student Literary Magazine in Jacksonville, FL , as the Fiction and Website Editor, as well as the head of the Proofreading Team. I played a significant role in the publication of six issues of the magazine, across a two year period (including print and online editions). My qualifications beyond this include experience in team-oriented settings and proficiency in creative and academic writing. I would love the opportunity to speak with you about how I can further contribute to Blue Swamp Publishing! Please feel free to contact me on my cell at 365-123-4567 if you have questions or to set up an interview. Sincerely, Robin Gomez

Job application letter example – emailed

Subject Line: Victoria Caruso – Public Relations Assistant Dear Ms. Janet Wang, I was excited when my colleague Rachel Smith told me that you were looking for a public relations assistant with a background in graphic design. She suggested that I reach out to you about the position, since I believe that my experience aligns well with what you are seeking at Trademark Agency. I worked alongside Rachel as a brand ambassador at a small graphic design company for three years, where I excelled in project management, strategy development, and client communication. This past spring, I played a significant role in designing the website for an up-and-coming multicultural women’s organization and publicizing their first few public events. Along with my experience and personal qualities, I prioritize: Expanding company recognition and designing unique brand details Managing media, press, and public relations issues for companies Developing company communication strategies Please see my attached resume for additional details about my career achievements. I hope to learn more about Trademark Agency’s goals for the coming year. You can contact me on my cell at 319-333-3333 or via email at [email protected]. Sincerely, Victoria Caruso 15th Avenue N Iowa City, Iowa 52240 319-333-3333 [email protected]

A cover letter normally is attached with a resume for a specific job opening, whereas a job application letter can be submitted independently. As already stated, a job application letter can also be known as a cover letter. Format wise, there are a lot of similarities.

However, a job application letter can also be more detailed than a cover a letter. Usually a cover letter acts a quick introduction to a resume when a candidate applies for a specific job opening.

Meanwhile, you can submit a job application letter to a company even if there are no job openings. In this case, you would provide more detail about yourself and your qualifications. Due to this, job application letters tend to be a little longer than the average cover letter.

Now that we’ve gone through the basic formatting for a job application letter and a few examples of what one might look like, how can we condense all that information into digestible pieces?

Refer to these lists of “dos” and “don’ts” to help you through your drafting process:

Explain what you can bring to the company. Consider: how is your experience relevant to what the hiring manager is looking for?

Discuss your skills. Pick out a few skills listed in your resume and describe how you have utilized them in the workplace.

Give specific examples to support your experience. Is there a major project you worked on at your last job ? Did you accomplish something significant in your previous position? Including examples of these things in your letter will add new, specific content to your application and make you more interesting.

Edit your letter thoroughly. Read your letter a couple times, pass it off to someone to look over, run it through an online grammar check. Make sure it’s free of any errors.

Don’t focus on what the job can do for you. While it might seem nice to write that a job is your dream job or that you’ve always wanted to work with a company, it can read as vague flattery. Remember, this letter is about your qualifications.

Don’t list your current or previous job description. Your education and work experience certainly have value, but don’t just list your degrees and places you’ve worked at. Explained what you learned from those experiences and how they’ve made you a strong employee.

Don’t paste directly from your resume. A job application letter is meant to add to your value as a candidate, not just reiterate the same information repeatedly. Use your resume as a guide , but expand on especially relevant details.

Don’t submit an unedited letter. Before an employer ever meets you, they see your application and your job application letter. You don’t want grammar errors and misspelled words to make a bad first impression, so make sure to edit your draft multiple times.

Armed with these tips, guidelines, and examples, you’ll be able to draft your job application letter more confidently and send them off to potential employers knowing that you’re one step closer to employment.

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Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Job

what does an application letter contain

When writing a cover letter, specific information needs to be included: a contact section, salutation, and introduction to the hiring manager, as well as information on why you are qualified for the job, a closing, and your signature. The format generally depends on how you are sending your letter. 

The goal of your cover letter is to make a case for getting selected for a job interview, so it's important to include all required information along with a compelling argument for why you would be a strong candidate for the position.

It can be time-consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort to show the company why you are a good match.

Tips on Writing a Cover Letter

The more your experience and your skills match the job description, the higher your chances of getting picked for an interview.

Don't simply repeat what's in your resume. Your resume lists your skills, but your cover letter should highlight how you have put those skills to use.

Be sure to include information in your letter about how you possess the particular skills and requirements that the employer is seeking.

Before you start writing, review cover letter examples and make sure that your letter explains how your skills relate to the criteria listed in the job posting. Looking at examples of effective cover letters will give you a starting point for creating your own letter.

Here's what to include in a cover letter to send with a resume when you apply for a job.

What to List in a Cover Letter Contact Section

When writing a cover letter to mail or upload to a job board or company website, the first section of your cover letter should include information on how the employer can contact you.

Printed or Uploaded Letter List the following information in the contact section:

Hiring Manager Name (if you have it) Title Company Address City, State Zip Code

Your Name Address City, State Zip

Email Cover Letter When you send an email cover letter , include your contact information in your signature instead of listing your contact information at the top of the message:

Your Name Street Address City, State Zip Code Email Phone LinkedIn

Here's more information, with examples, on how to address a cover letter .

Choose an Appropriate Salutation

It's important to include an appropriate greeting at the beginning of the cover letter or message. If you have a contact person for your letter, be sure to include their name in your letter.

Consider salutation examples that are appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related correspondence.

For example:

  • Dear Hiring Manager (if you don't have a contact person)
  • Dear Mr. Smith
  • Dear Ms. Jones
  • Dear Rory Dolan
  • Dear Dr. Milliard

Highlight Your Qualifications in the Body Section

The body is the most important part of a cover letter or an email message applying for employment.

The body of a cover letter includes the paragraphs where you explain why you are interested in and qualified for the posted job :

  • Why you are writing.
  • How you are qualified for the job.
  • Appreciation for being considered for the position.

Be specific by referencing the employer's job requirements as listed in the job posting in this part of your cover letter.

Include Keywords in Your Letter

Including keywords related to the jobs for which you are applying in your cover letters can help you get selected for a job interview. These are specific words hiring managers look for when considering applications.

As hiring processes have become automated, online applicant tracking systems are programmed to search for keywords.

Choose an Appropriate Closing

Make sure to close your letter  in a professional manner. Casual closings as you would write to a friend or a family member are not appropriate in a letter to a potential employer. 

  • Best regards
  • Respectfully
  • Thank you for your consideration

Add Your Signature to the Letter

Hard copies of letters should be signed by hand. Scanning your signature to include on PDFs can be a nice touch, while emails should include a professional electronic signature that includes your contact information.

Review Cover Letter Examples

Here's an example of the final product, including information on why the applicant would be an excellent candidate with a summary of his qualifications for the job. 

Download the template for a cover letter here . You can also review more  cover letter samples  with free downloadable templates to use as starting points for your own letter.

John Bigham 111 Maple Street Anytown, MA 02222 555-555-5555

September 1, 2024

Shaun Lee Human Resources Goodspring 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Mr. Lee:

I am writing to state my interest in the position of Assistant to the Director of Goodspring. I believe that my work experience and education have equipped me with the skills necessary to be a successful candidate for this position. 

During my years with XYZ Wellness, I have been responsible for everything from accounting, bookkeeping, marketing and maintaining records to scheduling appointments and greeting clients and their families at the door. I have proudly overseen our growth from a startup business to a well-respected contributor to the community. 

I have also been in charge of organizing our very successful annual golf fundraiser and dinner. Last year, we raised $145,000 for our local homeless shelter. 

Your mission is an important one, and I would very much appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute to your team and help you continue to provide the services so vital to our community. Thank you for your consideration.

John Bigham  (signature hard copy letter)

John Bigham

When you're sending an email cover letter  (see below)  your contact information should be listed after your signature.

What to Include in an Email Cover Letter

The body of an email cover letter should contain the same information as a document cover letter, but two big differences are the subject line and your contact information.

Many employers ask that specific information be included in the subject line , and you must follow those instructions carefully. Contact information should be included with your electronic signature.

What Not to Include in a Cover Letter

Some things don't belong in a cover letter. Don't go overboard. Including too much information can hinder your chances of getting an interview.

Keep your letter concise and focused, and don't include extraneous details.

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How to Write an Application Letter

Last Updated: May 6, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 174,590 times.

Application letters are typically written to accompany school or job applications. The purpose of the letter is to introduce yourself to the decision committee, and to outline your qualifications in a specific way. It can be the only time other than an interview that you have a chance to really stand out in an application, so it's important to get it right. You can learn what to include in your letter, how to style it, and how to format it to give yourself the best chance.

Application Letter Templates

what does an application letter contain

Writing a Job Application

Step 1 Say why you're writing and what you're applying for in the first sentences.

  • A good example would be: "I'm writing to apply for the Chimney Sweep position advertised in Rolling Stone. I think my experience in the heating industry makes me uniquely qualified for this position. Please find my application materials and a brief description of my qualifications below."
  • Don't write your name until the signature. It'll be in the header and in the sign-off, so there's no reason to put it in the body of the letter itself.

Step 2 Explain why you are the best candidate.

  • Be specific. Who are you? Where do you come from? What's your story? These details are important. HR screeners read hundreds of these.
  • Describe your ambitions. Where do you want to go? How will this opportunity help you get there?
  • What skills and experiences make you the right fit? Be as specific as possible and avoid vague language. It's better to describe a time you solved a specific problem at your last job than to just write, "I'm a good problem solver at work."

Step 3 Keep the tone professional.

  • Tailor it to the business. If you're applying to work at a record store, you need to talk about music. If you're applying to work at a tech company that writes, "Tell us something totally rad about yourself!" it's probably ok to be a little more informal.

Step 4 Explain how both parties will benefit from your selection.

  • Don't over-promise. Telling someone that you can guarantee that you'll be able to turn around their sales figures in six months or less is a good way to get fired in six months.

Step 5 Do some research.

  • Any kind of job requires this type of research. If you apply to a restaurant, you need to be familiar with the menu and the kind of customers the restaurant attracts. Consider eating there a few times before you apply.
  • Don't show you're familiar by criticizing a business and telling them what you can do better. Not the time to offer a harsh criticism of a business plan that you don't really know anything about.

Writing a School Application

Step 1 Address the prompt.

  • Common prompts include things like, "Outline your qualifications for this position" or "In writing, explain how this position would affect your career goals." Sometimes, the prompt will be as short as, "Tell us something interesting about yourself."
  • If there is no prompt, but you still feel the need to introduce your application with a letter, it's usually best to keep it as short as possible. Explain what you're applying for, why you're applying, and thank the contact for their consideration. That's it.

Step 2 Tell your story.

  • Often, college prompts will ask you to describe a time you struggled, or a time you overcame some obstacle. Write about something unique, a time that you actually failed and dealt with the consequences.
  • The board will get thousands–literally, thousands–of letters about someone's first mission trip, and letters about the time someone's sports team was beaten, then overcame the odds, and won again. Avoid these topics.

Step 3 Write about your future.

  • Be specific. If you're writing to a college board, don't say, "I want to go to this college because I need a degree." That's obvious. What do you want to do with it? Why? If you're applying to a business, don't say, "I just need a job." That's obvious. Why this specific job?

Step 4 Don't include stuff that's also on your resume.

  • If you're applying to schools, what do you like about the school? What faculty are you interested in? Why this school, instead of another?

Formatting Application Letters

Step 1 Keep it short.

  • If you don't get a word-count guideline, just focus on making one or two good points about yourself, and keeping it at that. No need to drone on four several pages.

Step 2 Only address the letter if you have someone to address it to.

  • Instead of a salutation, write, "Letter of Application" at the top left corner of the page, or put it in the header on the left side at the top.
  • If you do have a contact, address it to them, making sure the name is spelled correctly. Then space down and start the body of the letter. [10] X Research source

Step 3 Use a standard font.

  • Sometimes, it's appropriate to type your name, then print out the letter and sign it in pen. That can be a nice touch.

Step 5 Put your contact information in the header.

  • Mailing address
  • Telephone and/or fax number

Expert Q&A

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

  • Remember to be formal at all times. Do not use abbreviations anywhere. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

what does an application letter contain

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Write a Letter

  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-write-an-application-letter
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/tone_in_business_writing.html
  • ↑ Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Educational Consultant. Expert Interview. 18 June 2020.
  • ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/admission-letters/
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/personal-statements-and-application-letters.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/job_search_writing/job_search_letters/cover_letters_1_quick_tips/quick_formatting_tips.html
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/coverletters/

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

To format an application letter, start by including your name and contact details in the document header. When choosing a greeting, only use one if you know the person's name your writing to. Otherwise, give the document a title, like "Letter of application" at the top of the page. For the body of the letter, aim to write no more than 1 page of single-spaced paragraphs using a standard font. Finally, conclude your letter with a formal greeting like "Sincerely yours." For tips on how to write a job application letter, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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What are the contents of an application letter.

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Ideally, application letters should be no more than one page in length. When organizing your application letter, adjust marginal spacing on the top and bottom of the page so the margins will appear equal to one another when the letter is sent in the mail. For additional spacing adjustments, modify the lines between the date and name in the section containing the address of your potential employer.

Contact Information

Provide your street address. Create a new line beginning with the name of your city followed by a comma. Complete this line with your state and zip code. State names can be written out fully or you can use abbreviations instead. Stay consistent with your choice throughout the entirety of the letter, do not switch back and forth from spelling out state names to using abbreviations. Provide your email address in a new line. In the following line give your phone number with the area code first. Double space and fill in the current date. Double space again and write the name of your recipient ideally beginning with "Ms." or "Mr." if you know the gender of the recipient followed by his or her first name, middle initial, and last name. Create a new line detailing the recipient's title. In the next line write the name of the company. Complete this section by formatting the address of the company how you formatted your address previously.

Enter a salutation to greet your recipient by writing "Dear Mr. or Ms." then fill in their last name followed by a colon. In a new line write what position the letter pertains to, providing the location of the position and the name of the company the position is with. In the opening paragraph explain your reasons for professional and personal interest in the position and the company. Include details of referrals to the position or describe where you found the position listed. Write about educational degrees held and your college graduation date or dates.

In the midsection of the application letter explain your level of experience in the field. Give strong examples of your professional skills in action by describing demonstrative situations that required the application or utilization of your most desirable skills. Before you submit the letter, write out a list of these examples. Withhold some of the top examples for inclusion in follow up letters if applicable.

Choose a closing style that is reflective of your personality. Convey an active tone and show initiative by politely stating a date that you intend to follow up with the potential employer regarding your status in the application process. If you decide to select a passive tone instead, simply request that the potential employer contact you if he requires more details or information. Thank your reader for his time and consideration. Double space and complete the application letter by writing "Sincerely" followed by a comma. Double space again and type your name. Type the word "Enclosure" as a new line and sign your name in the blank space between the word "Sincerely" and your typed name.

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  • Iowa State University: Content Suggestions for Letter of Application

Lina Schofield began writing professionally in 2005. She is a professional freelance writer who has worked on a variety of projects, including the founding of the quarterly publication "Propaganda." Schofield also has been published in several student collections. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English at University of Wales Trinity Carmarthen.

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IMAGES

  1. 7 Application Letter Samples

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  2. Cover Letter Format: How to Format Your Cover Letter in 2023 (2023)

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  3. How to Write a Job Application Letter? (30 Best Examples)

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COMMENTS

  1. How To Write a Cover Letter (With Examples and Tips)

    Middle paragraph (s) Closing paragraph. Letter ending and signature. Your cover letter should be one page long and use a simple, professional font, such as Arial or Helvetica, 10 to 12 points in size. Your letter should be left-aligned with single spacing and one-inch margins. Show Transcript.

  2. How to Write a Letter of Application (Example & Tips)

    No hard numbers. "I worked in a team and provided customer service to elderly residents". 5. Choose engaging words for your application letter. Your letter of application's length should be 250 to 400 words or 3 to 4 paragraphs — long enough to get your point across but short enough that the reader won't lose interest.

  3. How To Write an Application Letter (With Template and Example)

    Follow these steps to compose a compelling application letter: 1. Research the company and job opening. Thoroughly research the company you're applying to and the specifications of the open position. The more you know about the job, the better you can customize your application letter. Look for details like:

  4. What Is a Cover Letter? (And What To Include in One)

    A referral can help you distinguish yourself during the hiring process. Consider sending a copy of your referral cover letter and resume to the person who referred you to keep them updated on your application process. 3. Letter of interest A letter of interest is a cover letter that inquires about job openings at a company where you want to work.

  5. Application letter: definition, tips and a sample you can use ...

    Note down the top keywords to use in your letter to tailor it to the job. Creating a draft of an application letter can help you craft your sentences correctly and notice information that you find lacking as you craft it. 2. Create an outline for your letter. You should divide your application letter into three essential parts: the introduction ...

  6. Letter of Application: Job Example, Format & How-To Guide

    Format of an Application Letter. Create enough spacing: 1-1.15 between lines, 1-inch margins, double space between paragraphs. Choose the font: Garamond, Helvetica, or Arial in 11-12 points in a font size. Align the content to the left. Pick the file format: PDF, unless the recruiter requested a Word file specifically.

  7. How to Write an Effective Application Letter [with Example & Tips]

    A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Perfect Application Letter. Let's learn how to write an application letter for a job with a step-by-step guide that'll show you how to craft every part of it. #1. Research the Company. Researching the company is the first step before you even start writing your application letter.

  8. How to Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

    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) and font size to style and letter spacing .

  9. Writing a Winning Job Application Letter: Tips and Examples

    A job application letter, also known as a cover letter, is a formal letter that accompanies your resume and introduces you to a potential employer. The purpose of a job application letter is to highlight your qualifications, experience, and skills that make you the perfect candidate for the job. It also helps employers understand your personality, work ethic, and how you plan to contribute to ...

  10. Job Application Letter Format and Writing Tips

    Don't copy your resume: Your job application letter is a sales pitch. Don't regurgitate your resume; instead, use this document to sell the hiring manager on your skills. Tailor your application letter to the job: Match your skills and qualifications to the job description, highlighting those that make you an ideal candidate.

  11. What to Include in a Cover Letter (& What to Leave Out)

    A great cover letter consists of the following components: 1. Your name and contact information in a header. The hiring manager needs to have your contact information. Without these details, they have no way of inviting you for an interview. The most eye-catching way of adding your contact information to your cover letter is by creating a large ...

  12. Job Application Letter: Examples, What to Include & Writing Tips

    It means that you need to provide the following information: Your personal info (name, email, phone number/LinkedIn) Date written. The recipient's info (name, job title, email, company address) Example of an application letter header: Kaylee Tran. 9215 Fremontia Ave, Fontana, CA 92335.

  13. How to Write an Application Letter (With Tips, Template and ...

    The following steps show you how to write a job application letter that impresses employers and boosts your chances of interviewing: 1. Review keywords from the job listing. Review the job listing and take note of keywords and phrases that employers integrate into the job requirements. Use keywords you see in the job description to provide ...

  14. What to Include in a Cover Letter in 2024 + Examples

    Your cover letter greeting is where you formally address your letter's recipient, in this case, a recruiter, hiring manager or employer. You should include the following details in this exact order: The date. The recipient's name and job title. The recipient's address. A formal greeting for the recipient ("Dear Ms. Jones") 3.

  15. What Are the Parts of an Application Letter?

    It's a letter of introduction, in which you give the employer a taste of what you are capable of and what you can do for their company. Tailor the parts of the application letter - greeting, opening, body, company knowledge and closing section - to the individual position you're applying for, and you'll be successful in getting calls ...

  16. How to write an application letter (with example)

    At the top-left of the page, begin with your contact information, including your name, location, phone number and email address. Include the date on the line below. Next, address the letter to the hiring manager or the appropriate recipient, using a formal greeting such as Dear [Hiring Manager's Name].

  17. How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

    An application letter sent through email requires a subject line that details your purpose for writing— consider " [job title], [your name].". The placement of your contact information is also different depending on the medium. In a hard copy, this goes at the top of your letter, as a header.

  18. What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Job

    When writing a cover letter, specific information needs to be included: a contact section, salutation, and introduction to the hiring manager, as well as information on why you are qualified for the job, a closing, and your signature. The format generally depends on how you are sending your letter. The goal of your cover letter is to make a ...

  19. 7 Key Components of an Effective Cover Letter

    A great cover letter uses a logical progression of ideas to advertise your skills. There are seven sections that every cover letter should include to fit employer expectations and highlight your best qualities: 1. Header. All cover letters start with a header that includes your contact information. People often use the same header for their ...

  20. 4 Ways to Write an Application Letter

    Use a formal closing. When you get to the end of your letter, add a space, then include a closing, like "Sincerely" and sign your name. [11] Sometimes, it's appropriate to type your name, then print out the letter and sign it in pen. That can be a nice touch. 5. Put your contact information in the header.

  21. How to write the perfect cover letter (With examples)

    1. Begin by introducing yourself. To start your cover letter, introduce yourself. This means including your full name, your specific interest in the position and the reasons you've chosen to apply. If you got a referral to the job from another party, ensure to mention this in the first paragraph. 2.

  22. What Are the Contents of an Application Letter?

    Main Body. In the midsection of the application letter explain your level of experience in the field. Give strong examples of your professional skills in action by describing demonstrative situations that required the application or utilization of your most desirable skills. Before you submit the letter, write out a list of these examples.

  23. Application Letter vs. Cover Letter: Definitions and Differences

    Application letters don't contain any attachments since they're submitted as a standalone document. Educational purposes While individuals mostly use cover letters and resumes to apply for jobs, you may use an application letter to apply for an academic program or internship. It can express your interest in the program, then give insight into ...