The application letter you send with your resume provides you with your first opportunity to present yourself to a potential employer.
It is more than just a brief cover note in which you merely introduce yourself, ask the employer to accept your application, and refer to your attached documents. Together with your resume it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself as a highly suitable candidate for the job. There are usually two types of application letters – one is a response to an advertised position or personal contact – the other is seeking to be considered for possible vacancies and is often called a ‘speculative’ or ‘cold canvas’ letter.
Notes on Application Letter Writing
* The letter is a link between your resume and the job or organisation. It is used to emphasise, to highlight or to build on information in your resume, and to convince the organisation you have skills and experience necessary to be the best applicant for the position. * Your application should be specifically tailored to each situation. * You should contact the company and find out additional information such as the name of the person to whom you need to address the letter and whether they can provide you with any additional information about the company e.g. brochures and annual reports. * Use the Library or the Internet to research additional information about the company so that you can tailor your letter specifically to the company. * As the employer might have many applications to read the letter needs to be concise and to the point. An application letter is no more than one page long. Four or five paragraphs will be needed however, to convey your essential messages (see format on the next page). * If the advertisement lists a set of selection criteria then prepare a specific reason to each of these to include with your letter and resume.
Your application letter is much more than a “cover letter” – when it is well done it: * Introduces you to the employer
* Highlights key information from your resume
* Tells the employer why they should consider employing you * Tells the employer why you are interested in them
* Invites the employer to read further to find out more, and * Convinces the employer that your worth interviewing
A possible format for your letter is as follows:
Your name and address
* Include SUBURBS in CAPITAL letters
* Use long date, e.g. 30 January 2010
The person & address you are writing to
* Include the person’s name & title if you know it, * e.g. Ms Smith, Manager
* If name & title are unknown address it to:
* Human Resources Manager, or The Managing Director
* e.g. Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Mr/Ms
Why you are writing
* In response to a job advertisement which you need to quote in detail * Seeking to be considered for any vacant positions which might become available (a ‘speculative’ or ‘cold canvas’ letter) Who you are
* Distil five lines from your resume
* Include your latest qualification or the details of the degree you are currently completing * Mention the University and any majors studied and a project or interest area if relevant Marketing yourself
* Experience/skills developed which are relevant
* Include reasons for wanting this particular job
* Why you are interested in them
* Any benefits you bring to the job or company
Other documents you may include
* Resume, selection criteria, academic record
* Provide details on how to contact you
* How, when, and where you can be contacted for an interview * Include semester, home or holiday contact and hours of contactability Closure
* Use ‘yours sincerely’ if you address the person by name * Use ‘yours faithfully’ if you don’t know the persons name * Sign the letter above your typed name
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