How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 2, 2020

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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.

Tips for writing a job application letter

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.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

Job application letter format

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.

  1. Your contact information

    Name
    Address
    City, State Zip Code
    Phone Number
    Email Address

    Date

  2. Employer contact information

    Name
    Title
    Company
    Address
    City, State Zip Code

  3. Salutation

    Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

  4. First paragraph

    This is where you outline where you found the job posting and your interest in applying for the role. If you have a reference from someone currently working for the company, you could address that here as well. To end this paragraph, state why you believe you would be an ideal candidate for the job.

  5. 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.

    You can also provide some specific examples of projects you’ve worked on in the past or accomplishments that are especially relevant to the job description. This would help add concrete details that could open space for discussion during interviews

  6. 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.

    Mention to the hiring manager that you’re grateful for their consideration and taking the time to read your letter. End on a note about how you’d like to follow up, either for additional questions or setting up an interview.

  7. Closing

    Sincerely/Best,

    Your signature
    Your name (printed)

Job application letter example – printed and mailed

Robin Gomez
37 Southwest Avenue
Gainesville, FL 12345
365-123-4567
robin.gomez@email.com

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 vic.caruso@email.com.

Sincerely,

Victoria Caruso
15th Avenue N
Iowa City, Iowa 52240
319-333-3333
vic.caruso@email.com

Dos and don’ts for writing a job application 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:

Dos

  • 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.

Dont’s

  • 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.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

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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