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An application letter, commonly referred to as a cover letter, is an attachment to a resume. The purpose is to increase your chances of being called for job interview. To do this, your letter must be convincing and organized. If your letter is poorly written, the reader will most likely skip over your resume, and your qualifications will not matter to them. Essentially, this letter is your first and only chance to make an impression. By the end of this letter, you reader will know whether they will be placing your resume in the stack of people to call, or the stack that will be taken out with the trash in the afternoon.

What Makes a Great Letter of Application?

When you are creating your letter of application, it is important to be selective about the information you include. You should choose the best points of your resume, with a maximum of three points. These should be the most interesting points you can highlight to a potential employer. These points will be included in paragraphs that are well-developed and thoroughly thought through and well planned out.

The skills you should choose are ones that will benefit the company you are applying to. These skills will be the ones that have benefitted your previous employer and will benefit your future employer.

This Letter of application should:

  • Single spaced, leaving one space between each paragraph.
  • Be at least one full page (longer if you have many years of experience and a lot of skills with a proven track record).
  • Have carefully chosen words with no fluff – pack a lot into a small space. Each word must count and be used in an effort to show that you are the most qualified candidate they will meet for the open position.

Different Parts of an Application Letter

There are six different parts to an Application Letter.  Each part must be carefully thought out, free of fluff and grab the attention of your reader. The information should be presented as confident and must be factual.

Inside Address – The inside address should include the title, organization and mailing address. Make sure to spell the name correctly to make sure you do not offend the recipient. If you do not know who this will be, call the company before you address the letter to ensure you are sending it to the right person.

Salutation – You should begin your letter with “Dear” followed by the hiring manager’s title and last name. You should end this line with a colon, not a comma.

4 Paragraphs Minimum – Your letter of application should contain an introductory paragraph, an education paragraph, an employment paragraph, and a concluding paragraph.

Complimentary Close – In a complementary close, it is important to keep it professional, yet open.  Common closers used in this type of letter are Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours sincerely, Yours very truly, and Very truly yours.

Signature – In this part of the letter, you should type your full name. This should be four lines below the complementary close. Once you print the document, use a pen to sign your name a between the complementary close and the typed version of your name.

Enclosure Line – The enclosure note refers to your resume, which is another important aspect of the employment application.

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