A Short Guide and Three Tips to writing an Application Letter that will land you a Job.
The letters that you probably need the most are application letters.
The following will give you some general tips and a few examples:
A formal cover letter for a CV (Americans say “resume”) will be very unexciting. It will look like this:
If you think this looks perfect, think again. This isn’t going to land you a job, unless you’re the only candidate on a lonely island. This letter will land straight in the bin.
Even as this letter follows all the rules of correctness, and even though the candidate has some excellent points to offer for the job, it’s not enough to make an impression.
Why not? Because it’s not special.
Tip 1: Be correct but special.
How can you be special? Simple: just show that you’re really excited about this job.
Make your opening look like this:
Dear Mr/Ms [Last Name],
I saw your job offer in the Apples & Pears Gazette and I’m really excited about it because it would allow me to use my solid experience in marketing of cosmetics in helping you grow your market of luxury hair products.
No HR Manager is going to resist that.
Note: It’s often said that you shouldn’t start your letter with “I.” Well, yes, it is a problem if your whole email/letter is full of I, me and myself. If it’s only one sentence with I, nobody’s going to mind.
However, if you’d like to avoid “I” coming first, tweak your sentence to something like this:
Your ad in the Apples and Pears Gazette has made me really excited. It made me realize my background in programming gaming apps has so much to contribute to your job of game app project manager.
I’m writing to you because your ad in the Apples and Pears Gazette has made me really excited. It made me realize my background in programming gaming apps has so much to contribute to your job of game app project manager.
According to marketing research, using the phrase “I’m writing to you because” will cause your letter to be read much more. So it might be a good idea to put it in anyhow.
Always try to find out the name of the person you’re writing to. If the HR Manager opens your letter and finds it opens with Dear Madam or Dear Sir, they won’t want to continue reading.
Tip 2: Write a letter that is especially for this job.
Never send the same letter twice. Take the time to find out some information about the company that offers the job.
Then you can write things like: “My previous job has given me experience in building and maintaining a large client base in the loan department of an international bank, and I would love to apply my persuasion skills to growing your end-user database.”
I was excited to hear that your computer helpdesk was selected as the best one in our country, because as an awarded service-oriented employee I would like to help make your helpdesk even more professional.
This email cover letter isn’t too bad (it’s taken from the internet):
Tip 3: If you’re sending your application by snail mail, make yourself stand out (be special) by sending a nice coloured envelope.
Imagine, the hiring manager is sitting at a desk that is covered with hundreds of plain white envelopes. Which is she going to open first? Did you know that if your letter is read first, you’ll be having the best chance of getting the job?
If a bright orange or pink envelope isn’t your style, you might want to try a smaller envelope (not a business envelope) with a special message on the outside. I’ve heard that it works to put: “Your special invitation is inside.” The invitation, of course, is to check you out as a new employee.
You could also try: “Your special offer.”
Again, the offer inside the letter should be that the employer can try you as a new employee. You can write something like this: You won’t be disappointed if you hire me. I can help you achieve what you need.
There’s a chance that some HR managers will not like your efforts. Too bad. However, if they do appreciate your trying to be different, you will be on your way to be the lead candidate.
Note: Your letter needs to be in perfect English. If you know you’ll make mistakes, have it checked by a native speaker. Better still, by two native speakers. Some of you have sent their letters for me to correct. I have corrected hundreds of application letters and will do this gladly. So please send me your letters. I promise they will remain confidential and I won’t publish them in this blog, or my Newsletter or anywhere else unless you give your permission.