Essential Tips: Writing a Job Application Letter

Chapter 6  gives ideas for style, format and content of application letters or letters to accompany your application.

The problem with most application letters is that they tend to be repetitive. Below is a sample from this chapter giving a suggested format.

Letter to accompany your résumé

To avoid being repetitive use a general template something like this and write a paragraph on each if these.

  • Your motivation – why you want the job with this particular firm or agency.  What interests you about them – their work or projects, and how it fits in with your career plans.
  • Some background information – previous relevant experience, qualifications, study.
  • Your specific skills that relate to the position. See the Duties and work-related requirements and stick to the main ones. You could use a short dot-point list.
  • What you can contribute to the organisation. Be guided by the duty statement.  What is the most relevant think you can do for them? Remember, they are more interested in what you can do for them, than where you have been all your working life. THIS is where you add a small paragraph that refers to the Capabilities required in the Job Description Form.
  • Relevant Personal Qualities.  Don’t go overboard; pick the most important ones for this position. E.g. “I am a creative thinker who uses imagination and initiative and will enjoy designing your PR documents.”
  • How your values match theirs. Examine their website for there values and reference them in your letter. This is especially important for applications in faith-based organisations.
  • Anything special or unusual about you that makes you more suitable than others.
  • Your availability for interview

One or one and a half pages is usually enough, but they might specify a page limit.  If they say, “no more than four pages” they are looking for more detail, or examples that demonstrate you have the skills needed.

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