It has become increasingly necessary for job seekers to submit an application letter alongside their resume during the job application process.
But why is this so important?
First, attaching an application letter helps to set you apart from other applicants and research has shown that about half of recruiters reject job applications without application letters.
So if you're currently job hunting and want to increase your chances of having your resume read and landing an interview, then you need to learn how to write the perfect job application letter.
Now we understand that writing application letters every single time you're applying for a new post can be exhausting. Some of these job openings have a really short application window, leaving you with little to no time to craft out something good from scratch. That is why we have created the perfect job application letter template for any position with a sample you can swipe in a minute.
An application letter is a document that can either be attached to your resume, sent in the body of an email or sent as a standalone document to a potential employer, with the sole purpose of expressing your interest in an open job position.
A well-written application letter should give the reader a good reason why you should be called in for an interview and must also highlight key skills and qualifications that make you a great fit for the role being advertised.
Aside from showcasing your job-worthy qualifications, an application letter is a great way of showing your personality and familiarity with the company you're applying to. Feel free to mention your professional goals and aspirations and how they align with the company goals.
When writing a job application letter, you are expected to follow a business letter format. There's also a slight difference when formatting depending on the medium through which it will be sent.
Here are three easy steps on how to format a job application letter
Use a professional format- you must keep your application letter professional and precise. This means that your document must include single line spacing, one-inch margins and left alignment. Avoid using fancy fonts and stick to more traditional ones like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Your font size should be between 10 to 12 points and keep the letter one page long.
Create the heading- use a formal business letter heading if you are submitting a hard copy application. This includes your name and contact information, the date, company name and address. Example of the header:
[Your phone number]
[ Your email address]
[Name of hiring manager]
[Title of hiring manager]
Including your contact information, makes it easy for the hiring manager to follow up with you regarding the job.
The major difference between formatting a hardcopy application letter and an email is in the heading. For an email, you'll need to include a catchy subject line that clearly states your purpose for writing. This will determine if your email gets opened and is read. A simple email application subject line would be "Videographer - Michael Williams". And unlike in a hardcopy version where your contact information is written at the top of the letter, with email, you can place it below your signature.
Address the letter to the hiring manager- Find out the name of the person in charge and address the letter to this person using a common business greeting like Dear Mr/Mrs and their Last Name. If you don't know their gender and which pronouns to use, you can write your greeting as "Dear First and Last Name". And if you're unable to find their names, a simple "Dear Hiring manager will work just fine.
When writing an application letter, make sure to incorporate the following tips to increase the effectiveness of your letter.
1 . Always send an application letter
You should always send an application letter with your resume for every job you're applying for unless the job ad specifically says not to send one. An application letter helps the employer to learn more about you than they would have from reading just your resume and it also sets you apart from other applicants.
2 . Use keywords
Most job postings will include skills and abilities that they expect candidates to possess. Review the job posting to find out these keywords and incorporate them into your application letter to show the employer that you're a good fit for the role.
3 . Emphasize your skills and abilities
While your resume contains information on your skills and qualifications, an application letter offers your more room to sell yourself as the best candidate for that position. Instead of just listing your skills and accomplishments, give specific examples of how you applied your skills and abilities to situations that benefited the organisation.
For example instead of saying "I managed website content for ABC for 2 years" you can say " I created a content calendar consisting of four SEO-optimized articles per week for ABC's website which saw a 50% increase in organic traffic within 3 months"
4. Keep it brief
While sharing your skills and accomplishments, don't forget to only mention the important stuff and keep it short. Your application letter should be a page long, so focus on mentioning only those things that relate to the position you're applying for.
5. Proofread the letter
Don't be in such a hurry to write and submit your application letter without proofreading and editing. Maintain your professional approach by making sure that your letter is error-free. Check for spelling mistakes, punctuations and proper spacing before you click the send button.
If you find yourself struggling with what to say in your application letter, you're not alone. Here are the key things to mention in your application letter.
1 . Express your interest
In the first paragraph of your letter, you're expected to express your interest in the role being advertised. Make sure to convey your enthusiasm through your words. The hiring manager should be able to tell from the tone of the letter that you're excited about working with them and that this is not just another routine letter that you're sending to every other company.
❌ "In response to your job ad for a Graphic designer, I would like to indicate my interest in the position"
✔️ "As a lifelong enthusiast of ABC's marketing initiatives, I was thrilled to see your posting for the position of a Graphics designer in your marketing team".
2. List your experience and qualifications
Right after you have shown interest in the job being advertised, mention your skills, experience and qualifications in a way that aligns with the company's mission and goals. For example, if the role you're applying for is in the financial sector, you can emphasize how you have worked within the accounting department at your previous job.
3. Mention your best personality traits
While maintaining a professional approach, don't forget to mention your best personality traits that show your potential employer that you're friendly and easy-going. If the job requires you to work with a team, you can explain how you value community spirit.
4. Express appreciation
Before your sign off your letter, remember to appreciate the hiring manager for taking out time to read what you have written.
5. Close the letter
Avoid focusing on how much you need the job and instead place emphasis on what you have to offer. Also, avoid repeating cliche phrases like " thanks for your time and consideration" instead close with a promise. A simple way to go about this is to tell the hiring manager that you're looking forward to an interview with them so you can discuss how your knowledge and experience can help them achieve the company's future goals.
To sign off, instead of using "Sincerely" you can replace it with other synonyms like " Best regards", or "Respectfully yours".
6. Add a postscript
All of the above are must-haves in your application letter but this last one is optional. Adding a postscript is a special trick that some people use. The postscript P.S screams "important information that you cannot miss" it draws the reader's attention and leaves them wanting more, hence earning you at least a callback or an interview. You can use this to tell the hiring manager something impressive about your career and say that you'd like to share more details if they are interested.
There are three ways you can send your application letter, you either submit it through the company’s recruitment portal or via email or a hardcopy alongside your resume in an envelope to the physical address of the company.
Since most companies now digitize their application processes, sending a job application letter through email has become the most popular option. When sending via email, make sure to use a subject line that contains your name and the position you're applying for.
Job Application Letter Template
Contact Information (if you are submitting a hard copy. Not necessary for online applications)
Employer's Contact Information (if you are submitting a hard copy. Not necessary for online applications)
Dear Mr/Ms Last Name or Dear Hiring manager (if you don't have the name of the person in charge)
Body of Application Letter
The body of your application letter is where you show your interest in the job, the position you're applying for, and mention solid reasons why the employer should grant you an interview. It should include about three to four paragraphs and not be more than one page long.
First Paragraph - mention where you saw the job posting, include the name of a mutual contact where applicable, and express your interest in the position
Middle Paragraph- this paragraph can be broken down into two, and for easy comprehension, you can use bullet points to state and explain your experiences and accomplishments.
Final Paragraph- thank the hiring manager for reviewing your letter and including follow-up information.
Sincerely, Best regards
Your Signature (for hardcopy)
Cassandra Ejiro (if you are submitting a hard copy. Not necessary for online applications)
17 DLA Road
Asaba, Delta State
21 July 2022 (if you are submitting a hard copy. Not necessary for online applications)
Human resource manager
Vienna Int'l Hotel
Warri, Delta State
Dear Mr Obi,
I was thrilled when I came across your job ad for the post of a social media manager on MyJobMag and I decided to give it my best shot.
Looking at your company's ongoing project to launch new community bus terminals, it is obvious that a social media campaign would be a great way to create awareness for the brand, attract potential sponsors and connect with your customers at the grassroots level. I believe I have just what you need to bring this campaign to life.
I've worked as a content manager at New Media group where I had the responsibility of overseeing research, writing, editing and publishing of the company's blog posts. I was also in charge of handling three social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which I successfully grew to above 5000 active followers on each platform within 3 months of consistent posting.
I also have:
Expertise in WordPress, Facebook and Instagram ads
Basic graphic design skills like creating simple picture graphics and slides best for Instagram posts
Feel free to reach out to me at your convenience to discuss your company's goals and needs in the coming year. You can reach me on 0912345678.
PS: I would love the opportunity to show you how I generated new customer leads from the comments section of the New Media Twitter handle in just a month, using my 30-day content creation calendar.
Now that we know how to write an application letter, it is time to start applying for the right job vacancies in Kenya.