A job application letter, also known as a cover letter, should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.

Further, an application letter is a standalone document submitted to a potential employer to express interest in an open position. The document elaborates who one is as a professional and individual. Also, the purpose of making the letter is an application to fill a job in accordance with the vacancies offered.

Alternatively, the application letter contains a resume of information on a person’s skills. And also, the experience for consideration by recruiters who follow up on the application selection process. For better experiences, document management systems can help one manage the documents safely and are also environment-friendly.

A good application letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume. On the other hand, a poor application letter might mean that the application is going directly to the paper shredder. So, to ensure that this does not happen, it is essential to know how to draft a convincing cover letter by using any online proofreading tools for error-free sentences. In the application letter, one must introduce and promote oneself properly without making it up. Further, in the application letter, one may want to show one’s familiarity with the company to which one is applying. Thus, one should attach an effective cover letter to the well-written professional resume. The result us that the cover letter will quickly show the recruiters that one is both qualified and a great fit for the role.

Purpose of an application letter

A good application letter persuades the employer your qualifications match their needs, plus:

  • Shows you did research and take the job seriously.
  • Proves you understand the challenges of the company.
  • Reflects that your vision aligns with their goals.
  • Presents how your skills and experience are a solution.

Ultimately, a good cover letter should be all about “why should we hire you” and “what’s in it for us.” The winning tactic here is focusing on them, not just on you, which will ultimately make you stand out from other applicants. And that’s why it’s worth spending time writing a solid cover letter. 

How to write an application letter

Follow these steps to compose a compelling application letter:

1. Research the company and job opening

Thoroughly research the company you’re applying to and the specifications of the open position. The more you know about the job, the better you can customize your application letter. Look for details like:

  • Recent awards the company has received
  • Major accomplishments or distinguishers that set this business apart from competitors
  • Specialized certifications, skills or knowledge that are necessary or helpful for the job
  • The size of the company
  • The company’s culture
  • Charitable projects the company is involved with
  • The name and title for the hiring manager

2. Use a professional format

This l application letter should follow a professional format and include your name, your contact information, the date and the company’s information. Begin with a professional salutation, such as “Dear X,” and address the hiring manager by name whenever possible. If thorough research doesn’t yield the hiring manager’s name, you may use “Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,” to address your recipient.

3. State the position you’re applying for

Open the application letter with a clear statement about the position you are applying for. Mention the company by name. You may want to specify where you saw the job posting. If you were referred by someone at the company, be sure to include their name and position.

4. Explain why you’re the best fit for the job

In one or two impactful sentences, explain why you’re the best fit for this job opening. Provide clear details regarding your experience, skills, education or certifications.

5. Summarize your qualifications

Mention the top qualifications that make you a good fit for the job. Provide a brief summary of your background that highlights the most important points from your resume. Consider what you want the hiring manager to know first. The reader will likely read your cover letter before reviewing your application, so this is your opportunity to make a compelling argument for why the reader should review your resume.

6. Mention because you want the job

Include a personal statement about why you want this position. You’ve already explained why the company should want you. This section details why you have chosen this company and what excites you most about this job opportunity.

7. Include a professional closing

Thank the reader for reviewing your application letter, reference your resume and any other attached documents and offer to provide additional information as needed. Mention that you look forward to the next steps in the hiring process and conclude with “Sincerely,” as a closing.

The format of an application letter

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 name]

[Your city]

[Your phone number]

[ Your email address]


[Name of hiring manager]

[Title of hiring manager]

[Company name]

[Company address]

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 are 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.

Best tips for writing an application letter

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 organization. 

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. 

What to say in a job application letter

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.  

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. 

How to send a job application letter

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.