How to Write an Effective Application Letter [with Example & Tips]

please find attached my resume

By Sheila Kravitz

11 min read

An application letter is a vital document in any job seeker’s arsenal, at the same level of importance as resumes and cover letters. It’s often an applicant’s first point of contact with recruiters and hiring managers .

So, how do you write an effective job application letter to highlight your skills and experience, capture the potential employer’s attention, and increase your chances of getting a job? These are the questions that we’re going to answer in this article while also giving you concrete examples and expert tips that’ll make your letter shine.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

An application letter is a document similar to a cover letter or a resume that job seekers submit when they are interested in a role .

The document is similar to a cover letter, and it should follow business letter formatting .

Before writing an application letter, you should research the company and read the job ad to find out which skills and qualifications are needed.

An introductory paragraph should be attention-grabbing , highlighting the amount of experience you have and at least one highly impressive accomplishment.

The middle portion of the document should be all about your skills and achievements relevant to the job.

A call to action toward the end of the letter increases your chances of being invited for an interview.

What is a Job Application Letter?

how long a cover letter should be

A job application letter is a document that’s in many ways similar to a cover letter. It’s written and sent with the purpose of applying for a job . As such, it should convey valuable information about your skills, experience, and motivation for the role that you’re applying for.

However, while a cover letter is a supplementary document to a resume , a job application letter is typically a standalone document and should be sent without additional attachments. As a result, it needs to be longer and more detailed than a cover letter.

Still, an application letter should be a concise, one-page document that serves as an elevator pitch. Use it to get in touch with potential employers and make a lasting first impression that can secure you an interview and expedite the hiring process.

The Best Way to Format Your Job Application Letter

The best way to format your job application letter is to follow the business letter format and layout . This includes organizing the information in a specific way and ensuring that your document is visually clean.

Here’s how to arrange the information in your application letter:

Job Application Letter Format

Contact information

A formal salutation

A catchy introductory paragraph

The middle portion, with your skills and achievements

A closing paragraph with a call to action

A cordial letter closing with your sign-off

This is the optimal structure to follow when writing a job application letter, as it gives hiring managers the chance to see what they want to see exactly when they want to.

Now let’s see how you can create an impeccable layout for your application letter:

Job Application Letter Layout Guidelines

Your document should be one page long .

Choose an appropriate font for your application letter, like Calibri or Helvetica.

Set the font size between 10 and 12 pt.

Adjust margins to at least 1 inch on all sides.

Use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing and insert an additional line between paragraphs.

Align text to the left or use justified alignment.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Perfect Application Letter

administrative assistant resume

Let’s learn how to write an application letter for a job with a step-by-step guide that’ll show you how to craft every part of it.

#1. Research the Company

Researching the company is the first step before you even start writing your application letter . This is crucial, as your document has the best chance of garnering attention from hiring managers if it’s tailored and relevant to the position that you’re applying for.

That’s because every job is different, and even similar roles within the same industry require different sets of skills and experiences. By looking into the organization that you want to join, examining the job ad, and paying attention to the requirements, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what hiring managers and employers look for in candidates .

After that, you’ll be able to lean on those experiences, as well as the hard and soft skills that you know are necessary for the job. That’ll set you apart from other candidates with generic application letters that don’t entirely match the posted requirements.

#2. Write an Introduction

Writing a strong introductory paragraph is one of the most important steps in the process of crafting an application letter. It’s your way of grabbing the reader’s attention and persuading them to check out the rest of your document.

Hiring managers are busy professionals and sometimes merely skim through application letters , spending just a couple of seconds on each. That’s why you want the first few sentences to be as captivating as possible.

Use this paragraph to mention the position that you’re applying for, emphasize how much experience you have , and highlight one or two particularly notable accomplishments.

Here’s an example:

Introduction Example

I am writing to express my interest in the architect position at Sky Vision Inc., as advertised on your website. With more than 11 years of experience in residential design and project management, as well as a Global Award for Sustainable Architecture under my belt, I am confident that I’ll be able to contribute to your esteemed organization and lead your large-scale projects.

#3. Emphasize Your Skills & Achievements

Once you have the hiring manager’s attention, it’s time to impress them with your skills and achievements . Remember that the goal is to be as relevant as possible, so focus on those accomplishments that indicate how you are going to perform in their company should they hire you.

One of the best ways to make this part of your application letter pop is to use numbers for quantification . They add measurable value to your accomplishments, adding credibility to them and making them stand out in the eyes of hiring managers.

Let’s see that in an example:

Emphasize Skills & Achievements Example

I have a proven track record of handling more than 50 projects from inception to completion, within budget, and with no missed deadlines. One of my biggest accomplishments was carrying out a $35 million project and achieving a delivery time 13% faster than the industry standard.

#4. Say Why You’re a Good Fit for the Role

In addition to accentuating your skills and experience, you should stress that you’re the perfect person for the role you’re applying for. This builds on the qualifications that you already talked about to show potential employers how they are going to benefit from hiring you .

To achieve this goal, you can point out the moments when your previous employers prospered from your work , such as how you helped them gain new clients, boost their revenue, improve their business, and more.

Why You’re a Good Fit for the Role Example

Exceptional skills in design software like AutoCAD and Revit, coupled with a commitment to green and user-centric architecture, garnered me a 96% user satisfaction rate and an increase in the company’s repeat business by 67%.

#5. Close Your Letter With a CTA

You should take the opportunity to include a call to action (CTA) toward the end of your application letter. A CTA is a marketing term describing something created to elicit a response .

In terms of an application letter, a CTA can be an invitation for hiring managers to contact you for an interview . This one simple sentence can vastly improve your chances and secure you the next step in the hiring process.

Close the Letter With CTA Example

Thank you for your time. I would love the opportunity to discuss my qualifications over an interview and explain further how I could contribute to your organization.

Let’s put what we’ve learned into practice and check out a complete application letter example :

Application Letter Example

Application Letter Example

3 Tips for Crafting an Effective Job Application Letter

Let’s wrap it up with a couple of expert tips that’ll help you craft the best application letter for a job vacancy:

Job Application Letter Writing Tips

Show that you’re interested in the company. Mention something specific about the organization that you want to join that compelled you to apply to them in particular. That’ll set you apart from the competition, as it shows true passion and indicates that you’re already familiar with their work.

Address the reader by their name. Greeting the reader by their name creates a connection right from the get-go. It’s a great way to build rapport and show that you went the extra mile to research the company.

Write a new job application letter for every position. Don’t submit the same application letter every time you apply for a new job. Even slight modifications can still make your document look generic. For maximum chances with recruiters, your best bet is to write a new one every time.

Final Thoughts

Writing a strong application letter is a skill in and of itself. It represents a combination of research skills, communication skills , writing skills , attention to detail, and more. However, learning this ability is crucial, as it opens doors to invaluable opportunities and helps you move your career in the right direction.

Fortunately, learning to write this document is not that difficult once you understand the basics . The format and layout remain the same, regardless of the career or role that you’re applying for. One application letter sample works for any position; you just need to adapt it to suit your needs.

That’s why we’ve provided step-by-step instructions and a complete example of an application letter, arming you with all the knowledge you need. Best of luck getting the job of your dreams!

Application Letter FAQ

#1. when do you need a job application letter.

You need a job application letter when you’re applying for a role , and you want to stand out among the competition. This document serves as a testament to your skills and experience, and its goal is to portray you as a qualified candidate who’s perfect for the job.

#2. Is a letter of application the same as a cover letter?

A letter of application is not the same as a cover letter , but they share many similarities. The two documents have the same formatting, and both convey valuable information about your competence. However, a cover letter supplements your resume, while an application letter is a standalone and more comprehensive document.

#3. How do I write an application letter that stands out?

To write an application letter that stands out, focus on the skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the job that you’re applying for . Use an attention-grabbing introductory paragraph and include a call to action toward the end. Finally, leverage numbers to add measurable value to your achievements.

Sheila Kravitz

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How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

how to write an application letter for your first job

What is a Job Application Letter?

Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.

  • Writing Guidelines
  • What to Include in Each Section

Simple Formatting Using a Template

Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.

Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.

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.

Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.

Melissa Ling / The Balance

Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).

Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.

Analyze the Job Posting

To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.

The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .

Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications

Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.

Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters

Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :

Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.

Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.

Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.

What To Include in Each Section of the Letter

There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:

Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

  •   Header Examples

Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.

Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.

In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.

The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.

The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.

Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.

  • Closing Examples

Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.

  • Signature Examples

Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.

Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.

  • Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
  • Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
  • Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.

Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.

  • Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
  • Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
  • Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.

This is a job application letter sample.  Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)

Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555

August 11, 2020

Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101

Dear Mr. Smith,

I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.

I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills. 

I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)

Elizabeth Johnson

When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:

Subject Line Example

Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position

List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:

Email Signature Example

Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555

Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.

CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.

University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.


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  1. How to Write an Effective Application Letter [with Example

    A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Perfect Application Letter. Let’s learn how to write an application letter for a job with a step-by-step guide that’ll show you how to craft every part of it. #1. Research the Company. Researching the company is the first step before you even start writing your application letter.

  2. How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

    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 ...