The Successful Application Letter
Your CV should be accompanied by a letter of application, and these two items form a package. The letter has a number of purposes:
- It allows you to sell yourself by pointing out key features of your CV.
- It gives you the opportunity to include material that is not in the CV, especially personal qualities that you listed when making your preparations.
- It shows a prospective employer that you know how to write a letter. While this may be of decreasing importance in an electronic age, many employers still value it highly, both as a skill in its own right and as a test of your ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
What should go in it?
The letter of application should follow the general guidelines for all business letters. It should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.The introduction: In the introduction you should detail the job you are applying for, and, if relevant, the circumstances that have led to this (for example an advertisement, or the recommendation of an agency).
The body: The body of the letter provides you with an opportunity to present yourself to the employer:
- Tell the reader about your present job and why you are looking to move on.
- Explain why you are suitable for this job
- Emphasize the skills you have which make you particularly suitable for the job
- List briefly the personal qualities you would bring to it
- Answer any specific questions posed by the advert or job details
It is important not to write too much, however. Two, or at most three, short punchy paragraphs are much more effective than two sides of rambling prose.The conclusion: The conclusion should round the letter off, leaving the reader with a positive image. It should sum up briefly the selling points made in the body of the letter, mention any items (including the CV) you are enclosing, and express willingness to provide any further information that the reader may want.