How To Write an Application Letter (Template and Example)
Updated May 18, 2022
Published February 25, 2020
Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.
An application letter is important to include when you're submitting your resume for a job. This type of letter allows you to elaborate on your qualifications and explains why you want the position. A well-written application letter can inspire hiring managers to call you for an interview, propelling you forward in the application process.
In this article, we share the steps for writing an application letter along with a template and an example for you to use when writing your own.
What is an application letter?
An application letter, also known as a cover letter, is a document that accompanies your resume when you're applying for a job. This letter expands upon the information you have noted in your resume. It gives you a powerful opportunity to emphasize your most relevant qualifications and explain why you believe you're the best candidate for the job.
While you're not always required to include an application letter with your resume, it's always a good idea to do so. This document allows you to present a persuasive argument for why you deserve a job interview. Your application letter can also help explain your resume further, such as a long gap in employment or apparent demotion.
While a resume is confined to a concise format, your application letter provides room for elaboration. Use the application letter to its full potential to increase your chances of moving forward in the hiring process.
Cover Letter vs Resume
Formatted like a business letter
Explains your interest in and qualifications for a position with specific examples
May either be optional or required by employer
Reverse-chronological, functional or combination formatting options
Summarizes your relevant experience and achievements
Commonly required when applying for jobs
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 culture
Charitable projects the company is involved with
The name and title for the hiring manager
Read more: The Complete Guide to Researching a Company
2. Use a professional format
This 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 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 why 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 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.
Read more: How to End an Email (With Closing Examples)
Application letter template
[Your city, state and zip code]
[Hiring manager's name]
[Hiring manager's title]
[Company city, state and zip code]
Dear [Hiring manager's name],
I'm writing to express my interest in the position of [job title] at [company]. [Explain how you heard about the job and name your contact if you were referred by someone within the company.] I believe my [skills and qualifications] make me an ideal fit for this job.*
[Use the second paragraph to elaborate on how you would help the company. Reference specific campaigns or projects when possible.]
[Use the third paragraph to summarize your key qualifications. Elaborate on your most important accomplishments and include details that you were unable to provide in the more concise format of your resume.]
[Use the fourth paragraph to briefly explain why you want to work for this company. Mention the additional documents included with your cover letter, and express your excitement about moving forward in the hiring process.]
Application letter example
304 Town Ave.
Nashville, TN 37201
Jan. 8, 2020
Marketing Hiring Manager
Carter Snack Company
3049 Arthur St.
Nashville, TN 37201
Dear Mr. Sandler,
I'm writing to express my interest in the position of marketing associate for Carter Snack Company. Your sales associate Nick Caudwell referred me to this opportunity. I believe that my five years of experience in food and drink marketing make me an excellent fit for this job opening.
In my current position at Fizz Soda Company, I spearheaded several successful campaigns for new drink products. My aptitude for market analysis helped me identify key demographics to target these marketing efforts. My most successful campaign of 2019:
• Doubled product sales over three months.
• Included a commercial video that went viral, getting more than 10 million views within a week.
• Resulted in more than 5,000 new Facebook likes within a month.
I believe that I could bring this level of success to Carter Snack Company and help your upcoming summer snack food campaigns reach a fresh audience. I see great potential in marketing to a younger demographic with your snack cakes and would love to discuss the possibilities with you.
I have PCM Digital Marketing Certification, Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification and Google Analytics Individual certification. I am also a Facebook Certified Planning Professional. I have the experience and skills necessary to help your company create a strong digital presence and greatly increase your social following.
Though I have greatly enjoyed working on the marketing campaigns with Fizz Soda, I feel that I'm ready for a new challenge and am intrigued by the opportunity to help grow your smaller snack food company into a behemoth within the food and beverage industry. I've been a fan of your snack line since Nick introduced me to your distinctive chip and pretzel flavors, and I would love the opportunity to share some of your new flavors, like the Sweet Dill pretzels, with a national audience.
Please find my resume attached. References are available upon request. I look forward to meeting with you soon.
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