Writing an application has become a daunting task for many people especially students. Although some topics in Nigerian schools are designed to teach students how to write an application letter, they soon discover upon graduation that they have no idea how to get it done. This leads to penning down terribly worded and designed letters or paying high amounts of money to get it done. However, whether it is preparing, writing or concluding your letter, it isn’t as difficult as it seems.
While applying for a job, an application letter, also known as a cover letter, is sent along with your resume which is a summary of your educational background and work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments.
How to get started
First, you have to know what your future boss requires. This includes taking time to study the company you are applying to, what they do, what the job requirements are, and other groundwork. After reviewing the company and knowing if you have the needed attributes, make a short note of what you have to offer the company and keep it natural. Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points. Align your cover letter to the left. In Microsoft Word, select your letter and click on Align, Text, Left and ensure your letter does not exit one page.
The different sections on the letter should include: addresses, heading, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary close and signature.
Start with the address at the top
Make sure that you have the proper letterhead so that your possible employer can easily locate your address in case of a need to contact you. Your address should be on the top and must include the following:
- Full Name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Personal website
- Social media links such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter (if required by the job)
After including your contact, you should also add the employer’s title, name and company name. This is to let the employer know that the letter is being address to him/her and that you have carried out the relevant background research. The employer’s details can be sourced on their social media accounts or website.
Go straight to the point
Haven including your address and that of the prospective employer, beginning your letter with a heading that reflects the purpose of the letter. Avoid all irrelevant introductions but include a polite greeting such as “Dear Mr./Ms.” followed by the person’s last name. If you are not sure of the person’s gender, a “Dear Sir/Ma” will suffice. Don’t address it to “To Whom it May Concern” as this is informal, generic, and gives the impression that you haven’t researched the company.
Body of the letter
This section contains the details of your letter and can be divided into three different paragraphs. In the first, state the job you are applying for and where you found it. The next should include all your qualifications, strengths, and experience which are specific to the job. This would inform the employer that you are well suited for it. The final part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer. You can also request for an interview and a follow up.
Conclude your letter with the appropriate greeting. This can be: Sincerely, Sincerely yours Regards, Best regards, Yours truly etc. Always thank the recipient for their time and consideration.
The last line of your letter should include your name and a handwritten signature. If your letter is an email, just include your name and a contact information such as your phone number.