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Writing Your Job Application Letter

The Job Application Letter...is...your first interview.

When applying for employment by mail a job application letter must accompany your resume. Often times an employer may be flooded by perhaps a stack of a hundred or more resumes on any given day. In such situations, getting an interview can represent a major break-through for the job applicant. The job application letter you write can and should be used to substitute for that all-important interview that you may not otherwise get, regardless of your qualifications. So, construct it wisely. Resumes at best part put forth only a rather simple table of data depicting your past work history and educational background for a potential employer's scrutiny. Lacking in a resume are many individual nuisances important to employers regarding the people they are about to add to their organization. Surveys of personnel directors of the five- hundred largest organizations show that the vast majority (over 80%) have agreed or strongly agree that they want to know:

  • Your personality. What you are like and what you will be like as an employee?
  • Why have you chosen to apply for employment with this particular company?
  • What job are you specifically seeking?
  • What makes you feel that your education or past experience relates to that job?

Planning your job application letter:

Think of your job application letter as being constructed of three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The purpose of the introduction is to specify why you are writing and to say a few things about yourself, such as, where you are going to school and your major. The introduction gives you the opportunity to praise to the company for some specific quality it posses. This praise can serve to answer the silent question as to why you have chosen their company and also allows you to subtly display a personality technique that most people enjoy greatly, the ability to convey the feeling "I know you and I like you." Caution though, praise must be specific because general praise has a tendency to sound insincere. The best line of praise should be to something in the company directly related to your line of work. Sometimes uncovering these facts can require a bit of research, please remember to learn the name and position of your intended reader.

The body of your letter should be use to answer any questions your employer might have about how you feel that your education and background pertain to the job you are seeking. Here you want to draw connections from your past experiences and education to the specific skills required for the job you are seeking.

In planning your letter's conclusion you must decide exactly how you intend to follow up your letter. Will you call within a specified period of time or will you await a telephone call or letter? You must bring the letter to a cordial but brief close. You must sound confident, yet never pushy. All ways ask for a follow-up interview. Remember, the letter you are sending along with your personal resume is your proverbial "foot in the door" with any would-be employer and often has to serve as your initial interview. Polish it carefully.

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