Module 26: Creating Persuasive Application Letters
March 31 2012
- The purpose of a job application letter ,and your resume is to impress the recruiter enough to
want to interview you.
- You will need to write a letter if you want to work for an organization that isn’t interviewing on
campus or when you change jobs.
- Use the cover letter to provide a brief preview of your resume, focusing on
Key requirements of the job for which you’re applying, using the language in the
Skills and knowledge that differentiate you from other applicants
Language and information that demonstrates your knowledge of the
organization and the industry
Experiences expressed in transferable, marketable skills.
- Follow these guidelines to make your application letter professional:
o Create your letter on a computer. Use a standard serif font in 12 point type
o Address your letter to a specific person.
o Use the language of the organization and the industry
o Use contact or employee names if the reader knows them and thinks well of them, if
they think well of you and will say good things about you and if you have permission to
use their names.
o Always connect an experience with a resultant skill that you know the prospective
o Unless you’re applying for a creative job, use business stationery and a conservative
style: few contractions, no sentence fragments, clichés, or slang.
What Kind of Letter Should I use?
- It depends on whether the company has asked for applications
- Write a solicited letter when you know that the company is hiring: you’ve seen an ad, you’ve
been advised to apply by a professor or friend, or you’ve read online or in a trade publication
that the company is expanding.
- Unsolicited or prospecting letter When the advertised positions may not be what you want
or you may want to work for an organization that has not announced openings in your area. How are the 2 letters different?
- They begin and end differently
- When you know the company is hiring, organize your letter in this way:
o State that you’re applying for the job. Tell where you learned about the job, briefly show
that you have the major qualifications required by the ad. Summarize other
qualifications briefly in the same order you plan to discuss in the letter. This summary
sentence or paragraph then covers everything you will talk about, and serves as an
organizing device for your letter.
o Develop your major qualifications in detail. Be specific about what you’ve done, relate
your achievements to the work you’d be doing in the new job.
o Develop your other qualifications even if the ad doesn’t ask for them. Show what
separates you from the other prospects who’ll also apply.
o Ask for an interview, tell when you’ll be available to be interviewed. End on a positive
- When you don’t have any evidence that the company is hiring, organize your letter:
o Catch the reader’s interest.
o Create a bridge between the attention-getter and your qualifications. Focus on what
you know and can do. Summarize your qualifications briefly in the same order in which
you plan to discuss them in the letter.
o Develop your strong points in detail, be specific. Relate what you’ve done in the past to
what you could do for this company.
o Ask for an interview and tell when you’ll be available for interviews. End of a positive,
The first Paragraph of a Solicited Letter
- When you know that the firm is hiring, refer to the specific position in your first sentence.
- Identify where you learned about the job.
- The following first paragraph of a letter in re