How To Write a Job Application Letter Step by Step

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 10, 2022

Published May 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An application letter provides more details about you and your interest in a role. Sending an application letter with your resume helps you stand out and improves your likelihood of securing an interview. In this article, we explain what an application letter is, how to write one, and provide tips for writing your own. We also provide a template and sample to guide you.

What is an application letter?

An application letter is a document that expresses your interest in a position. This document describes your personality and background as an individual and a professional. The purpose is to convince hiring managers that you have the required qualifications and are the best fit for the position.

Application letters enable you to impress potential employers and show them that you're familiar with the organization. It's also an opportunity to express how your goals align with those of the company. Although employers may not always ask for an application letter, include one with your resume whenever possible.

Related:

  • Is a Cover Letter Necessary? Reasons to Include One

  • 8 Powerful Ways to Start a Cover Letter (With Examples)

  • How To Write a Job Application Email (With Templates and Tips)

How to write a job application letter

Follow these steps to write an engaging application letter:

1. Research the company and position

Application letters must be unique to the company and position you're applying for. Before you begin writing one, research the company and position. Check the company's website and job listing to understand what the role entails. Then compare your qualifications with the job posting requirements. Your application letter should contain pertinent details about the company to inform a hiring manager you prepared and reviewed information before writing.

2. Start by expressing your interest in the position

Write an engaging and easy-to-read introduction to capture the hiring manager's interest. Include the job title and where you found the posting. Mentioning your interest in the specific role helps your reader understand that your cover letter isn't a generic or copied template. Consider including information that immediately connects you with the company.

3. Mention your qualifications and experience

After writing your introduction, highlight your skills, qualifications and experience in your application letter. Position this section to align with the company's goals. For example, if you're applying for an electrical engineering role, express how your experience as an electrician can help an organization reach its electrical testing targets.

Related: How to Describe Your Work Experience on a Resume

4. Describe your personality

While an application letter should have a professional tone, making it friendly appeals more to your reader. Brainstorm ways to include aspects of your personality so your reader understands how and why you're a good fit for their organization. For example, if you're applying for a cashier role, explain that you're outgoing and value integrity because you understand your position requires those personality traits.

Related: Why Are Soft Skills Important? (With Definition and FAQs)

5. Appreciate the reader

Before you close your application letter, thank the reader for considering your application. Hiring managers take time to review several application letters, so appreciating them is the polite approach. You can briefly recap your strengths in this section.

6. Close the letter

While people often use "Sincerely," any professional sign-off is acceptable. After writing the sign-off, include your full name. Your contact details should be beneath your name if you're submitting an email. Otherwise, provide a handwritten signature above your printed name.

Tips to remember when writing an application letter

Use these tips to craft the perfect application letter:

Be concise

Application letters should be brief and easy to glance through. While it may seem tempting to include a lot of details, hiring managers likely don't have time to read multiple pages. Keep your application letter to one page and include only the most relevant details that support your application.

Proofread your application letter

Your application is often your first contact with hiring managers and writing it well leaves a good impression. Share your finished document with a friend, family member or career coach and ask for their opinions. If they have time, ask them to them proofread and edit your letter before you submit it. They may spot errors or offer suggestions to make it easier to read that you wouldn't have noticed yourself.

Related: What Is an Application vs. Cover Letter? (With Examples)

Convey enthusiasm

Since your application letter is an opportunity to convince hiring managers you're the best candidate, be sure to exhibit enthusiasm for the position. Express your excitement, understanding of what the job entails and desire to be considered for the position.

Use keywords from the job posting

Many job listings include requirements that hiring managers expect in an application letter. Circle out keywords that you see in job postings and include them in different sections of your application letter.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter for a Government Job in 5 Steps

Focus on the future

Unlike your resume, your application letter should focus on how you can contribute to an organization. Leave out information about your past employers if it doesn't relate to how you can benefit the company.

Emphasize your qualifications

Hiring managers look for candidates who can solve problems and help the company reach its goals. They also need employees who can learn quickly and are adaptable to the organization's culture. When writing an application letter, make sure you sell yourself. For example, if you're applying for a role as a physician, mention how you understand the healthcare facility's goal to achieve 100% patient satisfaction. You might then talk about how your interpersonal experience and skills as a doctor can help the facility reach its target.

Make it original

While you can use some aspects of your resume to write your application letter, try not to use direct excerpts. Most hiring managers read both documents back-to-back. It's also important to decide whether to send an email or a hard copy before writing the first draft.

Use a professional format for your application letter

When writing an application letter, use a professional font type. Choose fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial in plain black. Choose between 10 and 12-point font and use single spacing alignment.

Your application letter should have a professional business heading that includes your name and contact details. Write the date, company name and its address. Using these professional heading makes it easier for your reader to follow up on your application.

Research the name of your reader to address them properly and spell their name correctly. Use common business greetings, such as "Dear," or "Dear Mr/Mrs./Ms." before your recipient's surname. You can also include the hiring manager's full name after the salutation if you're not sure of their preferred gender pronoun.

Related: How to Format a Cover Letter

Application letter template

Use this helpful template when writing your own unique application letter:

Your full name
Your contact information

Date

Hiring manager's name
Hiring manager's title
Company name
Company address

Salutation,

Mention what role you're applying for and your interest in working in the organization. Explain where you found the job posting.

Discuss your relevant qualifications for the role you're applying for. Include aspects of your personality.

Describe your experience in the role or similar positions and highlight your skills and other qualifications.

Thank the hiring manager or recruiter for reviewing your application letter. Mention any follow-up information.

Closing remarks,
Your signature
Your name

Related: 3 Free Cover Letter Templates to Create an Impactful First Impression

Application letter sample

Here is a sample to reference when writing your application letter:

Richard Martin
23 George Street,
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 444-4444

August 20, 2021

Sarah Brown
Hiring manager
Halloway Manufacturers
823 Mire Street
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Ms. Brown,

I am reaching out to apply for the quality engineer position I saw on Indeed.com. I was excited to learn about this opportunity and hope you will consider me for the role.

In my previous roles, I worked in the quality assurance departments of several manufacturing companies. I ensured product quality, reduced defects and confirmed the proper use of materials, procedures and tools. My experience taught me to hone my attention to detail and excellent organizational skills. My time as a quality assurance manager also helped develop my leadership skills. I believe in your company's goal of using integrated work systems (IWS) to have a competitive advantage.

I love taking on new challenges and solving problems, which I feel is an important characteristic for quality engineers. Since your company produces beverages on multiple production lines, I believe my time management, multitasking and critical-thinking skills will help me spot quality issues on the production floor.

I have excellent communication skills and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Waterloo. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I learned from professors and other engineering professionals who shared valuable experiences and insights. I believe my greatest strength is my ability to solve problems, and I look forward to applying this skill to this position with your company.

I would love the opportunity to help your organization meet all quality standards, and I appreciate your time in reviewing my application letter. I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process. Please contact me if you have questions or need more information.

Sincerely, Richard Martin

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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