Thursday, 5 April 2012

How To Structure Your Application Letter The Right Way

A well-structured application letter is essential when applying for graduate jobs: there are likely to be many high calibre applicants and often the covering letter is what separates the truly outstanding candidates from the also-rans.

Format

The letter should follow a formal format, with your address and contact details on the upper right hand side, and your prospective employer’s details on the left, above the actual letter. Unless you have been provided with a contact name, your letter should be addressed ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.

Set your letter out in clear paragraphs, with logical breaks. The text should be left justified and in a classic text such as Arial or Times New Roman. Your first paragraph should state what vacancy you are applying for, or if you are making a speculative application a general statement about the company. You may also wish to mention how you found out about the vacancy.

Main Content – make an impact!

The main body of your letter should explain why you are interested in the position available, and why you feel you would be a good candidate. 

Key tip: When applying for graduate jobs, highlight generic, transferable skills you obtained during your time as a student as well as subject specific ones. These may include communication, presentation and organisational skills. If this is your first job, highlight areas of your study which might contribute towards your employability. Refer back to the job description / person specification and try to provide specific examples to demonstrate how you have developed these skills.

Sell yourself!

Your final paragraph should summarise your main qualities, and reiterate why you feel you would be a good candidate for this specific graduate job, or would fit in well within their company. 

Key tip: Be bold and state that you look forward to discussing your application further at interview. State when you would be available to start work.

And finally

Follow the correct convention when closing your letter: if addressed to'Sir or Madam' this should be ‘Yours faithfully’. If your letter was addressed to a specific person, then ‘Yours sincerely’ is correct. Proof read and spell check your letter carefully, and organise the layout so that it is clear and easy to read. Avoid breaking a paragraph over a page, and if a word limit was specified, do not exceed this: the ability to be concise is a valuable skill in itself!

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