When you write to an employer to apply for an advertised job, there are a number of ways you can make your letter stand out in the mind of the reader.
There are two main things to consider when writing to an employer:
- formatting—the way the letter is set out
content—what you actually want to say to or ask the employer.
Formatting and setting out
Formatting is important so that the reader can easily find the information on the page.
There is more than one correct way to set out a letter and the Write 101.com site (see our Related Links) gives examples of how to set out the items listed below.
Every letter should have the following features:
- your name and address
- the date
- details of the person you are writing to including:
- their name (you can usually find this out by phoning the business and asking who you should write to about available work)
- their title (such as Manager or Recruitment Manager)
- the name of the business and the postal address (with the suburb name in capital letters)
- the greeting (such as Dear Ms/Mr …….)
- the body of the letter where you explain why you are writing—see below for ‘Content’ details
- the closing which includes the final words to your reader. This part sums up what you would like to happen as a result of your letter and may say something like:
- thank you very much for considering this letter and my interest in working for your organisation. I look forward to hearing from your business in the near future
- the signing off which is usually ‘Yours faithfully’ or ‘Yours sincerely’ for a business letter, followed by your signature.
It is important to be very clear about what you are saying or asking in your letter. Simple language is better than big words and long complex sentences.
If you have had phone contact with the employer before writing your letter of application, it is important to note skills they need or duties that might be part of the job. In your application provide any information about yourself that tells the employer how you have the ability to fill the job successfully.
After indicating which job you are applying for, you might begin with
- details about why you have chosen to apply for that particular position. This might be followed with information about your own skills, qualities and experience and why you would be the best person for that job, or
- a description of your own abilities, qualities and experience followed by why you think they would make you a valuable employee for that particular position.
If you have a resume, it is useful to include a copy with your letter. See how to build a resume on the JobAccess site:
It is really important that you have someone else proof read your letter. No matter how good we are at writing, it is easy for anyone to miss small errors. A letter with no spelling mistakes and clear sentences always makes a good impression on an employer.
The quality of the letter will give the employer extra information about the sort of person you are. If you have paid attention to the quality of the letter you are more likely to pay attention to the details in your job. An employer may be keener to employ you than another person who has written a poor letter.
Our online checklist
The following checklist will help you prepare when writing to an employer: