Your application letter is literally the first contact that you make with a prospective employer. There is an old adage that says “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” This certainly rings true when applying for a new job. The pressure of impressing recruiters and hiring managers often inadvertently prompts people to make mistakes with their applications or cover letters. Some provide so much detail that they lose a reader’s attention before even getting to their resumes; others simply submit form letters that come off as generic.Don’t worry. Thanks to the general application letter templates and writing guidelines provided here, you will be able to avoid those mistakes. Follow the formatting and instructions provided, and your application letter may become the key to opening doors to new employment opportunities.
General Application Letter Template
Included below is an application letter written by Steve Sanders. Steve is a recent college graduate who has learned that the organization where he completed his internship is looking to hire a community outreach coordinator. The purpose of his application letter is to reintroduce himself to the facility administrator.
I am writing to express my sincere interest in working for your organization as its new community outreach coordinator. As part of my recently completed undergraduate studies, I had the privilege of completing an internship with your organization’s public relations department and was immediately able to recognize a company culture with which I wanted to associate myself.
As a lifelong resident of the area, I have a strong understanding of the many issues our local population faces in relation to healthcare. Through conversations with my peers and other associates, I am aware of many of the misconceptions people have regarding the patient care process, disease transmission and prevention, and health insurance claim coverage. That knowledge would serve me well in working with both facility personnel and local civic leaders to implement and further community engagement initiatives. My familiarity with your organization’s policies and procedures would also allow for a smooth transition into this new role.
I look forward to discussing with you the possibility of joining your team on a permanent basis and helping to achieve your corporate goals. You may reach me via email at [email protected] or at (555) 493-9876. I will reach out to you by October 14th to inquire about the next step in the application and hiring process. Thank you so much for your consideration.
How to Write a General Application Letter
Your application letter serves as the hook to capture an employer’s interest from your first contact. Remember that companies often receive hundreds of applications and resumes for a single position. Thus, your ability to make recruiters remember you from the outset is key to the success of your candidacy.
Always keep your audience in mind whenever creating a document related to your prospective employment. Notice how, in the general application letter template, the jobseeker specifically identifies his intended reader. If you are not already affiliated with the organizations leaders, you should do all you can to learn who they are. Contact the company’s human resources department to inquire about the supervisor those in the position report to. If you are unable to get a specific name, address the letter to the department manager.
Begin your letter by stating exactly which position interests you and why you would be the ideal candidate for it. List whatever skills and experience will best justify your claim. Your next few paragraphs (the body of your letter) should focus on how you meet an employer’s specific needs. Being able to discuss this matter requires that you research both the company and the position, learning the challenges the organization faces and how the job helps to deal with them. The inside knowledge allows you to frame your skill set to address those needs exactly.
Your closing paragraph should restate your interest in the position and reference your contact information (whether you include it in this paragraph or in the header). Rather than saying you will wait to hear back about the job, state a specific day on which you will follow up with the reader.
What to Avoid in Your General Application Letter
The candidates that hiring managers remember are those who express genuine interest in a job opening. That is hard to do if you are simply submitting a copied letter with every application. Readers can immediately detect if they are reading a form letter and will often be put off by such a document. A form letter shows that you did not take the time to investigate the company or the job, which can call your interest level into question. Therefore, do not send the same the letter out for different job openings (with only the names of the companies changed). Rather, tailor each application letter to the listing you are responding to.
As mentioned above, a company may receive countless responses to a single job opening. This overwhelming response does not leave hiring managers with an ample amount of time to review each submission. In order to ensure that you are able to retain a reader’s interest, you should keep your letter as brief as possible while still conveying your message. A good rule of thumb to follow is never exceed three paragraphs of three sentences each. Your letter should not be longer than a single page.
How to Follow Up After Sending Your General Application Letter
After sending out your general application letter, following up with the company representative must remain a priority. When you contact him or her, maintain a degree of delicacy, as you do not want the supervisor to perceive you as pushy. At the same, a prompt email confirms your genuine interest in the job. Always wait at least two weeks to reach out to the hiring manager, but never wait longer than a month. An email is a good form of follow-up correspondence, as it allows the hiring manager to respond in his or her own time frame. Begin by confirming that your intended reader received your letter, and then ask for an update on the process. Inquire as to whether or not the hiring manager needs any more information from you, and restate your contact information.
Top 5 General Application Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Do your due diligence
Put some time into learning what you can about the company you are applying with and the details of the position. Search an organization’s website or solicit feedback from current or former employees on online forums. Review job listings to see which duties are similar among many organizations and which may be unique to a single company.
2. Be as professional as possible
It is fine to show a little of your personality in your application letter, but avoid jokes and humor. Do not share any sort of religious or political views. Also, compliment a company’s culture, but avoid gushing about how great it may be.
3. Do not be afraid to make unsolicited contact
Your application letter does not always need to be in response to a job opening. If you have identified a company that you know you would like to work for, reach out to its representatives on your own, expressing your interest. Inquire as to any current openings, or simply request them to keep your information on file.
4. Compare your finished document to other examples
Once you have completed your application letter, compare it to other templates to see if there is anything you can do to enhance its effectiveness. Remember, however, to keep it brief.
5. Do not simply trust spellcheck
Re-read your letter several times to check for spelling or grammatical errors, or omitted words. Submitting a letter with typos is an easy way to sabotage your candidacy.