or Covering Letters
Writing an effective and
job application letter is
an integral part of your job search and
crucial to winning a job.
Not all job application letters will go directly to an employer.
may need to go through a
third party such as an employment agency, recruitment firm or job
This section identifies
8 different types of employment or job application letters you
may need in your job search such as prospecting letters for cold calling,
letters to generate leads through networking, and letters of interest to an
employment agency or job search firm or directly to a company: Each job
search method will require you to write a letter with different content.
Before we go further many people refer to
application letters as cover letters, a covering letter or letter of
interest. So what is a cover letter? and
what is a job application letter?
As we go through the process of
writing an application letter you will see why I prefer to use this term
rather than letter of interest or covering letter. There is nothing wrong with
these terms. However people associate cover letter as one fits all letter to
accompany your resume when applying for a job. It is just a mindset. To call them application letters
make you realise how important they are to the recruitment process and as
important as your resume and they must be customised to address the
to be able to create a message with irresistible appeal to your target
Get your complimentary copy of
Top 10 Secrets of the
"Worlds Greatest Cover Letter"
An effective job
application letter will position you
ahead of the competition and the way you apply for a job
will depend upon the job
search method you use.
A letter in response to an advertised position
is the most common and therefore it is treated as a separate topic and is
treated comprehensively in
- Advertised Job
Job Application Letter - Using Marketing Techniques.
Both these sections
are invaluable in content and a "must read," This last section is
highly recommended for the serious jobseeker who is prepared to put in the
guarantee an interview.
type of letter you use your goal is the same.
This is to:-
your reader's attention to entice them to read your resume and to get an
interview or an employment lead.
Your resume and your letter combine to make a powerful job application.
It goes without saying that a good job application letter is pointless if
your resume is not up to the same standard. See
Depending on the recruitment method used,
the format of an employment letter will be the same.
It is the
approach that is different. However, make no mistake,
they are all
sales letters or more
commonly, in my view, inadequately called cover letters, (see
Write A Winning Job Application Letter.)
compile an appropriate letter for the job search method you are using you
need to keep three questions in mind.
are you targeting?
is the purpose of the letter?
do you want from the person you are writing to?
you are serious about creating self marketing job application letters, you
will find valuable insights and techniques to write letter content for
maximum impact in
Applications - using sales / marketing techniques
job application letters for advertised job.
Each section is extremely comprehensive for
all job seekers, in fact it is invaluable. Content is unique to Pro-Active
Human Resource Management. Please look at them and bookmark it for
As stated, there are many types of job applications
letters used in job search. Here
are 9 of the most commonly used letters:-
application letter directly to an employer in response to an advertised
Write winning job applications
The most important aspect of this type of this job application
sets it apart
from other types of employment letters, is that it
must address the employer's stated criteria as set down in the
If you don't do this then you are wasting your time and the
This same type of letter, with a slight variation in the wording,
also accompanies your resume when you send it to third parties who
have advertised a position and will do the recruitment on
behalf of an employer (below.) So you need to read the
advertisement carefully to ensure you know who is actually doing the
2. job application letters to employment
agencies / recruitment firms
An application letter to a third party who has advertised a position on
behalf of an employer and will act on their behalf in the recruitment
process. Here you must talk to the agency/firm and refer to the employer as
the agency's "client". It is the agency you must influence to get a job
interview with them in order to be referred to their client - the employer.
This job application letter is a bit more difficult and the standard must be
very high. The letter must address all the criteria advertised, however the
advertisement will probably only tell you the name of the industry where the
job is, not the employer. It is still a job application sales letter
and you must use all the techniques shown in
Applications Letter - Using
Write A Winning Application Letter.
Often the company will not be identified at this stage, research is not
possible. If you do get referred to the employer you will know the company's
name so you must prepare for the interview and do your research. Find out
all you can about them and see sections on how to perform at the interview
and what you may expect from an interview - Interview
Interview Process and Questions.
3. Letter of interest to an employment agency / recruitment firm
Here you want to register for any positions that may come up in the future.
This is discussed further on as a cold call letter.
4. Resume letter
Used primarily for people returning to the workforce or where a resume is
not effective or appropriate. For example, where there are lots of
gaps in their employment. It sets out your job history briefly without
dates and then responds to employer's needs - this is crucial. You
need to use all letter writing sections to write your resume letter. Note:
It is a combination of a resume and an application letter. It takes the
place of a resume. Say want a manual job in the mining industry and all
your work experience is in an office, but you have done the required
prerequisite course to get into mining. You may have had some relevant
manual work experience way back in your work history. Then resume letter is
appropriate. Sample job
5. Career change letter
This is the hardest type of job application letter. It is often used by the
more mature jobseeker who has gained a new qualification. A resume
letter may be appropriate in some cases. If the jobseeker has had more
recent employment experience in another job they must be able to recognise
their transferable skills. Your resume is very important. A good resume
writer will spend a lot of time with you identifying how to tie your
transferable skills into your new occupation. If you don't have a good
resume it will be more difficult to write an effective job application
letter. An example can be found in
Sample Job Applications,
6. Job Application Form
You are more
likely to use an application form when you apply to an job advertisement
over the phone and are asked to fill in an application form at the time of
interview. Another example would be for when you apply for
casual work or blue collar work. Used in employment agencies that deal with
casual labour (labour hire companies.)
Preparing an application form correctly and neatly, and
on the spot, so to speak, requires :-
knowledge of what the employer wants,
All the information you will need to fill out the form at your
If you industry uses application forms as the primary
means of applying for the job you will need to develop some skills and
knowledge to make the process easier.
Application forms put you at a disadvantage:-
you put in employment history in chronological order that may be
irrelevant to the job you are applying for.
You may not
have the opportunity to show you main employment skills/history,
especially if you have been doing casual work or working while studying.
They do not
provide an opportunity to target the job to your skills and experience.
So take your resume and give it to them anyway.
Note: If you register with an employment agency you may be asked for
your tax file number, especially if it is for temporary employment.
The next group of letters are prospecting
or unsolicited letters for cold calling,
(or cold canvassing ) found through research or from leads found through
networking. The are still referred to as job application letters ,
but the content is very specific.
calling means contacting prospective employers who have not advertised
The jobs may be available but they are in
"the hidden job market
" as I am sure you are aware. That is, they have not been advertised for any
number of reasons. Looking back on
the three questions to keep in mind;
Your target group is
the prospective employers you identified in your
research who employ people with
your skills and qualifications.
(Discussed at great length in
2. The purpose of the letter is to
obtain an interview for any future vacancies.
You need to make your purpose clear to the employer or contact..
Networking is an
even more effective job search method.
However, job seekers tend to shy away from it. Nevertheless, it has been
proven that job seekers want to know about cold calling, so if you feel you
can learn skills to write a cold call job application letter, we fully
recommend you also read
Networking for Success. It really is easy if you
follow our proven method.
Research shows networking is
still extremely effective - in fact in a good job market it is most
effective, especially in the IT and the mining industry, which has
traditionally been an industry where people network. (Some research goes as
far as to say that over 85% of jobs are found through the networking).
When you first contact
people in your network by phone or letter you are not asking for a job.
Rather your aim is to generate job leads.
Once you get these leads you will then write a cold calling letter.
Cold calling job applications
a. To an employment agency or recruitment firm
A letter of enquiry to a recruitment/employment agency to register your
interest in being referred to an employer for a job in your area of
b. Direct to a company
This type of prospecting letter requires you do a lot of research and you
must demonstrate that you know what the company does and how you can fit
into the organisation. You need to be very specific about the skills you can
bring to the job and how you can contribute to growth of the company. Don't
actually say how you can improve processes or outcomes, as this suggests
that the company is not performing, but state clearly how such outcomes were
achieved in past positions.
8. Networking letters
You need two different types of letters.
1. To a person in your network. Here you want to generate leads. Remember,
you are not asking for a job, rather you are asking for advice.
2. You will probably then follow up with a letter of introduction to someone
who has been referred to you through your network. This last letter is a
cold call letter, but maybe referring to your source if appropriate.
If you can do this (you need permission from the person who gave the lead),
it is more effective.
Writing these letters are quite different to any other job applications .
Find out how to network effectively.
Your first challenge is to get your letter opened.
Opening statements are very important. They start your letter with impact.
Opening statements can be found, in
Write A Winning job applications
A sample of each of these types of job applications can be found in
Sample Job Applications
By far the most common mistake job seekers make is to use one fits all
job applications that they have copied from the internet or developed
themselves as a generic letter and altered slightly.
You will notice this company does not offer a generic job application letter
(cover letter) service. Each letter you write must be personalised to that
particular job and the company, which will require research. Even
professionals with high level skills often want a generic application letter
written when they order their resume. Most resume companies include
these job applications in their services. We don't, for all reasons
stated in this section.
There are excellent sample job applications found on job search
websites. However, most of these job application sample letters are directed
at the "professional applicant" - especially for the high achiever or
"would be" high achiever.
Your job application letter is an example of your communication skills, so
don't set yourself up to fail. Recruiters can spot a letter that has strung
together from phrases from sample job application letters and the
sections you write will be entirely different. We see the same with resumes.
Therefore, some application samples provided on this site are directed at
the middle of the road job vacancies and skill level, and show you the
process used, so you can develop your own letter writing skills. See
Sample job applications
It is highly recommended that you read
Applications Using Marketing Techniques,
which shows you how to use effective content in your application
letter. This section is invaluable and contains examples of opening
and closing statement examples and shows you how to ensure your job
applications use features and benefits. So no need to look for
"you beaut" sales pitches. The letter is strong on its own.
As stated, what is common to all job
applications is the need to sell yourself.
It is easier to sell yourself if you have a professional background and
harder if you are in ordinary white and blue collar occupations. However, no
matter what level of job you are applying for you can still write a job
application letter using marketing techniques that catch the reader's
attention, as long as you address the employer's needs, and therefore
their expectations. (Go to
Write A Winning Job Application Letter
to find out how to address the employer's needs).
A good job application letter or employment letter, is useless if you do not
have a resume that clearly backs up your claims in the letter. (exception
career change letters.) See
If you want more guidance you should consider
using letter writing software.
Powerful opening statements and marketing phrases can be found
Amazing Cover Letters
You just need to address the employers needs, and this
excellent software allows you, and encourages you, to do this. An "all in
one package" that looks at occupations with a lot of competition and those
with less, that can be changed and
personalised. Just ensure you actually find everything in the package as it
has a lot of sections.
There a 5 sections on letter writing on this site.
It is recommended that you start with the basics as suggested earlier.
How to Write a Letter
shows you the
correct letter writing format and also has valuable information about
reading principles, which is very important and not, to my knowledge, found
elsewhere unless taken from this site. A letter that is set out badly
will make an unfavourable impression. There is much more to professional
letter writing that you need to know. No matter how good you think you are
at writing job applications or letters, just take a peak at this section.
Even senior professional managers make critical mistakes that probably cost
them the job.
What if the advertisement asks me to state a salary?
If an employer asks you to state this in your application you must do so. Do
not say "salary negotiable" never give salary unless asked.
Amazing Cover Letters
Some good basic
advice with regards to the topic of money and how you can increase your
chances of getting paid the most a company is willing to offer. Author Jimmy
Quintessential Careers (Very
big section on salary negotiation)
Overview-8 different types of job application letters
Types of job application letters used in job
Why you shouldn't use a one fits all application
There a 5 sections on letter writing on this site.
Salary Questions and links
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