Cover Letters: Letters of Application

Letters of application are given a high priority in the employment industry. These letters are an important part of applications, because they contain information which is unique to the applicant. The role of these letters is to make your claim to special skills, experience and motivation.

Writing application letters

These are business letters, and you have only so much space to work with. A one page letter, roughly 300 words, is considered the normal size. To get your unique information across to the employer, you need to use this space very well. There are reliable techniques you can use to make your letter work better for you. You create your application letter in the following stages.

Drafting your letter

The safest way to write your letter is to do a very basic draft first. Include all the information you want to use. If you like, just start with a list of things you want to add to your application, and then create a letter using the list.

The likely result of any first draft is too much information, too many words in sentences, and probably typos, misspellings and grammar problems. That's absolutely normal, and it's also why you should never try and do a letter of application in one draft.

Editing your draft

You need to be very self-critical, and even if it takes awhile, you'll feel better knowing you've sent a good letter and not a mess.

To edit your letter, check:

  • Information content: Does the letter contain all the important information you need the employer to see?
  • Information quality: Is the information relevant to the job, clear, and easy to read?
  • Sentence structure: Do all the sentences make sense and fit together?
  • Anything that doesn't need to be there: You've only got one page. Remove all unnecessary words and information. Stick to bare bones in your drafting, because you'll get more information in your letter.
  • Typos: Check everything. Read the letter one word at a time.
  • Spelling: Use spell check, but if you're not sure, use a dictionary.
  • Grammar: Everything OK? Sure about that? If not, ask or check a style guide.

Final draft

The final draft should have passed your editing test perfectly. You should have no doubts about the quality of the letter, and be happy with the information.

Getting help when you need it

Don't guess about anything in your letter. If you're not sure how to say what you want to say, check with so you can get some expert help. We can take you through the letter writing process in steps, help you do the draft, and help you with information content and quality issues.

You can also check out our cover letter tips, , which shows the basic formats and content of cover letters. Remember, we're here to help. If you're stuck, all you need to do is tell us about your problem on our CV and Resume Checking and Advice thread on the CV Tips Forum,/a>.