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What is the difference between application letter and cover letter? FREE TEMPLATE

General | 11 Sep 2023

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In the competitive job market of today, job seekers are constantly on the lookout for ways to stand out and make a positive impression on prospective employers. Two essential tools in the job hunting arsenal are the application letter and the cover letter. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes in the hiring process. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key differences between application letters and cover letters, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to create both effectively.

What is an Application Letter?

An application letter, also known as a job application letter or a letter of application, is a formal document submitted by a job seeker to express their interest in a specific job vacancy. The primary purpose of an application letter is to introduce the applicant and their qualifications to the potential employer. Unlike a resume or CV, which provides a comprehensive overview of one's professional history, an application letter is tailored to a particular job opening.

Also read How to Create a Comprehensive Resume

How to Create an Application Letter

1. Research the Job Opening

Before you begin crafting your application letter, it's crucial to thoroughly research the job opening. This includes understanding the job requirements, responsibilities, and the company's culture. The more you know about the position, the better you can align your qualifications and skills with the employer's needs.

2. Format and Structure

An application letter should follow a standard business letter format. Here's a basic structure to follow:

Heading: Include your contact information (name, address, phone number, and email) at the top, followed by the date.

Recipient's Information: Below the date, include the recipient's name, title, company name, and address. If you can't find this information in the job posting, address the letter to the hiring manager.

Salutation: Start your letter with a professional salutation, such as "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Hiring Manager."

Introduction: Begin with a strong opening paragraph that mentions the specific job you're applying for and how you learned about it. Express your enthusiasm for the position.

Body Paragraph(s): Use one or more paragraphs to highlight your qualifications, skills, and relevant experiences. Be specific and provide examples of how your background aligns with the job requirements.

Closing Paragraph: Summarize your interest in the position and express your desire for an interview. Mention that you have attached your resume for reference.

Closing: Use a formal closing such as "Sincerely" or "Yours faithfully," followed by your signature and typed name.

3. Tailor Your Letter

Each application letter should be customized for the specific job you're applying for. Highlight the qualifications and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for that particular position. Avoid using a generic, one-size-fits-all letter.

4. Showcase Your Skills

Use the application letter to showcase your skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job. Highlight achievements, projects, or experiences that demonstrate your capability to excel in the role.

Also read 7 Interview Tips to Impress Hiring Manager

5. Proofread and Edit

Before sending your application letter, carefully proofread it for grammar, spelling, and formatting errors. A well-written, error-free letter demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail.

6. Enclose Required Documents

If the job posting specifies additional documents, such as transcripts, certifications, or writing samples, make sure to include them along with your application letter.

When to Use an Application Letter

Application letters are typically used when:

  • A job vacancy is advertised.

  • The employer specifically requests an application letter.

  • You want to provide a more personalized introduction to your resume.

Effective Application Letter Example:

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[City, State ZIP Code]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Phone Number]

[Today's Date]

 

[Recipient's Name]

[Recipient's Title]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

[City, State ZIP Code]

 

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I am writing to apply for the [Position Name] at [Company Name], as advertised on [Where You Found the Job Posting]. With my strong background in [Relevant Skill/Experience], I am excited about the opportunity to contribute my expertise to your team.

In my current role at [Current Company], I have consistently demonstrated my proficiency in [Relevant Skill]. For instance, [Provide an Example of an Achievement or Project Relevant to the Position]. These experiences have honed my abilities and prepared me for the challenges and responsibilities of the [Position Name] role at [Company Name].

What sets [Company Name] apart for me is its reputation for [Company Attribute or Project]. I am deeply impressed by the impact your organization has made in [Industry or Field], and I am eager to be part of such an innovative and forward-thinking team.

Please find my resume attached, which offers a more comprehensive overview of my qualifications. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss how my skills can contribute to the continued success of [Company Name].

I can be reached at [Your Email Address] or [Your Phone Number]. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of becoming a part of the [Company Name] family and working toward achieving its goals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter, sometimes referred to as a covering letter, is a document that accompanies your resume when applying for a job. Unlike an application letter, which is typically focused on a specific job vacancy, a cover letter is more general and can be used for various job applications. The primary purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself, highlight your qualifications, and explain why you are an excellent fit for the company as a whole.

How to Create a Cover Letter

1. Research the Company

Before you start writing your cover letter, research the company you're applying to. Understand its values, mission, culture, and recent achievements. This knowledge will help you tailor your cover letter to align with the company's goals and values.

2. Format and Structure

A well-structured cover letter should include the following elements:

Heading: Similar to an application letter, include your contact information and the date at the top.

Recipient's Information: Address the letter to the hiring manager or the appropriate person if their name is mentioned in the job posting. If not, use a generic salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager."

Introduction: Begin with a strong opening that mentions the position you're interested in and how you found out about it. Express your enthusiasm for the company and explain why you're a good fit.

Body Paragraphs: Use one or more paragraphs to showcase your qualifications, skills, and experiences. Emphasize your contributions and achievements in previous roles. Highlight how your skills align with the company's needs.

Closing Paragraph: Summarize your interest in the company and reiterate your enthusiasm for the position. Express your desire for an interview to further discuss your qualifications.

Closing: Use a professional closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards," followed by your signature and typed name.

3. Personalize Your Cover Letter

While a cover letter can be more general than an application letter, it should still be personalized for the specific company and position. Tailor your content to match the company's values and show how you can contribute to its success.

4. Highlight Transferable Skills

In a cover letter, focus on transferable skills that are applicable across various roles and industries. Explain how your diverse skill set makes you adaptable and a valuable asset to the company.

5. Match Your Resume

Your cover letter should complement your resume, not duplicate it. Use the cover letter to provide context for your resume and highlight specific achievements or experiences that are relevant to the job.

6. Proofread and Edit

Just like with an application letter, proofread and edit your cover letter carefully to ensure it is error-free and well-written. Attention to detail is crucial.

When to Use a Cover Letter

Cover letters are typically used when:

  • You are applying for a job without a specific job posting.

  • The job application process requires a cover letter.

  • You want to express your interest in a company and its culture, beyond a specific job opening.

Apply to urgently hiring jobs here!

Effective Cover Letter Example

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[City, State ZIP Code]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Phone Number]

[Today's Date]

 

[Recipient's Name]

[Recipient's Title]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

[City, State ZIP Code]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I am writing to express my strong interest in the [Position Name] position at [Company Name], as advertised on [Where You Found the Job Posting]. With a proven track record in [Relevant Skill/Experience], I am confident that my qualifications align perfectly with the requirements of this role.

In my previous role at [Previous Company], I [Briefly Describe an Achievement or Responsibility Relevant to the Position]. This experience allowed me to hone my [Relevant Skill] skills and contribute to the growth and success of my team. I am eager to bring this expertise to [Company Name] to contribute to its continued excellence.

One of the aspects of [Company Name] that particularly excites me is [Specific Company Attribute or Project]. Your commitment to [Company's Values or Mission] aligns perfectly with my own professional values, making [Company Name] a natural fit for my career goals.

Enclosed is my resume, which provides further details about my qualifications. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how my skills and experiences can benefit [Company Name] in greater detail. Please find my contact information below:

[Your Email Address]

[Your Phone Number]

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of joining the team at [Company Name] and contributing to your ongoing success.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Conclusion

In conclusion, application letters and cover letters serve distinct purposes in the job application process. An application letter is tailored to a specific job vacancy and focuses on your qualifications for that role, while a cover letter is more general and introduces you to the company as a whole. Both letters, however, are essential tools for showcasing your skills and enthusiasm to prospective employers.

To succeed in your job search, it's crucial to create both types of letters effectively. Research the job opening or company thoroughly, follow the appropriate format and structure, and customize the content to match the employer's needs. Additionally, always proofread and edit your letters to ensure they make a positive impression. Application letter example and cover letter example illustrate how to structure both a cover letter and an application letter effectively, emphasizing the importance of tailoring the content to the specific job and company while showcasing your qualifications and enthusiasm.

By understanding the differences between application letters and cover letters and mastering the art of creating them, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job in today's competitive job market.



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