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10 Tips for Writing Better Application Letter

Writing an application letter can be a difficult job. You naturally want to be good at it. And if possible, your application letter (together with your resume) will lead to an invitation for an interview. Have you never applied before or are you repeatedly rejected? Then you might come further with these tips for writing a good application letter. Good luck with applying!

1. Give your letter a logical order and structure

The structure of your application letter is actually always the same, only the content varies. By sticking to the standard structure of an application letter, your letter becomes clear, easy to scan and well-arranged. A good application letter consists of:

  • Name and address of employer
  • your place of residence and the date
  • subject line
  • salutation
  • the core of the letter, which consists of: preface, motivation for the position, and final sentence
  • conclusion and signature
  • attachment: cv

Don't make your application letter longer than one A4 sheet.

2. Address your letter to the correct contact person

Prefer not to start your application letter with "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam". This is very impersonal. You'll find the name of the contact person in most vacancy texts. Send your letter to this person. You do this by mentioning the name of the contact person in the address (Attn. Of Mrs. De Wit) and by using this name in the preamble (Dear Mrs. De Wit,). Make sure you spell the contact's name correctly!

Does the vacancy text not mention a contact person? Then call the employer to check this. That's personal and thoughtful. In addition, there is a good chance that the employer will recognize your name when reading your letter because he remembers your call. With that you immediately have an edge!

3. Write a letter adapted to the position for each application

Every position is different and every employer emphasizes different skills and characteristics. That's why it's important that you write an adjusted application letter for each position you're applying for.

In order to ensure that your application letter matches the position as well as possible, it's advisable to first read it carefully. Read the job description carefully and view the company's website. This way you find out what kind of person the employer is looking for and what job requirements he / she sets. What work experience and what personal qualities and qualities does the employer require for this position?

Write down all the required job requirements for yourself. Select the most important job requirements that you meet. Describe in the core of your application letter why you think you meet the job requirements. Keep it short; specify a maximum of three requirements. Do this on the basis of concrete examples and ensure that you don't write the vacancy text literally. No employer is waiting for that. Show that you speak the same language as the employer by using the same concepts, and respond to what is requested in the vacancy text. But describe the explanation of your qualities and skills in your own words.

Not:

"I have a strong affinity with the objectives and campaigns of Environmental Organization X".

But:

"Ever since I was a teenager, I have dreamed of a job at Milieuorganisatie X. It seems fantastic to be able to participate in campaigns that make our environment more sustainable."

4. Don't repeat your resume from your letter

Not only your application letter, but also your resume you adapt to the position. You emphasize other functions or courses and other qualities and characteristics. However, you're not supposed to list your resume again in your letter. That's of course very boring. Your application letter is mainly about your motivation. Why do you want this position? Why do you want to work for this company? Why are you good at this? That's what an employer wants to know about you!

5. Make clear how you know the organization

Do you know one of the employees in the company? Feel free to say something about it in your letter. Do realize that the employer will most likely ask your employee about you. Therefore let this acquaintance know in advance that you mention him or her in your letter, then this person can already think about what he is going to say to the employer about you.

Use the name of the company in your letter and don't speak of "your company" or "your organization". Then it seems to the employer as if he receives a standard letter from you, which you send to multiple employers.

If you don't know the organization that well yet, show that you have done your homework. For example, explain in your letter why the way you work or the vision of the company appeals to you.

6. Write an enthusiastic and positive application letter

Make it clear who you're and that you're enthusiastic about the position. So don't only state 'sec' why you think you meet the job requirements. Let your enthusiasm speak! What kind of employee are you? What attracts you in this job? Why do you want to do this so badly?

Be positive why you do want this job. Above all, don't go into detail about what's wrong with your current or previous job. Don't say anything negative about an employer who fired you in your application letter.

An employer is looking for someone who is interested in the position he offers! Don't overdo it, but show, for example, how passionate you're about your field, or what you attract in the organization and the position.

7. Write briefly, personally and actively

Remember that an employer or recruiter usually reads your application letter on a screen. Short sentences simply read best on a screen, but also on paper, long sentence constructions are much less pleasant to read.

Use your own words as much as possible and make it personal. You may use standard formulations in the introduction and conclusion of your letter, but be careful with that. Of course you want your letter to stand out and you do that by making it as personal and original as possible.

Write actively and avoid the passive voice as much as possible.

Not:

"I have managed junior employees."

But:

"I managed junior employees."

8. Provide a neat layout

Use a standard font and preferably the same font as in your resume. Use black or dark blue as a color. Don't make the letters too large or too small. With a font size between 12 and 14 points you're usually in the right place.

Make sure that your application letter fits on one A4. The introduction and conclusion of your letter each consists of one paragraph. The motivation (the core of your letter) can be a maximum of three paragraphs. All in all, your letter is therefore a maximum of five paragraphs. Put white space between the paragraphs. This makes your letter clear and therefore pleasant to read and easy to scan.

9. Check your letter for spelling and language errors

Use the spell checker of your word processing program. Keep in mind that the spell check of computer programs is not flawless. Have someone else read your letter again and check it before sending it. Ask if he or she checks whether there are no spelling or language errors, if your letter reads well and if the letter conveys what you have in mind.

10. Send your application letter as a PDF file

Save your letter as a PDF file. Send your letter and resume as an attachment with an accompanying email message. If you include your application letter as a PDF, the layout and layout can't change if the employer or recruiter prints it.

State your name and job title in the file name. For example: Anna Versteeg-application letter-receptionist. In this way the recruiter or employer can easily find and distinguish your application letter. Also it's immediately clear to which position you're applying.

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