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How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

  • Best Business Salutations
  • Letter of Introduction
  • Close a Business Letter
  • Job Application Letter
  • Business Letter Layout
  • To Whom It May Concern
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While applying to jobs, you might be asked to provide a job application letter (sometimes referred to as a cover letter) along with your resume. A resume outlines your professional skills and experience, and a job application letter explains why you are an ideal candidate for the position you’re applying to.

You can think of this as a strictly formatted professional letter that gives hiring managers a sense of your individual qualities prior to a job interview.

This article outlines the essential details and formatting for a job application letter. You’ll learn how to write a concise and engaging letter that will increase your chances of being selected for an interview.

Key Takeaways:

A job application letter can also be known as a cover letter. It is a way to introduce how your skills and experience are a good match for the job.

A job application letter should have your contact information, employer contact information, and a salutation,

A job application application letter should have an introductory paragraph, middle paragraphs that explain your qualifications, and a closing paragraph.

Use specific experiences with quantifiable results to show how your skills were successfully put into action.

Make sure to do your research and edit your letter before submitting.

How To Write A Job Application Letter (With Examples)

Tips for writing a job application letter

Job application letter format, what’s the difference between a cover letter and a job application letter, dos and don’ts for writing a job application letter.

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If you’ve ever asked for advice on the job application process, you’ve likely heard the phrase “sell yourself” a million times over. This means that you should highlight your skills and achievements in a way that will pique a hiring manager ’s interest and make them pause over your application.

You might feel overwhelmed in the grand scheme of online applications, application/ cover letters , letters of intent , and interviews. It’s a lot to balance, especially if you have no experience with any of the things listed.

Remember to take everything one step at a time and review some helpful tips for writing a polished and engaging job application letter:

Tailor the application letter to each job. Your letter should address key points in the job description from the listing, as well as how you can apply your knowledge and experience to the position. You want to emphasize why you are the best candidate for this specific job.

Don’t copy information straight from your resume. Your resume is meant to act as a formal record of your professional experience, education, and accomplishments. The job application letter is where you highlight a few particular details from your resume, and use them to demonstrate how your experience can apply to the job.

Follow the business letter format. These letters have very strict formatting rules, to ensure that they appear as professional to hiring managers. A poorly formatted letter could prevent employers from taking your application seriously.

Proofread. Hiring managers will definitely overlook letters riddled with proofreading mistakes. Read your letter several times over to fix any grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors. You could ask someone else to look over it afterwards or run it through any number of online grammar check programs.

Decide on printing and mailing your letter or sending it in an email. An application letter sent through email requires a subject line that details your purpose for writing— consider “[job title], [your name].” The placement of your contact information is also different depending on the medium . In a hard copy, this goes at the top of your letter, as a header. In an email, it goes below your signature.

The following formatting information can be used as a guideline while drafting your own job application letter, with an example for both a printed/mailed letter and a letter sent through email.

Your contact information

Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Email Address

Employer contact information

First paragraph

Middle paragraphs

This section should be about one to three paragraphs, discussing your various qualifications for the job. This is where you really emphasize what you could bring to the company and how you might fit into the work environment. It might be necessary to do some additional research about the company, to lend more specificity to your letter.

Final paragraph

Ending a cover letter might be a challenge, as you try to wrap up all the details about why you’re the most well-qualified employee on the planet. Let that confidence carry over into your concluding paragraph.


Job application letter example – printed and mailed

Robin Gomez 37 Southwest Avenue Gainesville, FL 12345 365-123-4567 [email protected] October 20, 2020 Ms. Martha Waters Hiring Manager Blue Swamp Publishing 27 Archer Street Gainesville, FL 67890 Dear Ms. Waters, My resume is attached in response to your advertisement for an editorial assistant . The job description aligns with my interest in editing short fiction, and I believe my experience and skills match what you’re looking for. This past year, I interned with the Editing, Design and Production department at Gator University Press. Over the course of two semesters, I interacted with academic texts at various stages before publication. I’m comfortable proofreading and copyediting manuscripts, as well as adding typesetting codes in Microsoft Word. I have also previously worked on the staff of Writers Student Literary Magazine in Jacksonville, FL , as the Fiction and Website Editor, as well as the head of the Proofreading Team. I played a significant role in the publication of six issues of the magazine, across a two year period (including print and online editions). My qualifications beyond this include experience in team-oriented settings and proficiency in creative and academic writing. I would love the opportunity to speak with you about how I can further contribute to Blue Swamp Publishing! Please feel free to contact me on my cell at 365-123-4567 if you have questions or to set up an interview. Sincerely, Robin Gomez

Job application letter example – emailed

Subject Line: Victoria Caruso – Public Relations Assistant Dear Ms. Janet Wang, I was excited when my colleague Rachel Smith told me that you were looking for a public relations assistant with a background in graphic design. She suggested that I reach out to you about the position, since I believe that my experience aligns well with what you are seeking at Trademark Agency. I worked alongside Rachel as a brand ambassador at a small graphic design company for three years, where I excelled in project management, strategy development, and client communication. This past spring, I played a significant role in designing the website for an up-and-coming multicultural women’s organization and publicizing their first few public events. Along with my experience and personal qualities, I prioritize: Expanding company recognition and designing unique brand details Managing media, press, and public relations issues for companies Developing company communication strategies Please see my attached resume for additional details about my career achievements. I hope to learn more about Trademark Agency’s goals for the coming year. You can contact me on my cell at 319-333-3333 or via email at [email protected]. Sincerely, Victoria Caruso 15th Avenue N Iowa City, Iowa 52240 319-333-3333 [email protected]

A cover letter normally is attached with a resume for a specific job opening, whereas a job application letter can be submitted independently. As already stated, a job application letter can also be known as a cover letter. Format wise, there are a lot of similarities.

However, a job application letter can also be more detailed than a cover a letter. Usually a cover letter acts a quick introduction to a resume when a candidate applies for a specific job opening.

Meanwhile, you can submit a job application letter to a company even if there are no job openings. In this case, you would provide more detail about yourself and your qualifications. Due to this, job application letters tend to be a little longer than the average cover letter.

Now that we’ve gone through the basic formatting for a job application letter and a few examples of what one might look like, how can we condense all that information into digestible pieces?

Refer to these lists of “dos” and “don’ts” to help you through your drafting process:

Explain what you can bring to the company. Consider: how is your experience relevant to what the hiring manager is looking for?

Discuss your skills. Pick out a few skills listed in your resume and describe how you have utilized them in the workplace.

Give specific examples to support your experience. Is there a major project you worked on at your last job ? Did you accomplish something significant in your previous position? Including examples of these things in your letter will add new, specific content to your application and make you more interesting.

Edit your letter thoroughly. Read your letter a couple times, pass it off to someone to look over, run it through an online grammar check. Make sure it’s free of any errors.

Don’t focus on what the job can do for you. While it might seem nice to write that a job is your dream job or that you’ve always wanted to work with a company, it can read as vague flattery. Remember, this letter is about your qualifications.

Don’t list your current or previous job description. Your education and work experience certainly have value, but don’t just list your degrees and places you’ve worked at. Explained what you learned from those experiences and how they’ve made you a strong employee.

Don’t paste directly from your resume. A job application letter is meant to add to your value as a candidate, not just reiterate the same information repeatedly. Use your resume as a guide , but expand on especially relevant details.

Don’t submit an unedited letter. Before an employer ever meets you, they see your application and your job application letter. You don’t want grammar errors and misspelled words to make a bad first impression, so make sure to edit your draft multiple times.

Armed with these tips, guidelines, and examples, you’ll be able to draft your job application letter more confidently and send them off to potential employers knowing that you’re one step closer to employment.

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Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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How and Why to Write a Great Cover Letter

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A cover letter is a one-page business letter that you submit when applying to a job, along with your resume. As a piece of persuasive writing, your cover letter will aim to convey to the employer why you’re a great candidate for the role.

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

Your cover letter complements your resume by making it easy for the employer to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. Your goal is to convince the employer to interview you.

With your cover letter, you’ll aim to:

  • Highlight your qualifications:  You’ll show how your skills and experience relate to the employer’s needs for a specific position.
  • Showcase your motivation: You’ll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the organization.
  • Reflect your voice and written communication skills: You’ll give the employer a sense of your personality and writing style.

When should I write a cover letter?

Not all jobs require cover letters. So, how do you decide whether to submit one?

Submit a Cover Letter when…

  • The posting explicitly requests that you do so
  • You’re applying to an opportunity at a mission-driven organization
  • You think that doing so could provide important information to the employer that they wouldn’t get from your resume

Consider Submitting a Cover Letter when…

  • It’s marked “optional” in an application, and you have the bandwidth to do so
  • You have content that you can easily recycle or repurpose into a tailored cover letter

No Need to Submit a Cover Letter when…

  • A posting specifically tells you not to submit one
  • There’s no way to submit one in an application portal, and doing so would require a serious workaround

If you’re applying to several similar opportunities, creating a draft cover letter in advance, geared toward that type of opportunity, can be a helpful way to save time in your actual application process.

How do I write a cover letter?

Your cover letter should articulate your qualifications and motivation for the position. Read the job description closely and research the organization. As you craft your cover letter, use examples that demonstrate your relevant skills, knowledge, and interests. The cover letter should be concise, clear, and well-organized.

Before Writing

Research the employer.

Learn enough about the organization to articulate why you are a strong fit for that firm. 

  • Review the firm’s website and LinkedIn page.
  • Speak with current or previous employees.
  • Read articles and social media for current news.

Analyze the job description

Look for skills, duties, and qualifications of the job so you can design your letter to match these as much as possible.

Reflect on your experience and motivation

Identify skills and personal qualities you have developed which will be useful in this role. Ask yourself:

  • What attracts you about this role/company/industry?
  • What have you have done in your work experiences, classes, internships, activities, projects, volunteer work, travel, etc., that is similar to the duties required of the job? 

Cover Letter Structure

As a business letter, the cover letter should include:

  • Heading: Include your name and contact information in the same format as your resume
  • Salutation: Address your letter to the specific individual who can hire you, if this is known. If the name is not included in the job description, address the letter to the Hiring Manager or title mentioned in the job description.
  • Body Paragraphs:  Discuss your experiences, interests, and skills to show the employer how you can add value to their team. See the section below for more guidance.
  • Signature Line: Include a closing and your name.

The cover letter should be one page, about three or four paragraphs, and single spaced. Use 10-12 point font and one inch margins. 

When applying online, upload your cover letter as a PDF file, unless another format is specified. When sending your resume and cover letter by email, you may write a short note or paste your cover letter in the body of your email (without the address header) and also attach the PDF file.

Cover Letter Content

Your cover letter should answer who, what, when, where and why you are applying for the opportunity. 


State the position for which you are applying. If you have a referral or spoke with someone from the company, you can mention it in the introduction. Provide some basic information about yourself; this can include your class year and what you’re studying at Columbia. Briefly outline why you’re interested in the organization and what you bring in terms of relevant experience and skills. 

Body Paragraphs

These paragraphs will highlight your qualifications and strengths that are most relevant to the organization and position. Use the job posting and your research as clues to determine what the employer is seeking in a candidate. Have your resume beside you and reflect on what you want the employer to know about you. Are there experiences you want to expand upon that demonstrate your understanding of the role and ability to do the job requirements?

Structure the paragraphs based on relevance, not chronology. Lead with your most relevant skill or strongest experience.

Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence.  This can highlight a key skill set, a transferable experience, or a core area of knowledge you’ve built through your studies. Walk the reader through a project or experience, integrating the relevant skills you used and qualities you demonstrated. Provide details about your accomplishments and impact. Connect how these experiences have prepared you for this role and why you are motivated to do this job. There is no need to apologize if you feel you lack experience; focus on the accomplishments that you have.

Recap what you would bring to the organization and your interest in the position. Thank the employer for their consideration. Keep your tone positive and enthusiastic. 

Check out our example of how to structure your cover letter content . 

Editing Tips

Use our  Cover Letter Checklist to make sure your format and content is in line with best practices. 

  • Ensure that the content reflects the requirements in the job description
  • Keep the cover letter concise, at one page or less
  • Correct any errors in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling
  • Use the active voice
  • Avoid beginning too many sentences with “I”

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How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

what is the purpose of the application letter

What is a Job Application Letter?

Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.

  • Writing Guidelines
  • What to Include in Each Section

Simple Formatting Using a Template

Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.

Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.

A job application letter, also known as a cover letter , should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.

Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.

Melissa Ling / The Balance

Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).

Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.

Analyze the Job Posting

To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.

The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .

Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications

Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.

Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters

Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :

Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.

Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.

Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.

What To Include in Each Section of the Letter

There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:

Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

  •   Header Examples

Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.

Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.

In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.

The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.

The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.

Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.

  • Closing Examples

Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.

  • Signature Examples

Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.

Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.

  • Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
  • Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
  • Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.

Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.

  • Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
  • Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
  • Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.

This is a job application letter sample.  Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)

Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555 elizabethjohnson@emailaddress.com

August 11, 2020

Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101

Dear Mr. Smith,

I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.

I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills. 

I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)

Elizabeth Johnson

When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:

Subject Line Example

Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position

List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:

Email Signature Example

Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555 email@emailaddress.com

Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.

CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.

University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.

What Is The Purpose Of A Cover Letter In An Application

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  • What's the purpose of a cover letter?

How cover letters can help explain employment gaps

What are the basic parts of a cover letter, what to leave off your cover letter.

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Quick Answer: A cover letter is an extension of your resume. It provides a more personalized introduction to show the company why you're the best candidate for the job, and gives you the opportunity to explain any employment gaps. A cover letter should include your personal information, relevant qualifications, values and goals, and a call to action. Make it personal, engaging, and professional.

Everyone says you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. And all of those unnamed people are completely right. First impressions are essential, especially when you’re looking for a job.

So you made a great resume, with a unique template, one that covers all the important past experiences and how you’re the best employee that would grace us with its presence on this planet.

But how can you make this even better?

This is when cover letters step in.

Even if you’re not required to write one when you apply for a certain position, it can only help.

In this article, we will show you all the benefits of sending a cover letter, the basic outline that you can follow, some common mistakes, and many other cover letter tips.

Let’s dive in.

What's the purpose of a cover letter?

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Cover letters are an extension to your CV or resume that will dive even deeper into your professional and personal qualifications, showing the company why you are the best candidate for the job.

It’s something that a lot of candidates skip when they apply for a certain position, so if you have a cover letter, you are already a couple of steps ahead of the competition!

These letters are a great way to properly introduce yourself in a more personalized way by addressing the points they care about the most.

Take it as something that would add a personal touch to all the facts and data you’ve already included in your resume, enticing them to read further and really get to know you.

It will show that you have put the time into researching the job you’re applying for. You know what they need and you will give it to them.

Before you start writing, take a look at some effective cover letters  so that you can see how the candidates tailored the content to fit the company and how they expressed themselves.

Employment gaps can easily turn off an employer and give a bad impression of your consistency and work ethics. And the bad thing is, there is no space on the resume where you can explain them.

This happens most often when you use the chronological type of resume. If you’re still wondering which type of resume will suit your needs best, take a look at our resume guide .

So, if you’ve decided to use the reverse chronological resume , all your gaps will shine bright like the sun, and there is no space left where you can clarify the circumstances that surround them.

Cover letters give you the freedom to do just that. Use it to tackle any controversial topics head-on and don’t leave anything to the imagination of your potential employer.

Don’t try to hide those gaps or other pieces of information such as only working in a company for 2 months. The best tactic is to be upfront about everything so you can win their trust even before the interview.

Of course, you can always find employers that would be hesitant to hire someone with long employment gaps, regardless of the explanation. However, those are companies you don’t want to have anything in common with.

And remember, the goal of a cover letter is to get you an interview. Don’t over-explain yourself, 1 or 2 sentences per gap would be enough. If the recruiters need more information, they can just ask you during the interview.

Then you will have the chance to go in-depth and make the best impression since you can look at their reactions, analyze their behavior, and see how they react to certain pieces of information.

Enhancv What Is The Purpose Of A Cover Letter In An Application


It’s best you start with an opening section that includes your personal information such as full name, address, email, phone number, etc. You can also insert a link to your professional profile, for example, LinkedIn.

Pay special attention to the email. It needs to look professional. No matter how long you’ve used your high-school email, “ [email protected] ” will not impress your future employers, unless you’re applying for a band.

Next is the greeting. Usually, the job offer includes the name of the hiring manager and if it doesn’t, take your time to research them. It will make a great impression if they see you made the effort to learn the contact names.

Still, it needs to be respectful. Say the name of the hiring manager is Josh. Don’t start with “Hey Josh” or “What’s up Josh?”. A simple “Dear Josh” would be great. Or, if you have a full name, use it – “Dear Mr.Smith”.

Representation of your qualifications

Now that you’ve finished with the presentations, it’s time to start advertising yourself.

Start with how you found out about the position and the things that motivated you to apply for it. Briefly explain how your qualifications and skills are related to the job, making sure you’re using the ones they specified in the ad.

If they are looking for someone who can manage multiple projects at a time, include it. See what they need the most in their candidates and if it’s something you’re confident in, don’t forget to put it in.

This part needs to be very engaging, it will determine whether they will continue reading or stop in the middle, throwing your resume and letter away for good.

Be specific about your achievements and responsibilities. “I was proofreading documents” is not as nearly as effective as “I was the main proofreader for all the legal documentation for the Accounting department”.

Be confident when you talk about what you’ve done but be careful not to appear cocky and arrogant. Simply highlight your accomplishments and let them speak for you, instead of saying how great and unique you are.

Values and Goals

The next section should include arguments about why you’re such a unique fit for the company, how they can benefit from someone with your personality, and how enthusiastic you are about applying for this position.

Take some time to explain about your hobbies, about you as a person. Show that you’re not a mindless robot, but a unique human being with their own passions and desires.

Share with them your dreams and what you expect to accomplish both as an employee of their company and in life in general.

If you’ve spent time volunteering, this is the perfect place to mention it and what it gave to you as a person and a professional.

End your cover letter with call to action

Now that you’ve listed all your amazing achievements, experience in the field, and personal qualifications, it’s time to finish off and entice the recruiting manager to contact you for an interview.

Remind them about the resume you’ve attached along with the cover letter and let them know the best way to contact you.

Thank them for the time they spent on your application and how you’ll be waiting in anticipation for the reply.

The recruiters shouldn’t doubt how much you want this job so make sure to remind them again. A simple “Eagerly waiting for your positive reply”, should do you just right.

Still not sure what to include? Take a look at some  cover letter examples  that have secured impressive job positions in no time!

Just as there are important things that would attract your future employers, there are some phrases that are a definite turn-off and should be avoided.

Let’s go through the main ones.

“Thank you for reading my resume.”

You can’t assume they’ve already read your resume. Chances are they haven’t and the cover letter is the first thing they go through.

“I will be an excellent fit for your position.”

Let your achievements and qualifications speak for you. And by saying “I will be”, you already assume they hired you, which is quite arrogant.

Instead, rephrase it to – “I believe I can be a great asset to your team/department/company.”

 “Dear sir, or madman”

Since cover letters include more written content than resumes, any punctuation and grammar errors will be easily noticed.

An inconsistent and incorrect writing style will make a really bad impression and everything else you’ve put as accomplishments and experience will be of no importance.

Proofread a few times. We recommend that you use an online tool like Grammarly or Enhancv’s Content Analyzer .

Be careful when you choose the font, make sure it’s professional. A cover letter entirely written in Comic Sans will throw off any sane, intellectual human being on this planet.

Cover letters are an extremely useful addition to your resume. They bring character and soul to the factual CV or work resume.

Most companies look for people that would add value to their business and a cover letter should be used to show them just that.

How you can give them exactly what they need and much more.

Still, cover letters can be quite difficult to pull off. Do your research, both for the company itself and for all the things a cover letter should include, as well as the recommended writing style, and much more.

Don’t use the same cover letter template for each company. Make it personal, show them you care.

For your convenience, we have gathered our years of expertise in a number of useful articles that will help you with your  cover letter .

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How to Write an Application Letter

Last Updated: June 29, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 165,624 times.

Application letters are typically written to accompany school or job applications. The purpose of the letter is to introduce yourself to the decision committee, and to outline your qualifications in a specific way. It can be the only time other than an interview that you have a chance to really stand out in an application, so it's important to get it right. You can learn what to include in your letter, how to style it, and how to format it to give yourself the best chance.

Application Letter Templates

what is the purpose of the application letter

Writing a Job Application

Step 1 Say why you're writing and what you're applying for in the first sentences.

  • A good example would be: "I'm writing to apply for the Chimney Sweep position advertised in Rolling Stone. I think my experience in the heating industry makes me uniquely qualified for this position. Please find my application materials and a brief description of my qualifications below."
  • Don't write your name until the signature. It'll be in the header and in the sign-off, so there's no reason to put it in the body of the letter itself.

Step 2 Explain why you are the best candidate.

  • Be specific. Who are you? Where do you come from? What's your story? These details are important. HR screeners read hundreds of these.
  • Describe your ambitions. Where do you want to go? How will this opportunity help you get there?
  • What skills and experiences make you the right fit? Be as specific as possible and avoid vague language. It's better to describe a time you solved a specific problem at your last job than to just write, "I'm a good problem solver at work."

Step 3 Keep the tone professional.

  • Tailor it to the business. If you're applying to work at a record store, you need to talk about music. If you're applying to work at a tech company that writes, "Tell us something totally rad about yourself!" it's probably ok to be a little more informal.

Step 4 Explain how both parties will benefit from your selection.

  • Don't over-promise. Telling someone that you can guarantee that you'll be able to turn around their sales figures in six months or less is a good way to get fired in six months.

Step 5 Do some research.

  • Any kind of job requires this type of research. If you apply to a restaurant, you need to be familiar with the menu and the kind of customers the restaurant attracts. Consider eating there a few times before you apply.
  • Don't show you're familiar by criticizing a business and telling them what you can do better. Not the time to offer a harsh criticism of a business plan that you don't really know anything about.

Writing a School Application

Step 1 Address the prompt.

  • Common prompts include things like, "Outline your qualifications for this position" or "In writing, explain how this position would affect your career goals." Sometimes, the prompt will be as short as, "Tell us something interesting about yourself."
  • If there is no prompt, but you still feel the need to introduce your application with a letter, it's usually best to keep it as short as possible. Explain what you're applying for, why you're applying, and thank the contact for their consideration. That's it.

Step 2 Tell your story.

  • Often, college prompts will ask you to describe a time you struggled, or a time you overcame some obstacle. Write about something unique, a time that you actually failed and dealt with the consequences.
  • The board will get thousands–literally, thousands–of letters about someone's first mission trip, and letters about the time someone's sports team was beaten, then overcame the odds, and won again. Avoid these topics.

Step 3 Write about your future.

  • Be specific. If you're writing to a college board, don't say, "I want to go to this college because I need a degree." That's obvious. What do you want to do with it? Why? If you're applying to a business, don't say, "I just need a job." That's obvious. Why this specific job?

Step 4 Don't include stuff that's also on your resume.

  • If you're applying to schools, what do you like about the school? What faculty are you interested in? Why this school, instead of another?

Formatting Application Letters

Step 1 Keep it short.

  • If you don't get a word-count guideline, just focus on making one or two good points about yourself, and keeping it at that. No need to drone on four several pages.

Step 2 Only address the letter if you have someone to address it to.

  • Instead of a salutation, write, "Letter of Application" at the top left corner of the page, or put it in the header on the left side at the top.
  • If you do have a contact, address it to them, making sure the name is spelled correctly. Then space down and start the body of the letter. [10] X Research source

Step 3 Use a standard font.

  • Sometimes, it's appropriate to type your name, then print out the letter and sign it in pen. That can be a nice touch.

Step 5 Put your contact information in the header.

  • Mailing address
  • Telephone and/or fax number

Expert Q&A

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

  • Remember to be formal at all times. Do not use abbreviations anywhere. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

what is the purpose of the application letter

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  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-write-an-application-letter
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/tone_in_business_writing.html
  • ↑ Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Educational Consultant. Expert Interview. 18 June 2020.
  • ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/admission-letters/
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/personal-statements-and-application-letters.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/job_search_writing/job_search_letters/cover_letters_1_quick_tips/quick_formatting_tips.html
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/coverletters/

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

To format an application letter, start by including your name and contact details in the document header. When choosing a greeting, only use one if you know the person's name your writing to. Otherwise, give the document a title, like "Letter of application" at the top of the page. For the body of the letter, aim to write no more than 1 page of single-spaced paragraphs using a standard font. Finally, conclude your letter with a formal greeting like "Sincerely yours." For tips on how to write a job application letter, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Writing the Application Letter

Traditionally, the application letter or cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies your résumé when you apply for a position. Its purpose is to support your résumé, providing more specific details, and to explain in writing why you are a strong candidate for the specific position to which you are applying. It should not simply reiterate your résumé; it’s an opportunity for you to make a case for your candidacy in complete sentences and phrases, which gives the reader a better sense of your “voice.”

As always, it’s helpful to start by first thinking about the audience and purpose for the application letter. What information does your reader need to glean from your letter? At what point in the hiring process will they be reading it?

As you draft the letter, consider what you would want to say if you were sitting across the desk from your reader. It should be written in a formal, professional tone, but you still want it to flow like natural speech—this will make it easier for your reader to absorb the information quickly.

What to Include in the Application Letter

It can be helpful to think about writing the application letter in sections or “blocks.” This provides a basic structure for the letter; once you have an understanding of this foundation, you can customize, update, and personalize the letter for different applications and employers.

Introductory Paragraph

Open the letter with a concise, functional, and personable introduction to you as a job candidate. This is your chance to establish the essential basics of your qualifications and to set the themes and tone for the rest of the letter.

  • Name the position you’re interested in (by exact name and number, if available), and where you heard about it
  • Clearly state that you are applying for the position—remember that you are requesting (not demanding) that they consider you as a candidate for the position
  • Identify your major, year or graduation date, and school (this should be a brief preview of your educational status/area—you will go into more detail in the Education paragraph)
  • Create a theme (essentially a thesis statement) for the letter, based on the job requirements and your knowledge of the employer (this may not be possible until you write the other paragraphs, so save it for last) → NOTE: Once you have established the thesis (the key reasons for your qualifications), keep in mind that the remaining paragraphs must specifically “prove” or “show” that you possess these qualifications

Optionally, you might also take the opportunity at the beginning of the letter to express your interest in working for this particular company and/or your passion for and interest in the field—I am particularly interested in this position because… This sets a nice tone and shows that you are engaged and enthusiastic. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge about the employer and what they do (developed through your research).

Education & Academics Paragraph(s)

Since you will have already stated your basic educational status (major/year/school) in the introductory paragraph, the purpose of this paragraph is to paint a more detailed picture of you as a student, making progress in your academic program and gaining valuable experiences along the way. Your opportunity in this paragraph is to describe your academic progress in more specific detail, explaining the activities and knowledge you are developing that most matter for this position and employer. Carefully consider what the employer will value most about your educational experiences.

  • Emphasize specific skills and knowledge that you are developing
  • Describe significant coursework or projects—don’t be afraid to focus in on a particularly compelling example or experience

If you have a lot of project experience or several key experiences that you want to highlight, this information may be written in multiple paragraphs.

This content should NOT be a laundry list of course titles. Instead, describe how your academics have shaped your understanding of the field you are entering and significant skills you are developing, but always tie it back to what the employer is looking for—stay focused on the information your audience needs and what they will care about.

Employment Paragraph (if applicable)

It is important for employers to feel that they are hiring responsible, reliable people who know how to hold down a job. If you do have work experience in this field such as a previous internship, this is a perfect time to discuss that.  If you have previous work experience, even if it’s not related to your field, this is your opportunity to describe the value of that experience—the value for you, but, more importantly, to your reader.

  • Describe your previous work experience (show, don’t tell that you’re a good employee)
  • Be specific about the company, the time frame, your responsibilities, actions and the outcomes/results
  • Focus on relevant and transferable skills developed on the job

Activities Paragraph (if applicable)

Activities and involvement in things outside of your coursework and work experiences such as student organizations, clubs, and volunteer work are a great way to show that you are a well-rounded, motivated person with good time management skills. Personal, human connections are an important part of the job application process, and describing some of these activities and interests can help your reader start to feel a more personal connection.

  • Demonstrate personality, values, and transferable skills through sports, volunteer, travel or other professional experiences
  • Describe your specific actions and involvement honestly, while still trying to connect to transferable skills and the keywords in the job posting

If the employer has a strong program for charitable giving and involvement in an area that you share an interest, that would be another opportunity to build a connection with them and show that you could embrace the company culture and values.

Concluding Paragraph

As you conclude the letter,  tie everything together, acknowledge the next steps, and end on a positive note.

  • Reference your resume (“You will find additional information on my résumé”)
  • Request (don’t demand) an interview (“I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with to learn more about the position and discuss my application”)
  • Provide contact information in the paragraph (phone number and email address)—don’t put this below your name
  • Reiterate interest in the position, the employer—another opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge about the company

A Note About Topic Sentences

As you reinforce the main idea or purpose of the letter (that you have the necessary skills, qualifications, and temperament for the job), make sure you prioritize what your reader needs to know about you and that all of the experiences you describe are meaningful to them. One good way to do that is to focus on how you construct the topic sentences. The first sentence in each paragraph should clearly explain the purpose of the information contained in that paragraph.

Begin each paragraph with a statement that connects your experience to the employer’s requirements and desired qualifications.

Topic Sentence = My experience + Why it matters

Consider how the following examples were revised to focus more on the value of the experience to the employer rather than simply stating the information about the experience.

  • Original: During the past three summers, I worked at Ray’s diner in my hometown.
  • Revised: Working at Ray’s diner in my hometown for the past three summers has taught me a lot about responsibility and reliability.
  • Original: During my freshman year, I was part of an Alternative Energy Vehicle project group.
  • Revised: I gained first-hand experience with collaborative problem solving and project management while working on an Alternative Energy Vehicle project during my freshman year.

The revised versions explicitly connect the experience (working at the diner, being on a project team) with the value and lessons learned, making it easier for your reader to understand, even while reading quickly, how this supports your qualifications.

Letter Formatting Considerations

Your application letter should use formal letter formatting. You will find detailed information about the required elements of a letter document here and more information about writing cover letters here (both are from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab).

In today’s job market, where many applications are online, the letter might be delivered in a variety of different formats. For example, it might be a PDF file uploaded to an online application system or if might be simply sent in the body of an email. In any case, consider the following as you decide how to format the letter:

  • If you are delivering it as a stand-alone file or an attachment, use a formal letter format and save it as a PDF (unless otherwise instructed).
  • If you are sending the application letter content directly in the body of an email, you do NOT typically need to include the sender’s (your) address, the date, or the recipient/inside address. You would begin the email with the greeting.

Adapted from “Preparing Job Application Materials” in A Guide to Technical Communications: Strategies & Applications” by Lynn Hall & Leah Wahlin is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Writing as Critical Inquiry Copyright © by Keri Sanburn Behre, Ph.D. and Kate Comer, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Admissions Guide: What You Need to Apply for American University’s Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate

A smiling Black preteen girl sitting on a park bench holds a sign that reads "I matter."

The need to create more equitable, antiracist schools ranks high among the United States’ most significant current challenges. Too often, poorly funded schools are minority-majority institutions located in economically challenged areas. A 2021 White House briefing noted a $23 billion annual funding gap between white and nonwhite districts and similar gaps between impoverished and well-to-do districts: “While 87 percent of low-poverty schools provide calculus, only 45 percent of high-poverty schools do. Lack of access to and preparation for success in mathematics and science coursework ultimately has a negative impact on the outcomes achieved by Black and Latino students in high-paying, in-demand STEM fields.”

The Economic Policy Institute has reached the same conclusion . In 2022, the think tank issued a report observing that “districts in high-poverty areas, which serve larger shares of students of color, get less funding per student than districts in low-poverty areas, which predominantly serve white students, highlighting the system’s inequity.” That report identified several significant consequences of inadequate school funding: 

  • Too many students cannot reach established performance benchmarks
  • Low-income students and communities of color consistently lack the necessary resources
  • Underfunding leaves schools unable to cope with emergencies and other unplanned contingencies
  • Economic downturns disproportionately exacerbate problems for underfunded schools

Education leaders who want to help correct these inequities may wonder what steps they can take. Earning an Antiracist Administration, Supervision, and Leadership (ARASL) certificate , like the one from American University, provides a starting point. What is an ARASL certificate, and why is it valuable to educators? Do you need a degree in a particular area to qualify? Is professional experience required? This article explains what applicants need to qualify for AU’s ARASL certificate program.

Dismantle Racist Policies and Practices in Classrooms and School Systems

Gain clinical internship experience that applies learning to practice, what is an arasl certificate.

The ARASL certificate program at AU aims to uproot racism in education at its source. It equips education leaders with the content, knowledge, and mindset shift to dismantle racist practices and policies across the board in classrooms, schools, and districts.

No travel is required. The 18-credit program combines rigorous academic work with actual practice. Graduates earn eligibility for state leadership certification in Washington, D.C.

Candidates can complete in three semesters. Instructors include AU faculty and expert practitioners with experience in policy, research, and PreK-12 education. Coursework aligns with the standards of the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) program. Graduates gain vital skills to help reduce educational inequity while bolstering credentials that can improve job prospects.

Submitting Your Best ARASL Application 

AU’s ARASL certificate program aligns experienced education professionals with like-minded individuals committed to positive change. An online application must include:

  • One letter of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose focused on antiracism in education (500 words)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • GPA supplemental statement (if GPA under 3.0) 

Certificate Prerequisites 

The program is open to individuals with a:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited institution, or master’s degree in progress at American University’s School of Education;
  • Certification as a teacher or education professional (e.g., counselor, psychologist); and
  • A minimum of at least two years of school-based teaching, instructional leadership or pupil services experience. Substitute teaching experience does not qualify.

Current AU MEd students must apply and be accepted to the certificate program to be eligible for Administrator certification.

Tips: Letter of Recommendation 

Solicit your recommendation from someone who knows you well, respects your work and can attest to your commitment to antiracist principles. A supervisor or professor is a good choice. They should be able to speak to your skills, qualifications, research and writing abilities, and academic capabilities. Solicit your recommendation well ahead of the application deadline. 

Tips: Statement of Purpose 

Your Statement of Purpose represents your best opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. Use it to explain how your values align with the school’s mission and the central goals of the ARASL certificate program, i.e., education equity and antiracism. Explain how the program will help you achieve your career goals. Keep your statement concise, sticking to the 500-word limit. Copyedit and carefully proofread your statement. Consider asking a trusted friend or colleague to review it as well.

Tips: Unofficial Transcripts 

Applicants must provide transcripts from all institutions where they received college credit. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for a preliminary admission decision. Students who are admitted and enroll in the program must provide official transcripts before registering for their first term’s classes. 

Tips: Resume 

Organize your resume to highlight your most relevant accomplishments and experiences. Be sure to include an overview of your academic history, employment, honors, scholarships, publications, community involvement, internships, and any other relevant activities. As with your Statement of Purpose, proofread carefully and seek a second read from a friend or colleague. 

Tip: Consult an AU Enrollment Advisor 

An important step before submitting your application: Connect with an enrollment advisor by email or phone at 202-807-6173. Enrollment advisors can provide crucial advice about what the admissions team seeks in applicants and how best to craft your application to reflect your strengths (and address any potential weaknesses) as an ARASL certificate candidate.

Why Earn Your ARASL Certificate from AU? 

Persistent educational inequity plagues our most vulnerable children and their communities. AU’s ARASL certificate program allows you to continue your career while gaining the skills to dismantle racist practices and policies alongside a group of dedicated peers. Take the next step toward a better future by contacting an enrollment advisor or starting an application .

Earn Your Antiracist Leadership Certificate 100 Percent Remotely

Help close the opportunity gap for disadvantaged students.

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what is the purpose of the application letter

Reader's letter: 'The able-bodied imposing a tax on the disabled'

AT a March planning committee meeting, Councillors (Richard) Udall and (Alan) Amos, from opposing political parties, found amusement in opposing jointly Myriad’s application to provide a purpose-built facility for members of our local community with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) (‘Laughter at the Guildhall’, Worcester News, March 24).

The councillors’ objection centred on the impact of the proposal on car parking, in particular in Henry Street to the rear of the Myriad Centre.

Henry Street is a cul-de-sac of Victorian terraced houses, built before the motor car existed.

Hardly surprising then that in the evening residents’ parking can become tricky.

But none of Myriad’s staff or clients use Henry Street to access their building.

Myriad has operated its service from the St George’s Walk site for more than 17 years and is an accepted part of the community, providing day care and helping the young adults we serve to live their lives as fully as possible.

The present building is an adapted Victorian chapel now desperately in need of renovation.

So rather than tinker with what is already a significantly-compromised building, the plan is to re-build, on the current site, a centre designed specifically for young adults with PMLD, making the very best use of the whole of the building in an environmentally-efficient way.

It has taken Worcester planners over 14 months to process the application — every detail, including traffic impact surveys, was painstakingly addressed and approval was recommended subject to conditions.

At the last minute, councillors voted to add a further condition — that Myriad pay to fund a residents’ parking scheme in Henry Street.

What a state of affairs — the able-bodied imposing a tax on the disabled to fund their otherwise unaffordable parking scheme!

Councillors Udall and Amos may have been amused.

In my view it’s no laughing matter.

Mike Cartledge

Myriad trustee

The current Myriad Centre in St George’s Walk, Worcester (Image: Google Maps)


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    With your cover letter, you'll aim to: Highlight your qualifications: You'll show how your skills and experience relate to the employer's needs for a specific position. Showcase your motivation: You'll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the specific position and the organization. Reflect your voice and written communication skills: You ...

  10. Job Application Letter Format and Writing Tips

    See below for a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of the body of the letter. First Paragraph. The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the job you are applying for and where you found the job listing. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one.

  11. How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

    A job application letter, also known as a cover letter, should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be ...

  12. What Is The Purpose Of A Cover Letter In An Application

    A cover letter is an extension of your resume. It provides a more personalized introduction to show the company why you're the best candidate for the job, and gives you the opportunity to explain any employment gaps. A cover letter should include your personal information, relevant qualifications, values and goals, and a call to action.

  13. What Is a Cover Letter for a Job? Purpose & Example

    The purpose of a cover letter is to provide additional background information about your application. The goal of the cover letter is to highlight your best qualifications, explain what's missing from your resume, and show a bit of your personal story. It shows your commitment to the potential job, as it requires extra time on your part to ...

  14. PDF Writing Job Application Letters

    Writing Job Application Letters The purpose of a job application or résumé cover letter is to improve your chances of being called for an interview, by convincing the reader that you would be the best person for the job. If your letter is poorly written, the reader will not likely take the time to look at your résumé.

  15. 4 Ways to Write an Application Letter

    Use a formal closing. When you get to the end of your letter, add a space, then include a closing, like "Sincerely" and sign your name. [11] Sometimes, it's appropriate to type your name, then print out the letter and sign it in pen. That can be a nice touch. 5. Put your contact information in the header.

  16. Writing the Application Letter

    Writing the Application Letter. Traditionally, the application letter or cover letter is a formal letter that accompanies your résumé when you apply for a position. Its purpose is to support your résumé, providing more specific details, and to explain in writing why you are a strong candidate for the specific position to which you are applying.

  17. What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter & Why It's Important

    Here are five tips for making your cover letter more effective than the competition. 1. Customize your cover letter. Cover letters shouldn't be generic. Unlike resumes, cover letters include specific details about the employer, making it easy to spot when you're using the same cover letter for every job. Customization is simple.

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    In the online student visa application form, we will ask the applicant the below questions to address the GS criteria. Give details of the applicant's current circumstances. This includes ties to family, community, employment and economic circumstances.

  19. What You Need to Apply for American University's Post-Master's Graduate

    As with your Statement of Purpose, proofread carefully and seek a second read from a friend or colleague. Tip: Consult an AU Enrollment Advisor . An important step before submitting your application: Connect with an enrollment advisor by email or phone at 202-807-6173. Enrollment advisors can provide crucial advice about what the admissions ...

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    AT a March planning committee meeting, Councillors (Richard) Udall and (Alan) Amos, from opposing political parties, found amusement in opposing jointly Myriad's application to provide a purpose ...