Sample Cover Letter for a Job Application

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What's the best way to write a letter to apply for a job? Your letter should detail your specific qualifications for the position and the skills you would bring to the employer. Your job application letter is an opportunity to highlight your most relevant qualifications and experiences. An effective cover letter will enhance your application and increase your chances of landing an interview.

Unless an employer specifically requests a job application letter sent by postal mail, today most cover letters are sent by email or attached as a file in an online application tracking system.

What is a Job Application Letter?

A letter of application, also known as a cover letter, is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information about your skills and experience. The letter of application is intended to provide detailed information on why you are are a qualified candidate for the job. Effective application letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills.

Your application letter should let the employer know what position you are applying for, what makes you a strong candidate, why they should select you for an interview, and how you will follow up.

What to Include in Your Letter

As with all cover letters, the body of this job application letter is divided into three sections:

  • The introduction, which should include why the applicant is writing.
  • The body, which discusses relevant qualifications.
  • The close, which thanks the reader and provides contact information and follow-up details.

Sample Cover Letter

This is a sample cover letter. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a sample job application letter
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Download the Word Template

Sample Cover Letter (Text Version)

John Donaldson
8 Sue Circle
Smithtown, CA 08067
909-555-5555
john.donaldson@emailexample.com

September 1, 2018

George Gilhooley
Times Union
87 Delaware Road
Hatfield, CA 08065

Dear Mr. Gilhooley,

I am writing to apply for the programmer position advertised in the Times Union. As requested, I enclose a completed job application, my certification, my resume and three references.

The role is very appealing to me, and I believe that my strong technical experience and education make me a highly competitive candidate for this position. My key strengths that would support my success in this position include:

  • I have successfully designed, developed and supported live-use applications.
  • I strive continually for excellence.
  • I provide exceptional contributions to customer service for all customers.

With a BS degree in Computer Programming, I have a comprehensive understanding of the full lifecycle for software development projects. I also have experience in learning and applying new technologies as appropriate. Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.

I can be reached anytime via email at john.donaldson@emailexample.com or by cell phone, 909-555-5555.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.

Sincerely,

John Donaldson

Sample Email Letter of Application

Subject: FirstName LastName - Web Content Manager Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm writing to express my interest in the Web Content Manager position listed on Monster.com. I have experience building large, consumer-focused health-based content sites. While much of my experience has been in the business world, I understand the social value of this sector and I am confident that my business experience will be an asset to your organization.

My responsibilities have included the development and management of: website editorial voice and style; editorial calendars; and the daily content programming and production for various websites.

I have worked closely with healthcare professionals and medical editors to help them to provide the best possible information to a consumer audience of patients. I have also helped physicians to use their medical content to write user-friendly and easily comprehensible text.

Experience has taught me how to build strong relationships with all departments in an organization. I have the ability to work within a team as well as cross-team. I can work with web engineers to resolve technical issues and implement technical enhancements. 

I am confident working with development departments to implement design and functional enhancements, and to monitor site statistics and conduct search engine optimization.

Thank you for your consideration.

FirstName LastName
Email Address
Phone Number
LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)

How to Send an Email Application Letter

If sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the job title you are applying for in the subject line of the email. Include your contact information in your email signature but don't list the employer's contact information. Skip the date and start your email message with the salutation. Here's an example of a formatted email cover letter.

Tips for Writing a Strong Application Letter

A cover letter can either help or harm you. To ensure that your application supports rather than detracts from your resume, follow these tips:

Get off to a direct start: In your first paragraph, explain why you are writing. Mention the job title and company name, and also where you came across the job listing. While you can also briefly mention why you are a strong candidate, this section should be short and to-the-point.

Offer something different than what's in your resume: It's rare to send an application letter without also sending a resume. Your application letter, therefore, should not duplicate your resume. You can make your language a bit more personal than in your resume bullet points, and you can tell a narrative about your work experience and career.

Make a good case. Your first goal with this letter is to progress to the next step: an interview. Your overarching goal, of course, is to get a job offer. Use your application letter to further both of these causes. Offer details about your experience and background that show why you are a good candidate. How have other jobs prepared you for the position? What would you bring to the position, and to the company? Use this space to emphasize your strengths.

Close with all the important details. Include a thank you at the end of your letter. You can also share your contact information. If you'd like, mention how you will follow up.

Need More Help?

Follow these guidelines on how to get started writing a job application letter, including more details on what information to put in and what to leave out, how to select an appropriate font size and style, and guidance on letter spacing and formatting.