An application letter, more often known as a cover letter, includes a header and signature, introductory paragraph, main body and closing paragraph. The goals of the letter and its various elements are to introduce yourself, highlight key qualifications and get the hiring manager to offer an interview.
Heading and Sign-Off
The heading of the letter and the signature area are the parts that give your letter a professional appearance. A positive first impression is as important in a cover letter as it is in an interview. The header includes your address and contact information. It also includes the name, title and mailing address of the hiring manager. For the closing signature, leave four lines between the sign-off and your typed name where you sign. Two lines down, you write "Enclosures" to alert the recipient that you have your resume and application materials enclosed.
Opening and Introduction
The introductory paragraph kick-starts your letter by capturing the reader's attention. The cover letter has a few primary goals. One is to get the hiring manager excited to learn more about you, according to the University of Texas at Dallas. You can do this with a statement such as, "My 10 years of industry-leading sales performance makes me a great fit for your senior sales representative opening." The other objective is to indicate why you are writing the letter and how you heard about the position. Including a referral or networking contact in the introductory paragraph is often an effective way to pique the reader's interest in what you have to say.
The body of the letter, which is often one or two paragraphs, is the meat of the cover letter. In the body, you tie your qualities and experiences together to efficiently explain your value to the organization. Don't repeat or outline the same basic points included in your resume, reports an August 2012 Forbes article. Instead, note some of the most vital desired qualifications the company pointed out in its job posting and demonstrate that you have them. If the company wants someone with excellent customer service abilities, for instance, note any awards or related experiences you bring to the table.
Use the close to deliver a quick-hitting message about the distinct strengths you offer the company, reports Forbes. Ask for an interview and direct the hiring manager toward the next step in the communication process, according to UT-Dallas. Let the hiring manager know that you look forward to discussing the opportunity further in the interview. Noting an intent to follow-up with a call in a certain number of days may also get the hiring manager's attention and cause him to act quickly in reviewing your application materials.