Difference Between a Job Application Letter and a Cover Letter
Many people use the term application letter and resume letter interchangeably because they think that they mean the same thing. Even though the application letter and the cover letter perform almost the same function, they are different.
An application letter is intended to stand alone, while a cover letter is usually accompanied by a CV or resume.
A resume/cover letter will contain a brief introduction that consists of the three to four sentences about the job seekers' experience, education, accomplishment and why the job seeker feels he/she is the best candidate for the job. On the other hand, an application letter may have a more extensive introduction because it is meant to stand alone just like the CV.
An application letter often can substitute for a resume and, therefore, requires that the job seeker include specific information about her work history and professional competencies. A cover letter, on the other hand, should not contain too much information about the job seekers because it is merely an introduction to the resume.
A cover letter is like an elevator pitch. It is intended to capture the reader's attention enough to make the recruiter or hiring manager want to review the CV.
A cover letter is usually used by a job seeker to show interest in a job vacancy after which the job seeker will attach a detailed document (which is usually a CV). An application letter is mostly used by a job seeker to show interest in an unsolicited job.
Learn how to write a stunning cover letter now.
How to Write An Application Letter in 10 Easy Steps
These tips will guide you on how you can write an application letter:
Write an Outline
Write your first draft
Use a friendly tone
Make it concise
Tailor the job application letter to the job specification and company requirement
Use typed and not handwritten documents
Use quality paper
Write a mind blowing ending
1. Write an Outline: Just like you write an outline when you want to write an essay, it is also important that you write an outline when you want to write your application letter. The outline is the structure of what you want to write in your actual application letter. It is good that you make clear what you want to achieve, and all the things that you want your prospective employer to know.
An outline of your application letter will make it easy for you to write your application letter because you have the structure planned out already.
2. Write a Draft: After you must have done a structure for your application letter, then it is good for you to do a rough draft of the application letter before writing the original one.
When you are drafting your application letter, you can make use of the outline that you did earlier to serve as a guide for your application letter. At this point, you may not worry about grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors. This is to help you develop a prototype application letter.
3. Salutation: Salutation is one aspect of the application letter that is obvious. Most times that is what the employer will likely see first as soon as they open the letter. Since this is an important aspect of the application letter, you need to be careful.
It is important for you to know some tips on salutation before you start writing your application letter:
You should put a comma at the end of your salutation
If you are addressing more than one recipient, you should address the recipient as ‘Dear Sirs/Madams’.
If you don’t know the name of the recipient, you should address the person as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
If the recipient's gender is not known, you should address the person with the full name. Like; ‘Dear David Houston’.
4. Tone: Employers can sense your tone from the way that you write. When you are writing your application letter, you must treat the recipient with respect. Be polite and use formal language when you are writing. Be careful not to use slang or ambiguous words.
5. Be Brief: As much as you need to give your prospective employers reasons why you think you are the best person for the job, it is equally important for you to as brief as possible.
Employers are very busy and may not be able to spend time reading your application letter. Mention the purpose of your letter in the first paragraph because this is where the employer will likely look at first.
6. Tailor the letter to the job and the company: Tailoring your application to the job that you are applying for and the company will give your prospective employer the mindset that you are passionate about the job and the company.
Employers look forward to hiring people that are passionate about the job. Tailoring your application letter may be all you need to land the job of your dreams.
7. Use typed and not handwritten documents: Unless a handwritten letter is requested, you should send a typed and computer-generated document. Typing your document will help you present a well-aligned, clear, and easy to read the document.
8. Use a high quality Paper: If you are sending a hard copy application letter, make sure you use a good and quality paper. Don’t tear out a sheet of paper from your notepad and use that paper to write your application letter. If you do that, your application letter will look scrappy and rough.
9. Proof-reading: proof-reading your application letter will help you see errors that you would need to fix before you send your application letter. You can read your application letter out loud to yourself to see some errors.
Check the spellings on your application letter and punctuation errors. You can use Grammarly.com to check your spellings and edit your errors.
10. Ending your application letter: When you are sending your application letter, you should make sure that your tone matches the tone of the letter. A formal letter closing is polite, courteous, and respectful.
These are common closing that you can use to end your application letter:
‘Sincerely’ or your ‘faithfully’