- Must Do's -
by fergus mellon
Having spent what can feel like a long time on your resume you may feel that for the Application Letter (aka an email with your resume attached to it!) you can write something along the lines of "Here is my application for the job, please see my resume which is attached." This would be the wrong move and if you do this you will more likely find that you do not get a response to your application.
If the job that you are applying to is publicly posted you will be competing with 100+ applicants so you will need to give the recruiter a reason to click to open your attached resume and also a reason to call you into an interview.
To do this your application letter/email will need to be concise so that the recruiter does not get bored, but also contain enough information to get them interested. Not easy!
Basically, your application letter should go something like this:
Application - ESP Position
I enclose my application for the Early Stage Professional position and attach my resume.
As you will see I have some great experience in the area having interned at [insert prestigious internship]. Not only did this internship give me great insight into the role that I am applying for here, but I was a successful intern. The project that I worked on [insert project name] involved working across a variety of functions with the goal of recommending that the company focused on [insert activity / product / etc]. I showed that I was not only able to deliver a significant project but I also proved that I had the inter-personal skills to succeed in the workplace.
In addition to my internship experience I will be graduating from The University of TBD in June. My Major is in [Insert Degree] and expect a grade of x.0 (if you have a low grade leave the grade out!). In addition to graduating with a relevant degree I was also member of the [Debate Team / Student Newspaper / Sports Club / Etc] and held the leadership position of [President / Treasurer / Marketing Head / Etc].
I have always enjoyed excellent relationships with my peer group of students, work colleagues and management and am ambitious, hardworking and focused on success.
I am [excited] [interested] by the opportunity to work at [Company Name] as I am very interested in the sector having [interned] [spoken to xy firm] [other motivation] and believe I could add to your [insert relevant project] to drive the business forward.
Please let me know if you have any questions I look forward to discussing my application with you further at interview.
Note: Can you see why it is so hard to get that first job? You got it! Despite being qualified for the role, you will not really stand out that much from many of your peers. If you got a great degree and if you did some great internships you will still not really stand out. Many people will have very similar credentials. I say this not to depress you (I promise!), but instead to set expectations. It can be a grind to get that first job so you will need to stick at it! (For more on how to stay motivated during your job search see: Keeping Motivated Through the Search)..
For more information on writing a great application letter try these resources:
The Muse: How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips You Need to Know
Harvard Business Review: How to write a Cover Letter
Next Section: Should You Take an Unpaid Internships? or skip to Job Interview
Visiting these pages because you've been to a number of interviews and not yet got a job? Don't worry. Or if you're worrying know that it's common for a job search to take months and not days. Here are some related columns on keeping motivated and dealing with the stress of it all:
Keeping Positive During Your Job Search
Dealing With Rejection and Feedback
Overwhelmed? Try a Mental Refresh