The two types of application letters that I am regularly asked to review and revise for people are application letters for employment and those for college admission. They are very important letters because they are the very first thing that the letter recipient sees, even before they have had a chance to review the detailed application support material that is normally attached or enclosed.
Also known as letters of application, or application cover letters, these letters should normally be short one-pagers that do three key things:
1. Introduce the applicant by name and title.
2. State clearly and specifically, the position or program for which the applicant is applying.
3. Briefly summarize the primary reason(s) why the applicant should be accepted for the job or program for which they are applying.
Although one page is ideal, in some situations a second page may be needed to cover all of the pertinent information. For example, some college and university programs may dictate a number of specific points they want covered in the application letter, making a slightly longer letter unavoidable. Nevertheless, except when impossible, an application cover letter should not exceed two pages.
When job-related, application letters are usually accompanied by a resume or c.v. In college admission situations, the application letter normally covers an overall application package, as per the requirements of the institution.
I have gone back into my files and pulled out eight or nine examples of typical application letters for employment and college admission situations. Although they are all real-life letters that were written for actual situations, I have revised them and removed any identifying details that would connect them to any real individuals.
Click on the following link to see a number of generic examples of application letters:
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