How to Write an Effective Application Letter in Nigeria
Job hunting is not an exciting task. Searching through online job adverts, smarting up your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume, getting set for grueling interviews — none of it is fun. For many, the most challenging part of the process is writing an effective application letter. What is application letter? And how do you write an application letter that can get you the job you desire? Answers to these simple yet herculean questions had over the years receive so much conflicting advice out there, such that it is even hard to know where to start. Do you even need one, especially if you are applying through an online system?
The answer is almost always yes. According to Jodi Glickman, a communications expert and author of Great on the Job: “It’s your best chance of getting the attention of the HR person or hiring manager and an important opportunity to distinguish yourself from everyone else.” And in a tight job market, setting yourself apart is critical, says John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of Knockout CV. Yet, as anyone who has ever written an application letter knows, it is not easy to do well.
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So, let’s get started! We will begin by defining what an application letter is.
The application letter, also known as a cover letter, makes clear to the employer why you are qualified for the position in which you are applying and why you should be chosen for an interview. The letter of application oftentimes is your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression. You see, the information age has altered the ways in which we communicate and placed an increasing emphasis on written versus oral communications. That is why, first glance at your letter of application if effectively written is your one opportunity to create an amazing impression and score it to the next level in the search process.
Here, we present some tips you should consider in writing an effective application letter that will help you express your sincere interest and land yourself your choice job.
1. Research About the Firm
Before you start writing, it is important you find out more about the company and the specific role you are applying for. Of course, you should carefully read the job description, but also study the company’s website, its management’s Twitter feeds, and perhaps employee profiles on LinkedIn. This research will help you pencil your cover letter to match the job description you are applying to fill. The next thing to do after a brief research into the firm’s portfolio is to draw up an outline.
2. Draw up an Outline
An outline is line a pointer; it helps you get your key points through without missing them out. Your outline also serves as a guide that keeps your application letter on tract. 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.
3. Make a Draft
After you must have done an outline for your application letter, then it is good for you to do a rough draft 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 bother about grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors. This is to help you develop a prototype application letter.
4. Customize your Letter of Applications
Since you should not send a generic copy, it is however important that you tailor your application to the job that you are applying for. This will give your prospective employer the mindset that you are passionate about the job and the company. Employers look forward to employing people that are passionate about the job. Tailoring your application letter may be all you need to land the job of your dreams.
5. Your Words Should Convey Enthusiasm
“When you don’t get hired, it’s usually not because of a lack of skills,” says Glickman. “It’s because people didn’t believe your story, that you wanted the job, or that you knew what you were getting into.” Recruitment managers are going to go with the candidate who has made it seem like this is their dream job.
6. Make your Opening Paragraph Strong
The opening paragraph is an introduction. “Start with the punch line — why this job is exciting to you and what you bring to the table,” says Glickman. For example, you might write, “I am a highly resourceful linguist with more than 10 years of experience in search for an opportunity to apply my skills in new ways, and I would love to bring my expertise and enthusiasm to your growing development team.” Then you can add a sentence or two about your background and your relevant experience but do not repeat what is on your résumé.
7. Re-echo your Personal Value
Hiring firms are searching for people who can help them solve problems. Drawing on the research you did earlier; show that you know what the company does and some of the hurdles it faces. These do not need to be specific but you might mention how the industry has been affected by COVID19. For example, you might write, “A lot of healthcare companies are overwhelmed with the need to provide high quality care while protecting the health and safety of their personnel.” Then talk about how your experience has equipped you to meet those needs; perhaps explain how you solved a similar problem in the past or share a relevant accomplishment.
8. Keep it Short
Your application letter should be concise. Every word should have its own value. Maximum information should be conveyed in minimum words. There should not be anything extra or irrelevant. Long and ambiguous expressions, repetitive words and long phrases should be avoided. According to Glickman “it should be brief enough that someone can read it at a glance.” You do have to cover a lot of ground — but you should do it succinctly. This is where asking a friend, former colleague, or mentor to review can be helpful. Ask them to read through it and point out places where you can cut. Also, the length of your application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.
9. Be Courteous
Courtesy is a matter of treating the reader with respect. Your application letter should be courteously worded. Polite and convincing words bring positive response from the reader or receiver. Let the tone of your letter convey confidence and respect. There should not be room for flowery expressions whatsoever.
10. Editing/ Proofing Reading
Revision is the most important part of the writing process. In this phase, you can revise, modify and restructure your letter. Oftentimes your hand may skip what your mind has read through in the application letter. It is therefore at the point of editing and proofreading that you would be able to fish out these slips. Ensure that your letter is error free. It is advisable that you ask someone with a better command of the English Language to read through the application letter before your submit or click the send button. Now, let us look at the component of an application letter.
The Components of an Application Letter with Practical Examples
Let us take a receptionist cover letter or application letter for example:
Receptionist Cover Letter Sample
Inyang, Victoria Amaka
Eket, Akwa Ibom State: Zip-52024 * 07038189300 * firstname.lastname@example.org
December 16, 2021
Human Resource Manager
Smith & Brown Hotels
412 E. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Suite 4
RE: RECEPTIONIST POSITION APPLICATION
I am writing to apply for the receptionist position at your firm, Smith & Brown, in Abuja, Nigeria. Your firm has a tremendous reputation, and as such I would love the opportunity to join your organization and assist with office organization, internal and external communication, secretarial work, and of course, receiving clients. I have over seven years’ experience as a receptionist in the Sheraton Hotel Arena. During that time, I have worked for two successful organizations and have provided tangible assistance and achieved real progress in helping those companies.
At Green Leaf Financial I was responsible for organizing meetings and preparing meeting facilities. I scheduled more than 20 appointments per month and managed to receive all clients with the utmost professionalism, developing a strong repertoire with many of our top customers. I also facilitated nearly all internal official communication and was responsible for much of our external communication, including following up with clients and putting our firm newsletter together.
At Ibom ICON Hotel, I have achieved even more. I schedule more than 60 meetings a month, all of which require juggling meeting room schedules and preparation work, including providing refreshment, ensuring rooms are up to par in terms of presentability, and providing all attendees with required documents and materials. Furthermore, I am the first point of contact for clients when they walk in. As such, I take my role very seriously and treat each guest as a VIP. I have never received any kind of complaint, and have been acknowledged officially by the firm on four separate occasions.
With my strong record and years of experience, I am confident I would fit in well at Smith & Brown Hotels. If you are so inclined, I would jump at the opportunity to visit you for an interview. Thank you for your time and consideration of my application. I look forward to hearing back from you at your convenience.
Thank you again.
Inyang, Victoria Amaka
Observe that the sample letter above has the following components:
5. Complimentary Close
Now, let us start with the Heading:
A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer’s contact information followed by the date. If you have contact information for the employer, list it below your contact information. The first section of a letter of application should include your contact information:·Your Name·Your Address·Your City, State, Zip Code·Your Cell Phone or Home Number·Your Email Address(optional).
Here, you state the job title you’re applying to fill. Five to six words is okay to capture the job title you’re gunning for. Example: RE: RECEPTIONIST POSITION APPLICATION. You may choose to make all caps (i. e every word is written in capital letters) or all initial cap case, here – all the initial letter of a proper word is capitalized. For example: Re: Receptionist Position Application.
What follows is the salutation with a comma and then a space. For example: Dear Search Committee: The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for letters of application and other employment-related correspondence. General Salutations for Cover Letters ·Dear Hiring Manager ·Dear Search Committee· To whom it may concern· Dear Human Resources Manager ·Dear Sir or Madam.
The body of the letter can further be divided into three parts, to include:
a. Introductory Paragraph:Begin by stating the job for which you are applying. Briefly mention how your skills and experience match the company and/or position; this will give the employer a preview of the rest of your letter.
b. Body Paragraph(s):In a paragraph or two, explain why you are interested in the job and why you make an excellent candidate for the position. Mention specific qualifications listed in the job posting and explain how you meet those qualifications. Do not simply restate your résumé, but provide specific examples. You can either write about these specific examples in complete sentences or in a bulleted format. It is better to use shorter paragraphs or a bulleted list of your qualifications rather than one large block of text.
c. Closing Paragraph: Conclude your letter of application by thanking the employer for considering you for the position and state that you would like to appear for an interview and/or discuss employment opportunities. Examples: Thank you Thank you for your consideration etc. Follow the closing with a comma, four spaces, and then your typed name
5. Complimentary Close
The following is a list of letter closing examples that are appropriate for letters of application and employment-related correspondence. Cover Letter Closing Examples include:
Ii Sincerely yours
Iv Best regards
- Kind regards
vi Yours truly
vii Most sincerely
Follow the closing with a comma, two spaces, and then your typed name: Lastly, sign your name between the closing and your typed name.
Principles to Remember
- Research About the Firm
- Write an Outline
- Write Your First Draft
- Customize Your Letter of Applications
- Your Words Should Convey Enthusiasm
- Make Your Opening Paragraph Strong
- Re-Echo Your Personal Value
- Keep it Short
- Be Courteous
- Editing/ Proofing Reading
I would love to assure you that If all these tips are meticulously followed and every component of your application or cover letter is well addressed, you will land yourself more interviews and bid farewell to getting rejected for a job vacancy. Best wishes in your application adventure. I hope to read from you soonest.
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