Letter of Application
Letter of Application Hints
A job ad presents an employer's hopes, not
absolute demands. Employers will often accept less in some categories in
return for more in others. A good letter of application acknowledges
the differences between the ad and your resume but stresses the assets
you would bring to a job.
People with GPAs below 3.0 get good jobs. If you have below a 3.0
overall, perhaps you have a 3.0 in courses in your major, or a 3.0
in the final two years. If applicable to the job description, indicate
this information about your grades in the letter.
If you have relevant work experience, you should
emphasize it by providing information on exactly what you
did, how much responsibility you had, and what skills you
used. But work experience is important even if it is not
directly relevant. It can show ability to get along with
co-workers, take responsibility, deal with customers, and
solve problems. If you worked while going to school, it
can show the ability to balance time demands. Indicating
that you worked many hours each week may even explain a
less than perfect GPA.
The tone of your letter of application should be
affirmative and upbeat. Emphasize strengths rather than
apologize for weaknesses.
Don't explain the job to the employer. When you write: "this position will
surely require . . . . " you are offering your opinion
on matters you don't fully understand.
Don't list your good qualities, but use the letter to
explain actions which reveal those qualities. Rather than "I am a good leader,"
write "I was the only part-time worker at Jones Company
who was promoted to section head."
Whenever possible, refer in your letter to the specific elements
of the job described in the ad.
Remember that you don't have to put everything in your letter.
The purpose of the letter is get an interview.
You will have more time during the interview to explain
any additional assets you bring to the position.