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How to write the perfect application letter

Written by: Michelle Schoenmakers

Probably the most challenging part of applying for a job, is writing your application letter. This letter gives you the opportunity to stand out amongst dozens of others, elaborate on your CV and most importantly, reflects your personality. With these tips and tricks, you won’t ever have to feel lost while writing your letter again!

The first step of writing a good application letter, is to read the vacancy text very carefully. You want your letter to match the skills and characteristics described in the vacancy text. That being said, of course you don’t want to make stuff up, instead describe the side of yourself that would fit the vacancy best. Once you have read the vacancy text well, you can start writing your letter. A good application letter has the length of about one page and is divided into multiple paragraphs. In the first paragraph, you will describe why you are applying for this job. It is always good to make a reference to the job title, so that it is clear which job you are applying to. For example:

Recently I graduated from my studies in (…) and I am looking for a new challenge. When I saw the vacancy of (…), I was immediately excited.

In the following paragraph, you want to introduce yourself. Describe your background, such as your completed studies, current job, or other relevant information. Think about what is relevant to mention for the specific vacancy. For some positions it might be important to mention for example extracurricular activities, whereas for other positions it might be important to mention your internship experiences. In this paragraph you start writing towards why you fit the vacant position.

Reading the vacancy text thoroughly will help you writing the next paragraph(s). You will now start to explain specifically why you would be a good fit for the position. Literally go past all mentioned skills and characteristics of the vacancy and see in which you excel. Take (some of) these and elaborate on why or how you possess these skills or characteristics. Use real examples to explain this. If for example one of the skills mentioned in the vacancy text is project management, you could write something like this:

In my current job, I have worked on multiple projects, such as (…). I have experience with most roles in a project team, including but not limited to project leader, notary and treasurer.

If this is an important part in the job description, you can put more emphasize on this skill/experience by elaborating on specific situations or which of the mentioned roles fits you best (and why!). You can write multiple paragraphs matching your skills and experiences to the vacancy text, but don’t go for an overkill. Try to choose about 3 to 4 of the most important skills and characteristics in the vacancy texts and describe these well. Make sure that the ones that you choose are also your strongest traits. You can literally say that this makes you a good fit:

I believe that these strengths will allow me to perform very well in a quality associated position.

Once you have described why you would be a good fit for the job, you can explain in short why the position and the company interest you. Good arguments are for example: ability to grow, you believe in the vision of the company, working in an international environment, etc. Make sure these arguments do fit the position and the company. Lastly, you want to close with a banger, to emphasize your strengths one last time. Choose one or two of your best personality traits, which more or less comply to the position you are applying for and emphasize how motivated you are. For example:

I am a dedicated and structured person that would love to work with you on achieving your company goals.

You can follow this sentence up with referring to your CV for more information and that you are willing to elaborate in a personal interview. Put your name and details at the bottom and you have written a perfect application letter! Keep in mind, the key is to make the letter reflect who you are!

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