logo

How to Create Excellent Letters and Application Forms

Application forms should be read thoroughly before being completed.

When you see an advert for job you could apply for you need to look into all the aspects of the advert before filling out your application form or writing your letter.

Even if you are contemplating sending a letter of application, you could still give the company a ring to find out anything else about the job you may need to know. For example if the advert does not show hours or rates of pay. If it does not say if there is weekend work involved or how many positions are available. If you ring up and have a chat before placing your application you will have already made an impression on the employer about who you are and how interested you seem to be.

If you do not want to telephone but you know where the store is, you could maybe go and have a look and introduce yourself in person, requesting an application form, asking questions and looking at how others on the team are working. Once you have this information you are better equipped to start the job application process. Remember that the initial point of contact, whether it is on the phone, in person, by application form or in writing is the first impression the employer will get of you, so you have to make it a good one.

Excellent Application Forms

Application forms come in varying formats, either paper, on the internet or even by audio cassette if you have problems that make it impossible for you to fill out one in writing or typing.

The first thing you need to do when you get an application form is read it through, possibly a couple of times. This gives you chance to see if there are any specific instructions pertaining to the form, such as which colour ink you need to use, or which font type and size on a computer. They may say that you need to just use capitals for clarity or to put the date in written format.

Mistakes made on any of these things because you have not taken the time to read through it properly will go against you when your prospective employer is considering your form. If you have access to a photocopier make a couple of copies of the form so that you can do rough drafts before you fill it out. If this not an option you can just fill out the questions on a blank piece of paper so you can check through everything before you transfer it to the form, or do the first draft very faintly in pencil that can then be erased when you are happy with it.

Be really sure that you are spelling everything properly. If you write the company name down wrong, or spell the names of other employers inaccurately it will again leave a bad impression on the person reading the applications. You also need to know exactly what the job you are applying for is about, so read the advert through again and again.

In whichever format you receive the advert about the job, make sure you have all the details of the job description and the company. You could snip it out of the newspaper to put it in your portfolio for that job, write it down if you have seen in advertised in a shop window or get a print out of jobs from the Jobcentre Plus or online. No matter how you do it, keeping a copy of the advert and being really familiar with the job description is crucial for both application forms and written applications.

You must be sure that all aspects of the application from are covered when you fill it out. It could be that you had gaps in your work history, but it is essential not to just leave these areas blank but to account for what you were doing at the time. This could be raising a family, travelling, volunteering or studying or even pursuing other interests but you must account for it.

In the other information section, include other skill and experience you have, for example if you have been raising a family then you have experience in caring, management, organisation etc. If you have travelled or have any hobbies include all of this to create the best picture available of who you are. Once you have filled out the application get someone you are familiar with to check it out before you send it off.

You may want to get them to do this at the draft stage as well so you can correct any mistakes before you fill in the final copy. You could ask a family member or friend to help you or go to Jobcentre Plus and get an advisor to help you out. Always include the brief letter of introduction and a copy of your CV with this application as well, you should have a standard letter of introduction already to go in your portfolio but if you want an example then have a look at our practice letter of introduction.

Writing a Letter of Application

If you have to write a letter of application rather than filling out an application form you have to remember that this is your opportunity to sell yourself to the company. As previously explained, you should always present a CV/resume with a letter of application so all the actual dates for your training and experience will be on that and you do not need to include them in the letter.

The thing you need to remember in a letter of application is that you need to be clear and concise without going into unnecessary details. Many personnel departments and potential employers have a lot of applications to read through, so while you need yours to stand out, you do not need to send them a 20 page thesis!

So to start your letter of application you need to begin at the beginning. You need to format it so that your name and address is on the right hand side, the employers name and address is on the left with the date that the letter was written underneath your details. Remember to include as many contact details as possible for example your mobile number and email address so that you do not miss their attempts to invite you for an interview.

Try to find out the name of the person recruiting; in fact try to find out as much about the company as possible. This could be by telephoning them and asking some basic questions, such as who is the name of the recruitment officer/employer, what is the nature of their business, is there any more information about the job like hours or pay or systems that they use. Getting all this information in advance gives you a bit more ammunition than other applicants as you have already shown initiative and interest.

If the company has a website have a look at this to see how much data you can glean about the company. Any little detail that you can include in your application letter, even down to who you address it to, that is not included in the advert will show that you have initiative. When addressing the letter you have to use simple rules for starting and finishing. If you know the person’s name even if it is Mrs Bloom or Mr Bottle you should finish with ‘Yours faithfully’, but if it is ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ you should always finish with ‘Yours sincerely’. It is important to sign the letter with your signature, but also to print your name underneath, especially if your signature is unreadable.

Make sure your application letter is neat, tidy and professional looking. If at all possible type it out on a typewriter or computer as this is always easier to read. Put your points into separate paragraphs so that your reader can pull out the relevant bits of information without having to wade back through a large chunk of text. The same as the application form do a rough draft (unless you are doing it on a computer where you can change mistakes as you go along) and make sure your final draft is on nice paper with perfect punctuation, grammar and spelling.

The content of the letter should refer to the advert as much as possible when providing information regarding to the job. Use the advert to illustrate the experience you have in the field that you are applying for. If you have spent a lot of time working with people at a hobby or something like Scouts or Guides that can also be put into the letter along with any other hobbies and skills you have. You need to remember that your letter of application is an advert as well, it is advertising your skills to the company so you have to make it is seem as incredible and appropriate as possible without writing 10 pages about it.

At all times whether you are filling in an application form, writing a cover letter or writing a letter of application make it clear, to the point and as positive as possible.