Career & Education

How to write an application letter that gets noticed — Pt 2

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

Dear Tabia:

As indicated last week, this second of our two-part response will look at the content of your letter as well as its layout and organisation.

Always bear your main purpose in mind, which is to get your résumé read and to generate sufficient interest that you will be invited to an interview. Pay keen attention to the requirements of the position. If a job description was not provided, do some research to find out what roles holders of similar positions played.

The key requirements usually fall under the headings: education and training, experience, specific technical and employability skills, and competencies. Your goal is to demonstrate that your qualifications and experience are a great match for this position. To do so you need to link the core dimensions of the job to your specific competencies and experience. Resist the temptation to give too much detail in the application letter.


In terms of organisation, take note of the following:

i. The layout should be full-block format.

ii. Structure your application letter with three or four core paragraphs.

iii. Be concise. The letter should be no more than one page.

iv. In the first paragraph, establish your reason for writing, identify the specific position you are seeking to fill or the area of service. Indicate how you became aware of the vacancy.

v. In the second and, if necessary, the third paragraphs you tell why you are interested in the organisation and show explicitly how your specialised training and experience would be a good fit for the position and how you will add value. Based on the themes of the job requirements, provide evidence of your ability to perform the job citing accomplishments from your training and experience. Save details such as name of organisation and dates for the résumé.

vi. In your final core paragraph, request an interview and indicate the specific action you will take and in what timeframe.

vii. Lastly, express appreciation for the reader's time and consideration. End with a note of optimism.

viii. Include a formal complimentary close.

Bearing the above elements in mind, let your personality and creativity shine through. Resist the temptation to copy wholesale what others have written.

As a follow-up, in next week's edition we will look at the different types of job search letters paying attention to the distinction between prospecting and application letters.

See you then.

All the best.



Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president, student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon