Writing a Job Application Letter: Developing
Your Argument. This video will focus on the purpose, audience, content, and organization for a job application letter, also known as a cover letter. These are
general guidelines and not intended to cover every possible scenario. However, the purpose of
most cover letters is to get an interview. The audience for the letter is the employer.
The content should include your qualifications for the job. The organization for most cover
letters includes three main components: 1. An opening paragraph to establish your
purpose for writing. 2. Body paragraphs to argue why you are qualified for the job. 3. A closing paragraph that promotes goodwill.
Before drafting your letter, carefully read the job posting to determine required and
desired qualifications for the job. Sometimes these are specifically labeled and listed,
but not always. Highlight and expand on a few key items on your resume that relate directly to qualifications sought by the employer.
Let’s look at a fictional example of a summer internship in accounting.
Your cover letter should include a letterhead that provides all your contact information,
so that the employer knows how to reach you. Use a typeface that coordinates with your
resume. The opening paragraph should establish your
purpose for writing: I am applying for the Corporate Accounting Internship at Big Commercial Real Estate Development Corporation, which was posted in the CareerLink database at my college, Miami University of Ohio. Forecast your argument by saying something
about your interest or how you meet a key requirement: As a junior accountancy major
with an interest in commercial real estate, I believe that I qualify to be considered
for this position. In the body of your letter, you will make your
case for why you are qualified for the position. You might have one or two paragraphs, depending on what you need to say. Focus first on required qualifications. In
this case you must be a junior accounting major from an accredited university, but
that is already stated in your first paragraph. You must also have taken at least five accounting courses. Say what kind of accounting courses you have taken: By the end of my junior year I will have completed five courses in accounting.
I have already taken two courses in financial accounting,
one in managerial accounting, and another in accounting processes.
This company is looking for someone with leadership ability, but it is not enough to say you have
it. What exactly have you done that demonstrates leadership?: In addition, I have been involved with the Accounting Club since my freshman year. This year as recruitment chair, I organized Meet-the-Members social events to help potential members get to know our
group and to answer their questions about our activities. These efforts resulted in
50 new members, which is a 100 percent increase from last year Next focus on
desired qualifications: These include real estate experience and fluency in Spanish. Again, be brief, but specific: Last summer, I worked as an intern for a real-estate appraisal firm, which not only taught me more about managing the accounts of a small business, but also sparked my interest in commercial real estate. In addition to bookkeeping, I interacted with property owners and bank representatives in person, over email, and by phone. I also
assisted with appraisals of commercial properties. This paragraph says nothing about Spanish. If you do not meet all the required or desired qualifications, don’t mention it or make excuses for it. Speak to your strengths. Let the company decide if your lack of Spanish should keep you out of the running.
In the closing paragraph, promote goodwill. Briefly restate your qualifications for or
interest in the position: I meet the educational requirements for this position and have relevant experience in the real estate industry. Accountancy within the commercial real estate industry
is the area I intend to pursue as a career, so I would be excited to learn more about
this opportunity. Once you do that, you’ll want to thank them for considering your application: Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you. Throughout the letter, you’ll want to maintain a respectful
tone, and be sure to review your letter for style, formatting, and mechanics.