Write a good application letter

With an application letter you try to “sell” yourself to the employer. You have to make sure that your letter stands out and that you are invited for a job interview. How do you do that?


The different letters stand for:

  • Seek attention
  • Arouse interest
  • Arouse desire
  • Incitement to action

Seek attention

Sometimes a company receives as many as a hundred application letters. It is impossible to read through them all. The first sentence sets the tone. If you start with a trite: In relation to your vacancy, it is not striking or original, because nine out of ten applicants use this sentence as an opening sentence. It is important that you distinguish yourself from the other applicants. So you have to be original. The first paragraph should attract attention.

Opening sentences for a job application letter

It makes a good impression if you call in advance to ask questions about the position. Just make sure they are intelligent questions. You then have the right reason for the application letter, a nice opening sentence, in which you can refer back to a telephone conversation. For example:

  • After our telephone conversation last Wednesday, I became very interested in the position of administrative assistant.

There are several ways to grab the reader’s attention, such as opening with a question. You can also take something from current events that is relevant to the position. For example, if you apply for a social worker vacancy, you may notice something about addicted young people. However, that comment must fit in well with the position. Furthermore, it doesn’t make a good impression if you talk too much about yourself or the company. The trick is to commit yourself to the company. What do you have to offer the company?

Arouse interest

Merely attracting attention is not enough. The next step is to arouse the selector’s interest. Of course you talk about work experience, education and motivation. But that is often not enough to convince the assessor. If you have unique knowledge or skills, you would do well to mention them. For example:

  • During my work as a sales manager, I discovered that there are different ways to launch a product on the international market.

In the second paragraph you can also ask the selector a question. This shows courage. Only do this if it is also in your character. After all, if you are invited for a job interview, you have to live up to those expectations. Perhaps you have a number of striking things on your CV that the selector might question. Multiple unfinished studies, a completely different job. You can change these types of prejudices positively, for example in the following way:

  • You may wonder why I worked as an administrative assistant, when I have such an enterprising attitude.

And then you explain why.

Arouse desire

By writing an application letter, you aim to be invited for an interview. So you have to create the desire to invite you. Many application letters are written in the first person. But it’s also about what you have to offer the company! Why does the company need you? Describe this as completely as possible. Characteristics such as flexibility and being ambitious can be illustrated with examples from previous work experiences.

Incitement to action / Closing the application letter

We have arrived at the last point. In the last paragraph you confidently make it clear what you want. Avoid words like I hope and await your response. They sound uncertain and doubtful. Instead:

  • I would be happy to explain my motivation and CV in more detail in an interview.
  • I would like to discuss this position with you in an exploratory meeting.