In today's competitive job market, you might have an outstanding résumé, but unless it catches the employer's attention, it is unlikely that you will obtain an interview. That's where a well written application letter can make all the difference.

To develop a strong application letter, you must always remember that the sole purpose of your application is to market yourself as the best candidate for the position. Put yourself in the employer's shoes - think about what they are looking for in a candidate; and draft your letter accordingly. The best way to do that is to use your application letter to draw a clear connection between your skills, experience and knowledge and the employer's requirements.

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A professional application letter consists of three sections; an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

Use the introduction to state your interest in the job and explain how you heard about it - from an advertisement, personal recommendation or other means.

The body is the longest part of the letter and should state your enthusiasm for the position as well as briefly explaining why the employer should read your résumé. This is the section where you draw the connection between your expertise and the employer's requirements and explain your points of difference from other applicants, promoting yourself as an excellent candidate and potential interviewee.

The concluding paragraph should request an interview and invite the employer to contact you if they would like any further information.

Application letters should have three, or at the most four paragraphs and generally be no longer than one page in length. An effective application letter should, above all, be professional. It should be typewritten, free of spelling and grammatical errors and have a positive, courteous tone.

With a well-written application letter and a professional résumé, applicants can be confident that when they attend their long-awaited interview, they will already have impressed their potential employer, significantly improving their chances of long-term career success.

How to Write a Winning Employment Application Letter

Susan McGrath is Principal of Susan McGrath Consulting, an Australian management consulting, communication and training firm. Based on Australia’s Gold Coast, SMC has a global reach, with clients located both across Australia and internationally. SMC assists organisations to develop their people and their productivity, specialising in strategy and planning, communication, training, mentoring, organisational development and human resource management. Visit [] for more information.

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