How to write a standard Nigeria application letter. Most of the time, employers prefer to receive an application letter for a vacant position instead of a CV and cover letter. You should use a standard application letter when applying for a job where your personality is most important for the role.
Writing a standard application letter will help showcase your personality, your skills, and relevant achievements that will attract the hiring manager’s attention.
A standard application letter reflects more details about your person. Every employer wants to have an idea of who you are, before inviting you for an interview.
In this article, I will explain to you how to write a standard application letter. Before I proceed, let’s go over what an employment application letter is.
What is an Employment Application Letter?
An employment application letter explains who you are. As earlier stated, it highlights your achievements and skills, it portrays you in a positive light in the eyes of the hiring manager or recruiter responsible for reviewing applications.
An employment application letter explains to the reader why they ought to invite you for an interview. It basically highlights the key qualifications that qualify you for the role.
A standard application letter can impress a possible employer, and it sets you ahead of other applicants. In your letter, you’d also want to point out your familiarity with the organization to which you’re applying. You’ll discuss how your professional goals and aspirations align with the company’s goals. It’s important to use your application letter to showcase some aspects of your personality.
What is the Difference Between Cover Letter and Application Letter?
In most cases, an application letter and also a cover letter perform similar functions. However, they are different. Application letters are meant to stand alone, while a cover letter is sometimes sent alongside a CV or résumé.
An application letter clearly states your skills, competencies, personality, and goals as they align with that of the organization. A cover letter, on the other hand, highlights the information contained on a CV but does not contain an excessive amount of information about the job applicant. It is merely an introduction to the CV/résumé.
A cover letter contains a quick introduction which consists of three to four sentences about the job seeker’s experience, skills, education, and accomplishment. It states in clear terms, why the job seeker is the best person for a role.
An application letter may have an intensive introduction because it stands alone unlike a cover letter that introduces your CV.
A cover letter is written with the intent of capturing a recruiter’s attention, enough for him/her to review the CV or résumé, and possibly invite the job seeker for an interview. While an application letter is generally used by a job seeker to indicate interest in an unpublicized vacancy.
When to Write an Application Letter
For jobs in Nigeria, an application letter is a proper introduction between you and your prospective employer. In most cases, it helps you get ahead of other job seekers and gives your potential employer reasons to consider you ahead of other applicants.
An application letter is not just written for jobs in private companies but also for government-owned companies. Hence, you are meant to write an application letter when applying for government openings.
Nigeria has a far larger number of job seekers compared to other countries. So, what happens when jobs are advertised, with thousands of applicants showing interest? Your well-written application letter is what will make you stand out.
How to Write an Application Letter
To write a standard job application letter, follow these outlines. Ensure you include information about yourself and your professional experience, this will appeal to a hiring manager:
1. Research and Understand the organization and Job role.
2. Decide on your application Format.
3. Address the heading of the letter.
4. Address the letter to the Hiring Manager (HR) or recruiter.
5. Introduction: Describe your interest.
6. Describe your relevant experiences and qualifications.
7. Include key aspects that make you stand out amidst other applicants.
8. Express gratitude.
9. Close the letter.
1. Research and Understand the Company and Job Role.
Making research about the company is something you should do before writing an application letter. The essence is to know the organization, and job role you’re applying for. This will ensure that your prospective employer notices your application amongst others.
Aside from the fact that you will stand out, researching a company and understanding the role of the position before writing your application letter will make it easier for you to compose your application letter.
2. Decide on Your Application Format
After making a research on the organization, and getting a sufficient understanding of the job role. You ought to create a rough draft of the application letter, support it with your research before writing the final one.
3. Address the Heading of Your Letter
Addressing the header of your application letter is vital. Although, ‘salutation‘ is one aspect of the application letter that the employer or hiring manager will likely see first as soon as they open the application letter. Nevertheless, the heading of your letter should be written with care.
Use a proper business heading for your application letter.
The heading should include your name, contact information, address and date, on the right side of your application letter. Then, the name of the hiring manager(optional), the title of the hiring manager, the company’s name, and the company’s address, on the left side of your application letter.
Example of a header:
Place of Residence (Your address).
Your phone number.
Your email address.
Name of hiring manager.
Title of hiring manager.
4. Address the Letter to the Hiring Manager (HR) or Recruiter.
How you address the hiring manager or recruiter is very important as he/she can sense your tone from the way you write. Treat the recipients with respect when you are writing your application letter. Be polite, and use formal language when writing. Avoid using any slang or ambiguous words.
Address your letter with a typical business greeting, like “Dear Mr./Mrs.”, “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”
5. Introduction: Describe Your Interest
Your introduction should describe your interests, but it must be brief. As much as you are giving your prospective employers reasons why you are the most suitable candidate for the role, you should not bore them. Due to the high number of applications employers receive daily, they won’t be ready to spend much time reading a single application letter.
Moreover, your application letter stands out after you’ve mentioned the aim of your letter within the first paragraph. This is most likely the first place the recruiter or hiring manager will observe.
6. Describe Your Relevant Experiences and Qualifications
The next few paragraphs of your letter should highlight your experience, qualifications, and skills, positioned in a way that aligns with the company’s goals and mission.
By describing your relevant experience and qualification for the role, you are giving your prospective employer the mindset that you are enthusiastic about the work and ready to help the corporation achieve its set goals and objectives.
7. Include key Aspects that Will Make you Stand Out Amidst other Applicants
When you are writing your application letter, consider how you’ll be able to combine some aspects of your personality in relation to the position.
It is important to incorporate key aspects that stands you out as an applicant.
8. Express Gratitude
Before you log out in your letter, express your appreciation to the hiring manager for reviewing your letter and considering you for the position.
The hiring manager is taking the time to read what you have written, it is only right to express your gratitude politely and professionally in your last paragraph.
9. Close the Letter
At the end of your application letter, you ought to ensure that your tone matches the tone of the information.
A formal application letter closing note should be polite, courteous, and respectful. For example; Yours ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Faithfully.
Sample of a Standard Application Letter
10 Application Letter and CV Frequently Asked Questions
• What is the Ideal Font (Style/Size) for an Application Letter and CV?
Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend, or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter’s presentation and appearance.
It’s best to use a professional and traditional font, such as Times New Roman, in a size from 10 to 12 points. Try to restrict your job application letter to one page. When a hiring manager reviews your job application letter, they will get their first impression of you as a potential employee, so take time to format it professionally and keep it concise.
CV font size:
The CV font should be size 12 points.
• What Colours Should I Use for My Application Letter and CV?
The color scheme of your application letter and CV is an important part of its design. There is a balance to be struck between creativity and professionalism. Employers look through hundreds of application letters and CVs so you need yours to stand out. At the same time, you want to give a positive first impression that you’re a serious job candidate.
The best colors to use on an application letter and CV depend on the position you’re applying for. A black and white application letter and CV can be fine for some professions, such as an accounting or a banking.
A web designer or social media content creator can explore a few colors on their CVs.
Most professionally-designed CVs use color. Using color on your CV can help to make your CV look attractive and easy-on-the-eye.
• What are the Best Tips to Use When Writing an Application Letter for a Nigerian Job
Do Not Copy Your CV.
An application letter is a marketing pitch. Your application letter should show how exactly your background makes you a good fit for a particular position. In contrast, your CV is a general record of your experience, education, and accomplishments.
Always Write One.
Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
Use Business Letter Format.
Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
Throughout the letter, focus on how you would be of benefit to the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. Also, include examples of times when you added value to a company.
TIP: Numerical values offer solid evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
Reread the job listing. Take note of any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your application letter. This will help the employer see that you are strongly fit for the job.
Keep it Brief.
Keep your letter on a page, with not more than four paragraphs.
An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Therefore, read through your cover letter, and if possible ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammatical or spelling errors.
• What Experiences Can a Fresh Graduate Reference in Their Application Letter?
As a fresh graduate, you may not have much experience in the workforce. This can make building a CV and writing an application letter challenging. However, if you haven’t worked previously, you should make particular reference to your internships, volunteering, and leadership experience that will be relevant to your role. Check out this Career Tips For Fresh Graduates.
• Sample of a Job Application Email”
• Should I Attach my Application Letter in All Job Application?
In Nigeria, most job postings always state “Send your CV to”, and there is always an available email address. But, some employers will ask directly for both CV and application letter, so go ahead and attach your CV and application letter.
For those that won’t state it, it is required that you always copy your application letter and pass it as the email body. Don’t always leave it blank.
• What is the Best Format to Send an Application Letter PDF or Word?
PDF – Portable document format.
This is a file format for capturing and sending electronic documents in exactly the intended format.
PDF file will always deliver the exact format you send whereas in most cases the Word Docx won’t always deliver in the same format.
So, unless a company specifies a specific format, you should generally send your CV and application letter as a PDF. That way, it’ll look exactly as you want it to, no matter what format or fonts you have in it, and it’ll look the same both on the web and on your phone.
• How Long Should my Application Letter Be?
Application letters should be between half a page to one full page in length. Limit your application letter length to 4 paragraphs, opening each with a simple topic sentence and closing with an attention-grabbing final thought.
• Is it Rude to Send My Application Letter to a Company that is not Recruiting?
Not all companies advertise job openings. Some companies get plenty of applications even without advertising vacant positions. Similarly, other companies may not be in hiring mode but will consider applications from qualified candidates if they anticipate an opening in the near future.
Therefore, sending a CV and application letter to an employer, even though you aren’t sure if there are available jobs, is a way to get yourself noticed. It may also get you advance consideration for positions that have just opened up. If you have the skills the company is in need of, it may even get you considered for a brand-new position. So, it is not rude to send your application letter to a company that is not recruiting.
• Should Application Letter be Attached as a Document in a Mail or Used as the Body of the Mail?
If the job posting says to include your application letter and CV as an attachment, you can easily attach PDF files to your email message.
Some employers do not accept attachments.
In these cases, paste your cover letter into your email message. Use a simple font and remove any fancy formatting.
Written by Samuel James
I hope you find this article helpful. Kindly drop your questions, comment, or suggestion in the comment section below.