job applications

Job Hunting

Eduku Francis from Ghana writes:

I would like to know the difference between an application letter and a cover letter. I would like to have examples of application and cover letters. This is because I am always confused as to why both must be sent when one is looking for employment.


Roger Woodham replies:

letter of application

If you are responding to a job advertisement you may be asked to write a letter of application. This is the letter which lists all your work experience and qualifications and should also explain why you want the job. Begin your letter by telling the reader where you saw the advertisement:

  • I am writing to apply for the post of Fashion Shop Manager advertised in the 'News Shopper' of 14 February 2002.

You would then go on to list your experience and relevant qualifications:

  • I have worked in the retail industry for a total of ten years, first as a sales assistant in a department store and for the last three years as a Section Head and Deputy Manager at Jones the Bootmaker.

You might then go on to say why you are particularly interested in this job and mention the particular abilities and skills that you have.

  • I am applying for this position as I am looking to progress from junior to senior management. I have always been interested in the latest fashion trends and developments and I believe your organisation is a well-run quality fashion business. I would very much like to work for your company.
  • I believe I have all the skills, knowledge and expertise that you are looking for. I have lots of retail initiative, can schedule and prioritise tasks and can work to strict deadlines. I also work particularly well with people and would enjoy leading the team and working with clients and customers.

You might then close the letter with the following formula.

  • I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite me for an interview.


covering letter

Many employers will ask you to write to them or phone them for an application form and further details when they advertise jobs. Sometimes you will be asked to send your CV or resume.

Your CV or curriculum vitae lists your educational and career history and is a useful summary for an employer of all your educational and employment achievements up to the present time. You must always ensure that it is up to date.

A covering letter may then be very useful because you can enclose it with your CV or a completed application form. In your covering letter you can draw attention to particular information which you wish to highlight. Such a covering letter might look like this:

Dear Mr Sorefoot

Fashion Shop Manager

Please find enclosed my completed application form for the above position.

As you will see from my form, I have ten years experience with Bates Retail as a Fashion Shop Manager.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite me for an interview. I can be contacted at any time by phone, fax or email at work or at home. I would very much welcome an opportunity to discuss my application in greater detail and convince you that I am the right person for the job.

Yours sincerely

Frances Slimwaist

If you have filled in an application form you do not need to send a CV because all the relevant information should be on your form.



Note that cover as verb, noun and adjective is used in a variety of different ways:

If you cover something, you place something else over it to protect it or hide it or close it:

  • Always cover what you are cooking with a tight-fitting lid and cook it slowly.
  • His desk is always covered with papers. I don't know how he can work in such a mess.
  • She covered all her bedroom walls with posters of Eminem.
  • There are always lots of cafes and restaurants within the covered shopping malls in British towns and cities.

cover = protection

Cover can also be used to talk about protection from enemy attack or for talking about insurance.

  • The air force was unable to provide any sort of air cover for their ground troops.
  • There was no cover of any kind, no trees, no valleys, just the endless barren plain.
  • Are you covered to drive this car? Do you have proper insurance cover?
  • Does your travel insurance cover you against theft or loss of valuables?

cover = address or report on a topic

Cover can be used to talk about studying a subject or in a journalistic context to talk about reporting.

  • We haven't covered molecular biology yet. We're going to do that next term.
  • He's going to cover the World Cup later this year for BBC World Service.

cover for = substitute for someone at work

  • Can you cover for me this afternoon while I visit my father in hospital?
  • There were not enough teachers to cover for absent colleagues and some students had to be sent home.


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