SEJ 8 Letter of Application / Cover Letter


Listen to the HR expert talk on getting the most out of a cover letter, then answer the questions below. You can post your answers in the comments bellow, just type your name first.

1. What is the function of a cover letter?

2. What information should be included in the letter?

3. From the employer's point of view, how does a cover letter assist a resume?

4. What tone should be taken when writing the letter?

5. Should the candidate be passive or aggressive in their letter?

6. Give examples of what not to do when writing a cover letter.

Guide to writing a cover letter

To download the guide to writing a cover letter with tips, structure overview, and examples, click the button.

Sample letter analysis and error correction

The link below will take you to a sample letter of application written by a senior colleague of yours. Read the letter and bearing in mind everything you've heard and read about writing a letter of application, suggest corrections and edits in the comments (in the document). Think about the structure, choice of words and sentence structure, tone, information included, style, etc. You don't have to be logged-in to comment, but make sure you write your name in the comment.

Writing assignment

Write a letter of application to a specific job position or a study course. The letter should be short and concise. You will not have to write any address information. You are free to invent your qualifications, skills, and work experience to fit the advertised position. Submit your letter below.  The assignment is due on March 4, 2016.

Here is the job add:

2 English Language Teachers Needed in Vladivostok, Russian Federation

Oxford English Academy, Vladivostok, Russia, is seeking two English language teachers for our growing schools. The start date of the contract is June-July 1, 2015 and the end date of the contract is June-July 1, 2016. If you cannot commit to this contract time, please do not apply.

Qualifications/experience/skills sought:
* Professional in manner and lesson preparation (for instance, teachers are expected to be at the school 30 minutes before their lessons);
* Bachelor's degree + TEFL Certification (optional);
* Post-TEFL Certification experience of at least one year highly preferred;
* Experience teaching a range of ages and English language skills (you probably won't teach children under 11 or 12 years-old, but you will likely teach teens and adults);
* Experience with business English and exams (particularly IELTS/TOEFL);
* Experience working/living in Russia is highly preferred;
* Russian language skills not required, but highly recommended;
* Highly preferred: Flexibility and an open mind. Russia is a unique country with singular qualities; things change, things can take a long to be completed, and so forth. In addition, the nature of our school is such that schedules can change. If you are wary of these two realities: Please do not apply.

We offer:
* 50,000 – 60,000 rubles/month net(roughly $1600-2000USD) for 110-120 academic hours per month teaching (one academic hour = 40 minutes). Teachers are welcome to work extra academic hours at an hourly rate, if desired, provided that said hours are available;
* Reimbursement for return air tickets (1/3 at the beginning of the contract, 1/3 in the middle, 1/3 at the end);
* Visa costs reimbursement (upon arrival);
* Work visa support (this means we will take care of altering your initial visa to a work visa--We do not want you to work illegally!);
* Health insurance provided;
* We will assure you are legally registered; and
* Airport pick-up.

If this position genuinely interests you, please send an email message to Director of Studies Anna Chernysheva.

If you are a finalist for this position, you will be contacted via email for a Skype interview before the end of May 1, 2015. Due to the volume of applications, your inquiry may not be answered if you are not a finalist.

Cover letter blunders

Reasons why proof-reading is imperative.

"Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year."

"I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience."

"I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreasheet progroms."

"Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave."

"Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."

"Failed bar exam with relatively high grades."

"It's best for employers that I not work with people."

"Let's meet, so you can ‘ooh' and ‘aah' over my experience."

"You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time."

"Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details."

"I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse."

"I am loyal to my employer at all costs. Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail."

"My goal is to be a meterologist. But since I possess no training in meterology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage."

"I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant."

"Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far."

"As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments."

"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

"Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping'. I have never quit a job."

"Reason for leaving my last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 am every morning. I couldn't work under thos conditions."

"The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers."

"Finished eighth in my class of ten."

Comment Stream

a year ago

1. A cover letter is your introduction of yourself to the potential employer, sort of “Hello, this is who I am” intended to successfully leave a positive first impression.
2. You should introduce yourself, tell them who you are, the reason you are applying for the particular position, then stress the reasons which make you the perfect candidate, and propose the steps of action for future contact. You must address it to the specific individual responsible for the recruiting. It mustn’t be too long. It should contain your overall objective, a summary of your skills and talents and your qualifications as well as your education level and work experience. Contact information is a must.
3. Cover letter is very important, it is not optional but even mandatory if you wish to succeed in applying. For the employer, it’s a tool of elimination.
4. The tone must be positive, with nothing too detailed but action-oriented. Take special care not to write from the “I” perspective – you should focus on their needs and mutual benefits of potential employment.
5. Notice the difference between being aggressive and assertive. You want to leave the impression of an assertive person.
6. Grammatical and spelling errors are unacceptable. You should be punctual with dates, and stay away from fancy fonts and embellishments. It should be tidy, with a clear, concise structure which is easy to read. At the same time, it shouldn’t be a generic cover letter but tailored to the specific needs of the prospective employer.