10 Tips You Need When Writing An Application Letter In Nigeria

Application letters are very essential to secure any kind of job. It is necessary that every Nigerian currently in the labour market or preparing to join knows how to write an acceptable application letter.

Imagine applying for a competitive job or contract and your application cannot even make it past the first stage of scrutiny because you couldn’t write a proper application letter. That wouldn’t be good enough.

A well-written job application letter will boost your odds of making it to the last stage of the recruitment process. Whatever type of role you are applying for, I tried to make this piece as broad as possible to cover a wide range of applications.

Before you get to the interview stage, there are certain tricks and tips you could use to amplify your application letter to stand out as the most qualified person for the job or company. So, here are the things you should do to have a perfect application letter:

1. Be professional

When I first started writing these tips, I felt it was a little bit too obvious to emphasize on being professional because I assumed everybody knows that by now, right? I mean its basic marketing and business 101.

However, I stumbled on a site that accepts random people’s application letters; they would correct certain things and send it back to the client at a price. With the permission of some of their clients, they published some application letters with various types of errors especially the ones with no atom of professionalism.

Trust me, to say I was not surprised by the type of errors even established businesses make on their application letters would be a gigantic lie. Always ensure that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.

Be professional! do not just cook anything up for the sake of applying for many roles. Make sure you organise and arrange your ideas, values and mission properly to ensure that your application is not thrown out the window.  

Your application letter is your only chance to sell yourself to an employer in a way that explains why you are the perfect candidate for a position. So, do it well.

I am, not I’m (Avoid contractions)

Write acronyms in full

Obey capitalization rules

Punctuate appropriately

2. Have a good structure

So, you have probably written your home address and it’s time to draft the body of your application. If your application letter doesn’t follow this format, then you might have a problem.

  • Opening Salutation
  • Subject line/Email subject
  • The body 
  • Closing Salutation

The body of your application letter should start with your opening salutation and a comma(Dear Sir/Madam,). Use the receiver’s last name if you know it.

Subject line – Whether it’s an email or a handwritten/typed application letter, ensure your subject line is clear and as straightforward as possible. It should give the recipient an idea of what the content would look like by specifying the exact role you’re interested in and not a general term for general roles. e.g 

Job Application For The Role of A Headteacher

The next line may include the reason for your application, your personal information such as education details, previous achievement, your personal reputation, what you can offer which makes up about one or two paragraphs. End your application letter with your closing salutation and signature.

3. Attach Referrals

You might not know how important or valuable referrals are but they can give you an edge in a competitive atmosphere. After employers must have checked educational qualifications, social background and experience, the next logical thing would be to reach out to your former employees or work with the referrals you gave them.

Some recruiters might not be so chanced to start reaching out to your past bosses, hence, they’ll prefer referrals if you have any. This might not necessarily be the advert’s requirement, but just like wearing a suit and tie to an interview, it is expected of you.

It was with great interest that I learned of the opening for a headteacher in your school. Your administrator, Jane White, was my colleague and the programs coordinator at Springwood school, before taking her current position with Crusader school. As she can attest, I bring a unique perspective to curriculums and can integrate creativity with classroom routines.

4. Talk about your experience

Previously, I was writing a piece on how to attract the attention of investors and discovered that investors and employers respond better to the word ‘’we’’. Why? It’s because the end goal is to have as many people as possible to be part of the business. Of course, it’s just you and the big dream at the initial stage of a business.

On the other hand, you need to use the word ‘’I’’ when writing applications because it is just you that will be playing a particular role.  Furthermore, you should let the receiver know exactly what you do well and how long you have been doing it. You must emphasize your experience and why it matters to the job.

Do not get complacent and over-confident thinking your previous company name will speak for you. Nobody has time to start surfing the internet to find out more about your workplace. Ensure you brag about your experience yourself. An example is:

Kindly consider my application for a headteacher at Crusader School. As my resume reveals, I graduated with First Class Honors from Kings University with a degree in Education. In addition, I have had a robust experience in the teaching industry in the last 7 years. My teaching experience includes curriculum and non-curriculum activities for different age groups.

5. Brag About Your Achievement

Another thing you should do is to talk about is your achievements if you have any. As I said, there is no need to be humble about your achievements or feats. ‘Loud it’ like people will say these days.

Bring yourself into the limelight and let your potential employer know about your previous accomplishment with other businesses you have worked with. This puts you ahead of at least 20% of other applicants.

Bring your plaques and awards into the light for your employers to see. Take one of your best cases and use it as an example for your future role. Make the company understand that if they finally decide to give you the job or contract, their company could rake in millions of profits or customers. Here’s an example below:

As an experienced teacher, I have worked at both the technical level and supervisory level. In 2014, I was part of the team that supervised the examination of over 500 WAEC students. I was able to coordinate them with number labels and also boosted their confidence level before the start of each exam. This simple act increased the overall performance of the students by 30% as compared with the previous year.

6. Insert subtle consequences

However, before you round up your application letter, drop a little hint on what the company stands to gain by employing you and what they might lose by not working with you. Let me make an illustration;

So let us assume I am writing an application letter as an unemployed graduate of early childhood education. After writing my application letter following the pattern above, I could add these words;

By granting me the privilege to work in your school, I can practice what I love doing the most to impart knowledge in the lives of young minds. However, if I am not lucky enough, I’m afraid the students might miss out on the virtues, values and creativity that I intend to pass on.

7. Be Specific

What do you want? Tune your letter to this frequency to get fast feedback or even a positive one at the end of the day. I have seen application letters of five hundred words of beating around the bush.

After introducing yourself and mentioning what you’ve done in the past, you should go straight to the point and attach any other qualifications to the body of your letter. Give an example, convince and walk away.

Don’t revolve around one single point for too long else you’d bore whoever is reading it depending on what you are applying for. There are probably more application letters to read than a story of how you grew from zilch or one dollar to abundance. Those are tales meant for the magazine or TV shows, not for application letters.

I’ll be glad to work with you and look forward to an opportunity to meet you to further discuss my qualifications.

8. Make Sure Your Contact Details Are Written Boldly  

I cannot begin to count how many jobs people missed because they gave misspelt contact details. I felt I needed to point this out for you to see. If you don’t have your contact details clearly written, how on earth will you be contacted for the job you are seeking?

Don’t just put one number on the application letter. It is wrong. To begin with, phones are no longer what they used to be. A phone battery used to last for a week, however, these days, phones barely get us through the day. Hence, try to put two or more phone numbers plus email address(es) on your application letter just in case one of the two numbers cannot be reached by the company.

In a competitive environment, a job is as good as lost when the potential employee is unreachable.

I once applied for a job to be a content developer for a particular website. The only problem was I had literally no access to the email I provided. I only sincerely hoped they would call my cellphone if I got the job. To cut the long story short, I didn’t know I was given the job until three months later when I had access to the email.

Unfortunately, the job wasn’t waiting for me. It was given to someone else and when I queried the website, they asked me to resubmit my application for special consideration. Luckily, I got the job this time, but you can see how I almost lost a job because I assumed how the company would choose to contact me.

Should you want to reach me, please be free to call me on +2347363882638 or email me at theresaqueen@gmail.com. I also don’t mind coming over to check how your structure operates as a school. 

9. Attach Any Other File To your application Letter

Depending on the means you will use to send the application, you can attach extra qualifications to the application letter. Most times, people usually attach their resume alongside other documents you might want to add.

Please refer to my resume attached to the email for more information. You can also have a look at my portfolio here {Insert link}. Thanks for considering my application.

10. Closing Salutation

You can round up the letter your signature.

Yours sincerely/faithfully,

(Signature)

Joan Grace

Read 20 qualities that make you a good team player.

After submission tips

  • Follow up When You Don’t Get A Response  

Most of these established companies get a lot of messages on their email that they sometimes forget to check some. After sending your application letter, it’s not bad to contact the company and ask about your application.

In fact, if you haven’t gotten a reply after a while, you should get in touch with the company in question to get feedback.

  • Don’t Quit

Sometimes life is not as easy as we paint it to be. We often forget that, on the road to success, there are hurdles. They may come without an idea of how to overcome them. My piece of advice to you would be “don’t quit no matter what life throws at you. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

When you get negative feedback from an employer, take it as an opportunity to develop yourself more. Keep sending those applications. There is always a reward for the persistent.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your intentions are, if you pitch with a bad application, you get factually nothing. So, do the right thing.

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Post Author: Chibuike Nwogbo

Nwogbo Chibuike is a student of Electronics and Computer engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He started writing at the age of 10 by learning new things and writing about what he has learnt. Specifically, he likes the feeling of creating another world through writing. He is also a dedicated Christian.

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