Law guide: Workplace

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Job applications

Job applications


When applying for a job you are competing against a lot of other people so it is important that your application makes an impression and stands out from the others. A properly presented and prepared cover letter and correctly filled in application form will help you. There are lots of things you can do to make your job application and interview successful.

Applying for a job that has been advertised

When you have found a job you want to apply for, the next step is to make your application. Many other people may also be applying for the same job so it's important that you make a good impression. When you apply for a job it is likely that you will be asked to fill in an application form or send curriculum vitae (CV) with a covering letter. You might also be able to apply for a job online using an electronic application form, which is a good way to show your IT skills.

Identifying important information in the advert

The following is the important information contained in an example job advert.

The company

Westfords Ltd. You could look at their website to learn more about the company, if they don't have a website you might be able to find information at your local library. This research might help you to write your application.

Job title and duties

  • IT Support Officer
  • Upkeep of computers and in-house software
  • Checking consumables and in-house software
  • Quality assurance of finished products

Qualifications and skills needed

  • Must have experience with computers
  • Printer experience preferred but not essential as full training will be given


  • No rate given - ring to check


  • 40 hours per week: Monday to Friday 8.45 am – 5.15 pm

How to apply

  • In writing - with a covering letter and a CV

Writing a covering letter

What to include

Underline the skills in the advert. Write a rough copy of your letter and include the skills underlined. Be positive and emphasise why you are perfect for the job. You should include any relevant skills you have.

Suggested layout

First, give a summary of your skills and experience. Keep it brief and to the point. Then, say when you will be free for an interview. Remember to include your name, address, phone number (if you have one), the date and enclose a copy of your CV.

What to say

Be clear. Don't use a long word if a short one will do. If you have been unemployed for a while, say how you spend your spare time (for example, by doing voluntary work, study and so on). Be honest, don't say you enjoy bungee jumping if you get dizzy standing on a kitchen stool - you will get caught out at an interview. Keep to the facts and try not to oversell yourself.

How to say it

Include the job reference number if there is one in the job details. Enter it below the opening line. For example:

Dear Mrs......

Re: Job reference 345

Try to find out the name of the person you need to write to. If you start with 'Dear Sir/Madam', end with 'Yours faithfully'. If you start with the person's name (for example, 'Dear Mrs Smith', end with 'Yours sincerely'. Finally, double-check your spelling and grammar before sending the letter.

How the letter looks

Be neat, whether your letter is handwritten or typed. Leave plenty of space around the edges and a clear space between each paragraph. Use good quality plain paper and envelopes. Check against your rough copy to make sure you have not missed anything. If your application is in audio format check that the content is clear, to the point and easy to understand.

Sign the letter and print your name underneath to make sure it can be read easily. Ask a friend or relative to check over your letter before you send it. Finally, make sure your application arrives on time. If you are posting it, allow for delays. If your application is late, the company might not even consider it and your time will have been wasted.

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