Educational Placement and Career Services
School of Education - University of Wisconsin-Madison
B150 Education Building - 1000 Bascom Mall - Madison, WI 53706
Monday - Friday 7:45- 4:30 ~ 608-262-1755



The Letter of Application

A letter of application is written to a prospective employer when you know an opening for which you are qualified actually exists.  The letter will provide the employer with a first impression of you, including your ability to communicate, so it is important to construct the letter carefully and type it neatly on good quality stationery.   Check for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.  Address your letter to the individual whose name is given in the vacancy listing and include a copy of your resume with the letter of application.

Since you have some information about the position (i.e., l0th grade English and advisor to the school yearbook), the letter of application can and should be more specifically written than a letter of inquiry.  You will want to highlight information from your resume that relates to the position (i.e. that you student taught at the l0th grade level, that you have several credits in journalism, or that you were the editor of your high school annual).

The opening paragraph typically states why you are writing to the employer and how you learned of the job vacancy.

Middle paragraphs deal with your qualifications for the position based on your educational background and experiences.  You might want to include certification information, particularly if you will be licensed in more than one field.  Personal data should be included when it is relevant, an example would be your interest in supervising extra-curricular activities.  The body of the letter should not be too stiff or formal; let some of your personality come through.  A letter that looks like a standard application letter that could have been written by any of a hundred different people will not enhance your employment chances.  Another way to personalize the letter would be to gather information about the school so that you can identify ways in which you would be an asset to their program.  Although it is not always possible to obtain much information, it can be useful when it is available.  Library reference rooms contain copies of college catalogs and college placement offices often have booklets on school districts which you can review before writing your letter.  How much time you have to apply will often affect how much research you can do prior to writing your letter.

In the final paragraph you will want to list the address of the placement office where your employment credential is on file and indicate how the employer may contact you.  Express an interest in obtaining an interview and give some indication of when you would be available for an interview.

Upon receiving your application letter and a copy of your resume, the employer will review them and typically respond in one of the following ways:  by merely acknowledging receipt of your materials, asking for more material, sending you an application form, or arranging for an interview.  Unfortunately, some employers do not respond at all.  This may occur if a large number of individuals apply for a position.  If this happens to you, you may want to write a follow-up letter or even phone the employer to see if your letter and resume arrived and when you can expect to hear from him/her.  Keep a record of where you have applied, when you applied, and the response to your application.

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