Completing job applications, covering letters & emails

Whether writing letters, completing job applications or making telephone calls, it’s the first chance you have of impressing the employer. It’s only if you handle this stage successfully that you will get the chance of going for an interview.

Completing job application forms

  • Read the questions carefully to make sure you understand what you need to do
  • Make sure that you follow the instructions exactly
  • Put down as much information as you can to answer each question
  • Be accurate. Double check dates and names to make sure they are correct

Writing Personal Statements for job applications

One of the most important parts of job application forms can be the Personal Statement. This is often a blank box asking you to write about your skills, strengths and experience, and how they fit the job you are applying for.

  • Check the job description to see the skills and experience the employer is asking for
  • Think of examples from your life that prove to the employer that you have the skills and experience they need
  • Get help to think of examples in how to write a personal statement and from an Example Personal Statement

Answering competency questions in job applications

Application forms might also ask you to give examples from your work or life that show you have the skills they want. These are called competency questions.

Find help with: how to answer questions in applications and interviews

View: example answers for competency questions

Covering letters or e-mails to send with your job application or CV

Put the following information in your e-mail or covering letter:

  • State the job you are applying for and the job reference number if there is one
  • Say where you saw the job advertised (for example, on Indeed)
  • Write a short paragraph summarising the main skills you have. (Make sure that the skills you put in match the skills the employer is asking for)
  • Thank the employer for their time. You might want to add something like ‘I look forward to hearing from you soon’
  • If you start ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’, you should end ‘Yours faithfully’. You use ‘Yours sincerely’ only if you are writing to somebody by name. Don’t use ‘Yours truly’ or any other endings

See example covering letters in our CV Booklet.


  • Check the spelling and grammar. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes or typing errors
  • Make sure that everything you’ve written is correct. Double check dates and names to make sure they are accurate
  • Save a copy of the job application, covering letter or content of the e-mail on to your computer. You can then use it as a base for other letters. You can also refer back to see what you have written if the employer asks you to interview or phones you

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Job Interview Game

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