Job Application Letter Is Your Worst Enemy. 20 Ways To Defeat It!

The world of job search is changing and has changed for many.  With the hiring managers trusting the applicant tracking system, what you require is a ‘game changer’ job application letter and resume. Just 6 seconds of attention for each resume and cover letter, your words should impress the recruiter from the very start.

Let’s start with how to rank high and get into the hands of recruiters from the flood of job applications they get.

Top 5 Tips for Mastering Applicant Tracking System [ATS]

  1. No Templates: Most of the ATS cannot read .docx, PDF, RTF, and JPG formats, so use a standard Word document.
  2. Use Keywords and Phrases relevant to the work and job role in your descriptive achievements.
  3. Keep simple formatting and avoid using headers, footers, borders, symbols or shading.
  4. Do use the exact job title on top of your job application letter when applying for a position. Even though you have a personal connection, stick to the ‘exact job title’ in your cover letter.
  5. Be careful inserting special characters and accents as these can be misinterpreted by an applicant tracking system


What about experienced candidates?

Gaining a few years of work experience, recruiters do pay more attention to your resume.  It is better, however, to submit your cover letter with your resume, even if it’s not asked for.  With a cover letter you can explain clearly pointers that may not be included in your resume.

Point to be Noted: If a company clearly mentions to not submit a cover letter and has their own directions, it’s best to follow the guidelines.

How to write a Job Application Letter:

Writing or not writing a cover letter with your resume depends therefore on industry and company. Many candidates also write a boilerplate cover letter which can be added with any job roles and sent to any company.

  1. Write your job application letter which talks to the point rather going verbose.
  2. Use Business English to write. Keep your creativity for some other time (other than if you belong to a creative field). Letter for creative jobs should be different than a letter to an EPC company.
  3. A short cover letter of 3-4 paragraphs including the specific reasons from applicant’s for the job role is what most recruiters do read.
  4. Focus on skills and experience in your application.


Save your recruiter’s time-

Your recruiter has few seconds to spare, given the sea of letter received by job hunters every day.

Do’ s

  1. Show an interest in the job and company. You words should show familiarity with company’s mission and vision.
  2. Your application letter should show you are motivated and eager to work in the company. Write what drives you to be part of the company you applied and how you present role fits into what you want to do.
  3. Your qualities and skill-sets which are not part of resume should be described. In the limited time of your recruiter, write additional skills which are not clear from your cv.
  4. Your recruiter should tell why you are different. Read bios of professionals in the same industry and similar role. Write something not mentioned by them. Differentiate.
  5. You have to understand the type of company you are writing and tweak the writing tone. For example- writing in a formal tone for a gaming or food start-up would be boring.


  1. Attach you resume and not your cover letter. Recruiters read the resume and skip the cover letter. Put your application letter in the email body.
  1. Leaving the subject line blank. Many job hunters leave the email subject blank or do not write the apt subject description.
  1. Do not cover the same job application again and again. Recruiters can tell.


Another reason why job application letter matters!

Many a times your job application letter can get you into a company without any job positions vacant. When the candidate is not the perfect match to the role they have applied for but otherwise seems great and can fit within another team in the same organization. In this case the cover letter allows HR/hiring managers to get some flavor on where they will potentially fit you.


Sample of Job Application Letter-


This is written for Sales Job.



Mobile: +91- 98270xxxxx ~ E-Mail:

Dated: dd/mm/yy

Dear Sir/ Madam,

It was with great interest that I read your recent posting in the XXXXX newspaper/website for the position of XXXXXXXXX. In response, I enclose my resume for your consideration.

A brief review of my credentials will confirm that I am capable of serving as the catalyst for achieving revenue objectives and organic growth through effective contributions. I am a Management Graduate with specialization in Marketing & Finance coupled with an experience of 3 years including 2 years in International Marketing / Business Development and Export operations

I have been associated with TVS Motor Company as Assistant Manager – Sales & Marketing in their Two Wheeler Business, based out of Bhopal.

My ability to analyze needs and create unique solutions designed to yield a profitable outcome has proven to be one of my greatest assets. Credited with significantly impacting bottom-line profitability, I have excelled at streamlining processes to boost productivity and sales. Proactive management of crucial external relationships with international clients allowed me to increase revenue significantly. I also negotiated exclusive relationships in a key market segment thus expanding the company’s share of that segment remarkably within a short span of time.

I know that my strong commitment to high ethical and professional standards and flexibility in devising proactive responses to changing socioeconomic conditions would allow me to make a significant contribution to the [Company Name] team. I am certain that my presence in your team will prove to be beneficial to your organisation. I would like an opportunity to speak with you to evaluate your needs and share my ideas on the same as well.

Thanking you.




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