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  • Job Application Documents

How to Write a Job Application Essay

Last Updated: September 24, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Shannon O'Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life's work and live a balanced, purposeful life. Shannon has been ranked as the #1 Career Coach and #1 Life Coach in Boston, MA by Yelp reviewers. She has been featured on Boston.com, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. She received a Master's of Technology, Innovation, & Education from Harvard University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 193,029 times.

Many employers now require a writing sample, or job application essay , to accompany all applications or résumés — even if writing is not a significant part of the position. The goal of the job application essay is to ensure that applicants have the right communication skills for the position offered. Sometimes, potential employers will provide a specific topic or series of questions for your essay to respond to. However, you may also be asked to provide an essay with no guidance whatsoever. Either way, approach the essay seriously so that it highlights the skills and assets you could bring to the company. [1] X Research source

Outlining Your Essay

Step 1 Read the job listing and essay description carefully.

  • If you don't know much about the company, do a little research on it before you start writing. You might look at their website or do a general internet search with the name of the company to see if any news articles or other reports come up. Go beyond the four corners of the job listing so that you understand who will likely be reading your essay.
  • If there's anything in the job listing or essay requirements that you don't understand, contact the employer and ask about them. Employers are often impressed by applicants who clarify the employer's intent rather than making assumptions.

Step 2 State your theme or thesis statement upfront.

  • For example, if you're applying for a position in sales, you might want to write an essay about your ability to tailor your pitch to specific clients and close the deal. If you have the ability to be more creative, you might tailor your essay to "sell" yourself directly to the employer.

Step 3 Brainstorm 3 or 4 points that support your thesis statement.

  • For each of your points, think of a specific example you can relate briefly that illustrates the point. For example, if you've described yourself as a "team player," you might include an example of how you came in on your day off to complete some of the more monotonous tasks that no one else wanted to do so a project could be completed ahead of schedule.
  • It's a good idea to have more than one example in your outline for each point, even if you only end up using one. That way, if you start writing something and it ends up not working as well as you thought it would, you'll have a back-up handy.
  • Brainstorming can be difficult. If you find yourself churning over the same thoughts, stand up and take a break for a few minutes. Step outside or go for a walk to clear your head, then come back to it.

Step 4 Gather documents and information to fill out your points.

  • For example, if you want to describe how you increased sales in a specific quarter, you would want to state specifically how much you increased sales. Your former employer may have sales figures that you could ask them for. You might also have that information in your records.
  • Wherever possible, use specific numbers and dates rather than making general statements. It's okay to estimate, but make sure your estimate is conservative. Saying you led your sales team to the highest sales in a quarter is impressive — but only if it's true.

Completing Your Rough Draft

Step 1 Start with an introductory paragraph that describes you and your essay.

  • Think of this paragraph as telling the hiring manager what you're going to tell them in the essay. Outline the points you're going to elaborate on in the essay that back up your theme or thesis statement.
  • Sometimes it's best to go back and write your introduction after you've written the body of your essay. That way, you can make sure the introduction provides an outline that matches the body.

Step 2 Organize your essay logically.

  • If the employer listed specifically what should be included in your essay, follow their order, since that's what they'll be looking for when they read the essay.
  • Write in the first person and make yourself the star of any anecdote you include as an example. Use action verbs to focus on what you did rather than focusing on what happened and how you reacted to it. [7] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Step 3 Create transitions between each paragraph of your essay.

  • For example, if you're writing about your skills as a team player, you might note that you discuss doing routine work that others found monotonous so they had time to work on other parts of a project. You could use that detail to move on to a section describing how you're detail-oriented.

Step 4 Use your closing to summarize your essay.

  • For example, you might write "My business school education, skills as a team player, and focus on detail make me the best candidate to lead your sales team."

Finalizing Your Essay

Step 1 Proofread your essay for spelling, grammar, and typographical errors.

  • For example, you might start by looking solely at punctuation, then read through again focusing on spelling.
  • If you find that you tend to repeat a particular error, go through your essay looking for that error specifically.
  • If your grammar isn't particularly strong or you're writing in a language other than your native language, have someone else read over your essay as well.

Step 2 Read your essay out loud.

  • If you find that you stumble over a sentence while reading aloud, that's a sign that your writing could be clearer. Work with your text until you have something that you can read aloud with ease.

Step 3 Edit

  • If the prospective employer did not specify a length, try to keep your essay under 2 double-spaced pages. Remember that hiring managers are busy and don't have a lot of time to read a long, rambling essay.
  • Eliminate all unnecessary words or sentences that aren't relevant to the subject of your essay. The majority of your sentences should be short, declarative sentences with action verbs.
  • Apps such as Hemingway ( http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ ) or Grammarly ( https://app.grammarly.com/ ) can help you identify portions of your essay that are more difficult to read. Both of these apps have a free version that you can use to edit your text.

Step 4 Work backward through your essay to proofread a second time.

  • Working backward is particularly helpful for noticing spelling mistakes, especially hard-to-catch homophone errors, because you're seeing the word out of context.

Step 5 Print your essay and read through it a final time.

  • It may also help to print your essay in a different font or font size than what you used to type it. This breaks your brain's familiarity with the text, which can make typos and other errors more noticeable. Just remember to change the font back after you print it.

Job Application Essay

how to write an application essay for a job

Expert Q&A

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

  • Give yourself plenty of time to work on your essay. Ideally, you should plan to work on it over the course of at least two days, so you have the time to set it aside after writing before you move to the editing and proofreading stage. [15] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write an application essay for a job

  • Unless you're applying for a position in a political or religious organization, avoid including anything in your essay that identifies your political or religious preferences or beliefs. [16] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Avoid using humor, especially sarcasm or ironic humor, as it can be misconstrued in text. Additionally, humor may lead the hiring manager to believe that you aren't serious about the position. [17] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

  • ↑ https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/writing-sample-job-application
  • ↑ https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2012/04/30/essay-how-write-good-applications-jobs-or-grants
  • ↑ Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM. Life & Career Coach. Expert Interview. 25 May 2021.
  • ↑ https://www.govloop.com/community/blog/government-job-application-essays-made-easy/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/application-essays/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/proofreading-tips
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/career-transitions/200906/the-dreaded-writing-sample

About This Article

Shannon O'Brien, MA, EdM

Job application essays can seem scary, but they’re really just an opportunity for you to highlight your skills and explain why you’re suitable for the role. Read the job listing to find out what traits and skills the company is looking for, like time management, working under pressure, and leadership. If you don’t know much about the company, read through its website and do an online search to find articles about its work. In your introduction, you’ll want to to describe yourself and introduce the main points you’ll be making. Then, write a paragraph for each trait or skill. Use real life examples from previous jobs, your recent studies, or extracurricular activities to support your points. For example, you could highlight your leadership skills by talking about a time you led a group project that exceeded your targets. For more tips, including how to write a compelling conclusion for your job application essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write an Effective Job Application Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • by Marcus Knight
  • March 10, 2023

Table of Contents

Are you looking for a new job? The job application essay is your chance to shine and stand out from the crowd. It’s the first step in creating a positive impression on your prospective employer. In this guide, we’ll provide a step-by-step approach to writing an effective job application essay that will give you an edge over other candidates. Read on to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • Analyze the job posting and identify key skills and attributes that the employer is looking for.
  • Craft a compelling personal statement that highlights your relevant experience and accomplishments.
  • Address any gaps in employment or qualifications in a positive and proactive manner.
  • Tailor your essay to the specific company or industry, using research and insights to demonstrate your understanding of the organization’s values and goals.
  • Edit and proofread your essay for maximum effectiveness.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Effective Job Application Essay

Step 1: analyze the job posting.

The first step in writing an effective job application essay is to analyze the job posting. Look for keywords and phrases that describe the required skills and qualifications. Identify the attributes and experiences that are most important to the employer, and make sure to highlight these in your essay.

Step 2: Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

The personal statement is the most important part of your job application essay. It should be concise, well-written, and engaging. Start by introducing yourself and explaining why you are interested in the position. Then, highlight your relevant experience and accomplishments, and how they have prepared you for this role. Use examples to demonstrate your skills and achievements.

Step 3: Address Employment or Qualification Gaps

If you have gaps in your employment or qualifications, address them in a positive and proactive manner. Explain the reasons for the gap and what you have done to fill the time, such as volunteering or taking courses. Emphasize how this has contributed to your personal and professional growth and made you a stronger candidate for the position.

Step 4: Tailor Your Essay to the Specific Company or Industry

To stand out from other candidates, it’s important to show that you have done your research and understand the values and goals of the organization. Tailor your essay to the specific company or industry, using insights and data to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Highlight how your skills and experience align with the company’s needs and goals.

Step 5: Edit and Proofread Your Essay

Finally, it’s important to edit and proofread your essay for maximum effectiveness. Read it out loud to yourself, and have someone else read it as well. Make sure there are no grammatical errors or typos. Use an active voice and vary your sentence structure to keep the reader engaged.

An effective job application essay requires careful thought, preparation, and writing. By analyzing the job posting, crafting a compelling personal statement, addressing employment or qualification gaps, tailoring your essay to the specific company or industry, and editing and proofreading your essay, you can create a winning job application that will get you noticed by prospective employers.

Q: What is a job application essay?

A: A job application essay is a written document that describes your skills, experience, and qualifications for a specific job. It is often used by employers as the first step in the hiring process.

Q: How long should a job application essay be?

A: The length of a job application essay can vary, but it should be concise and to the point. Aim for one to two pages, depending on the requirements of the employer.

Q: What should I include in my job application essay?

A: Your job application essay should include a personal statement that highlights your relevant experience and accomplishments, as well as any gaps in employment or qualifications that you have addressed in a positive manner. It should also be tailored to the specific company or industry, using research and insights to demonstrate your understanding of the organization’s values and goals.

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  • Cover Letters

How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

how to write an application essay for a job

What is a Job Application Letter?

Tips for writing a job application letter, how to get started.

  • Writing Guidelines
  • What to Include in Each Section

Simple Formatting Using a Template

Tips for writing an effective letter, sample job application letter, sending an email application, review more letter examples.

Do you need to write a letter to apply for a job? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Even when employers don’t require a job application letter , writing one will help you highlight your skills and achievements and get the hiring manager’s attention. The only time not to send one is when the job listing says not to do so. It can help, and it definitely won't hurt to include an application letter with your resume.

A job application letter, also known as a cover letter , should be sent or uploaded with your resume when applying for jobs. While your resume offers a history of your work experience and an outline of your skills and accomplishments, the job application letter you send to an employer explains why you are qualified for the position and should be selected for an interview.

Writing this letter can seem like a challenging task. However, if you take it one step at a time, you'll soon be an expert at writing application letters to send with your resume.

Melissa Ling / The Balance

Before you begin writing your job application letter, do some groundwork. Consider what information you want to include (keeping in mind that space is limited).

Remember, this letter is making a case for your candidacy for the position. But you can do better than just regurgitating your resume—instead, highlight your most relevant skills, experiences, and abilities.

Analyze the Job Posting

To include the most convincing, relevant details in your letter, you'll need to know what the employer wants.

The biggest clues are within the job advertisement, so spend some time decoding the job ad . Next, match your qualifications with the employer's wants and needs .

Include Your Most Relevant Qualifications

Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.

Writing Guidelines for Job Application Letters

Writing a job application letter is very different from a quick email to a friend or a thank-you note to a relative. Hiring managers and potential interviewers have certain expectations when it comes to the letter's presentation and appearance, from length (no more than a page) to font size and style to letter spacing :

Length: A letter of application should be no more than one page long. Three to four paragraphs is typical.

Format and Page Margins: A letter of application should be single-spaced with a space between each paragraph. Use about 1" margins and align your text to the left, which is the standard alignment for most documents.

Font: Use a traditional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points.

What To Include in Each Section of the Letter

There are also set rules for the sections included in the letter, from salutation to sign-off, and how the letter is organized. Here's a quick lowdown on the main sections included in a job application letter:

Heading: A letter of application should begin with both your and the employer's contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

  •   Header Examples

Salutation: This is your polite greeting. The most common salutation is "Dear Mr./Ms." followed by the person's last name. Find out more about appropriate cover letter salutations , including what to do if you don't know the person's name, or are unsure of a contact's gender.

Body of the letter: Think of this section as being three distinct parts.

In the first paragraph , you'll want to mention the job you are applying for and where you saw the job listing.

The next paragraph(s) are the most important part of your letter. Remember how you gathered all that information about what employers were seeking, and how you could meet their needs? This is where you'll share those relevant details on your experience and accomplishments.

The third and last part of the body of the letter will be your thank you to the employer; you can also offer follow-up information.

Complimentary Close: Sign off your email with a polite close, such as "Best" or "Sincerely," followed by your name.

  • Closing Examples

Signature: When you're sending or uploading a printed letter, end with your signature, handwritten, followed by your typed name. If this is an email, simply include your typed name, followed by your contact information.

  • Signature Examples

Overwhelmed by all these formatting and organization requirements? One way to make the process of writing a job application easier is to use a job application letter template to create your own personalized job application letters for applying for a job. Having a template can help save you time if you are sending a lot of application letters.

Be sure that each letter you send is personalized to the company and position; do not send the same letter to different companies.

  • Always write one. Unless a job posting specifically says not to send a letter of application or cover letter, you should always send one. Even if the company does not request a letter of application, it never hurts to include one. If they do ask you to send a letter, make sure to follow the directions exactly (for example, they might ask you to send the letter as an email attachment, or type it directly into their online application system).
  • Use business letter format. Use a formal business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and your signature at the end.
  • Sell yourself. Throughout the letter, focus on how you would benefit the company. Provide specific examples of times when you demonstrated skills or abilities that would be useful for the job, especially those listed in the job posting or description. If possible, include examples of times when you added value to a company.

Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.

  • Use keywords. Reread the job listing, circling any keywords (such as skills or abilities that are emphasized in the listing). Try to include some of those words in your cover letter. This will help the employer see that you are a strong fit for the job.
  • Keep it brief. Keep your letter under a page long, with no more than about four paragraphs. An employer is more likely to read a concise letter.
  • Proofread and edit. Employers are likely to overlook an application with a lot of errors. Read through your cover letter, and if possible, ask a friend or career counselor to review the letter. Proofread for any grammar or spelling errors.

This is a job application letter sample.  Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Sample Job Application Letter (Text Version)

Elizabeth Johnson 12 Jones Street Portland, Maine 04101 555-555-5555 elizabethjohnson@emailaddress.com

August 11, 2020

Mark Smith Human Resources Manager Veggies to Go 238 Main Street Portland, Maine 04101

Dear Mr. Smith,

I was so excited when my former coworker, Jay Lopez, told me about your opening for an administrative assistant in your Portland offices. A long-time Veggies to Go customer and an experienced admin, I would love to help the company achieve its mission of making healthy produce as available as takeout.

I’ve worked for small companies for my entire career, and I relish the opportunity to wear many hats and work with the team to succeed. In my latest role as an administrative assistant at Beauty Corp, I saved my employer thousands of dollars in temp workers by implementing a self-scheduling system for the customer service reps that cut down on canceled shifts. I also learned web design, time sheet coding, and perfected my Excel skills. 

I’ve attached my resume for your consideration and hope to speak with you soon about your needs for the role.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Johnson (signature hard copy letter)

Elizabeth Johnson

When you are sending your letter via email include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:

Subject Line Example

Subject: Elizabeth Johnson – Administrative Assistant Position

List your contact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:

Email Signature Example

Elizabeth Johnson 555-555-5555 email@emailaddress.com

Review more examples of professionally written cover letters for a variety of circumstances, occupations, and types of jobs.

CareerOneStop. " How Do I Write a Cover Letter ?" Accessed July 14, 2021.

University of Maryland Global Campus. " Frequently Asked Questions ." Accessed July 14, 2021.

What are your chances of acceptance?

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how to write an application essay for a job

How to Write the Common Application Essays 2023-2024 (With Examples)

The Common App essay is one of the most important parts of your application, but it can be extremely daunting if you’re not familiar with creative writing or what admissions officers are looking for.

In this blog post, we’ll provide advice on how to break down these prompts, organize your thoughts, and craft a strong, meaningful response that admissions officers will notice. If you’d like more free personalized help, you can get your essays reviewed and explore school-by-school essay help on CollegeVine.

Why the Common App Essay Matters

Admissions is a human process. While admissions committees look at grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, there are five students that have great qualifications in those areas for every spot in a university’s class. As an applicant, you need an admissions counselor to choose you over everyone else — to advocate specifically for you. 

This is where essays come in; they are an opportunity for you to turn an admissions counselor into an advocate for your application! Of your essays, the Common App is the most important since it is seen by most of the colleges to which you apply. It is also your longest essay, which gives you more space to craft a narrative and share your personality, feelings, and perspective.

It’s not hyperbole to say that getting the Common App essay right is the single most important thing you can do to improve your chances of admission as a senior. 

Overview of the Common App

The Common App essay is the best way for admissions committees to get to know you. While SAT scores, your past course load, and your grades provide a quantitative picture of you as a student, the Common App essay offers adcoms a refreshing glimpse into your identity and personality. For this reason, try to treat the essay as an opportunity to tell colleges why you are unique and what matters to you.

Since your Common App essay will be seen by numerous colleges, you will want to paint a portrait of yourself that is accessible to a breadth of institutions and admissions officers (for example, if you are only applying to engineering programs at some schools, don’t focus your Common App on STEM at the expense of your other applications — save that for your supplemental essays).

In short, be open and willing to write about a topic you love, whether it is sports, music, politics, food, or watching movies. The Common App essay is more of a conversation than a job interview.

What Makes a Great Common App Essay?

A great Common App essay is, first and foremost, deeply personal. You are relying on the admissions committee to choose you over someone else, which they are more likely to do if they feel a personal connection to you. In your essay, you should delve into your feelings, how you think about situations/problems, and how you make decisions.

Good essays also usually avoid cliche topics . A couple overdone themes include an immigrant’s journey (particularly if you’re Asian American), and a sports accomplishment or injury. It’s not that these topics are bad, but rather that many students write about these subjects, so they don’t stand out as much. Of course, some students are able to write a genuine and unique essay about one of these topics, but it’s hard to pull off. You’re better off writing about more nuanced aspects of your identity!

You should also, of course, pay close attention to your grammar and spelling, use varied sentence structure and word choice, and be consistent with your tone/writing style. Take full advantage of the available 650 words, as writing less tends to mean missed opportunities.

Finally, it’s a good practice to be aware of your audience – know who you are writing for! For example, admissions officers at BYU will probably be very religious, while those at Oberlin will be deeply committed to social justice.

See some examples of great Common App essays to get a better idea of what makes a strong essay.

How your Common App Essay Fits with Your Other Essays

The Common App is one part of a portfolio of essays that you send to colleges, along with supplemental essays at individual colleges. With all of your essays for a particular college, you want to create a narrative and tell different parts of your story. So, the topics you write about should be cohesive and complementary, but not repetitive or overlapping. 

Before jumping in to write your Common App essay, you should think about the other schools that you’re writing essays for and make sure that you have a strategy for your entire portfolio of essays and cover different topics for each. If you have strong qualifications on paper for the colleges you are targeting, the best narratives tend to humanize you. If you have weaker qualifications on paper for your colleges, the best narratives tend to draw out your passion for the topics or fields of study that are of interest to you and magnify your accomplishments. 

Strategy for Writing the Common App Essays

Because the Common App essay is 650 words long and has few formal directions, organizing a response might seem daunting. Fortunately, at CollegeVine, we’ve developed a straightforward approach to formulating strong, unique responses.

This section outlines how to: 1) Brainstorm , 2) Organize , and 3) Write a Common App essay.

Before reading the prompts, brainstorming is a critical exercise to develop high-level ideas. One way to construct a high-level idea would be to delve into a passion and focus on how you interact with the concept or activity. For example, using “creative writing” as a high-level idea, one could stress their love of world-building, conveying complex emotions, and depicting character interactions, emphasizing how writing stems from real-life experiences.

A different idea that doesn’t involve an activity would be to discuss how your personality has developed in relation to your family; maybe one sibling is hot-headed, the other quiet, and you’re in the middle as the voice of reason (or maybe you’re the hot-head). These are simply two examples of infinitely many ideas you could come up with.

To begin developing your own high-level ideas, you can address these Core Four questions that all good Common App essays should answer:

  • “Who Am I?”
  • “Why Am I Here?”
  • “What is Unique About Me?”
  • “What Matters to Me?”

The first question focuses on your personality traits — who you are. The second question targets your progression throughout high school (an arc or journey). The third question is more difficult to grasp, but it involves showing why your personality traits, methods of thinking, areas of interest, and tangible skills form a unique combination. The fourth question is a concluding point that can be answered simply, normally in the conclusion paragraph, i.e., “Running matters to me” or “Ethical fashion matters to me.”

You can brainstorm freeform or start with a specific prompt in mind.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to start by jotting down the 3-5 aspects of your personality or experiences you’ve had on a piece of paper. Play around with narratives that are constructed out of different combinations of these essential attributes before settling on a prompt. 

For example, you might note that you are fascinated by environmental justice, have had success in Model Congress, and are now working with a local politician to create a recycling program in your school district. You may also have tried previous initiatives that failed. These experiences could be constructed and applied to a number of Common App prompts. You could address a specific identity or interest you have associated with public advocacy, discuss what you learned from your failed initiatives, explore how you challenged the lack of recycling at your school, fantasize about solving waste management issues, etc. 

Selecting a prompt that you identify with

For example, consider the following prompt: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Perhaps you had been a dedicated and active member of your school’s debate team until one of your parents lost their jobs, leaving you unable to afford the high membership and travel dues. You decided to help out by getting a job after school, and responded to your familial hardship with grace and understanding (as opposed to anger). A few months later, and after speaking with your former debate coach and your parents, you set up a system to save up for your own trips so that you could still participate in debate!

In general, the most common mistake CollegeVine sees with Common App essays is that they aren’t deeply personal. Your essay should be specific enough that it could be identified as yours even if your name wasn’t attached. 

If you get stuck, don’t worry! This is very common as the Common App is often the first personal essay college applicants have ever written. One way of getting unstuck if you feel like you aren’t getting creative or personal enough is to keep asking yourself “why”

For example: I love basketball…

  • Because I like having to think on the fly and be creative while running our offense.

It can often help to work with someone and bounce ideas off them. Teachers are often a bad idea – they tend to think of essays in an academic sense, which is to say they often fail to apply the admissions context. Further, it is unlikely that they know you well enough to provide valuable insight. Friends in your own year can be a good idea because they know you, but you should be careful about competitive pressures applying within the same high school. Older friends, siblings, or neighbors who have successfully navigated the admissions process at your target universities (or good universities) strike that medium between no longer being competitive with you for admissions but still being able to help you brainstorm well because they know you.

Overall, there is no single “correct” topic. Your essay will be strong as long as you are comfortable and passionate about your idea and it answers the Core Four questions.

Common App essays are not traditional five-paragraph essays. You are free to be creative in structure, employ dialogue, and use vivid descriptions—and you should! Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however. From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally. Great ways to ensure this are using a story arc following a few major points, or focusing on cause and effect.

The traditional approach

This involves constructing a narrative out of your experiences and writing a classic personal essay. You are free to be creative in structure, employ dialogue, and use vivid descriptions—and you should! Make sure that context and logic are inherent in your essay, however. From paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, your ideas should be clear and flow naturally. Great ways to ensure this are using a story arc following a few major points, or focusing on cause and effect.

The creative approach

Some students prefer to experiment with an entirely new approach to the personal essay. For example, a student who is passionate about programming could write their essay in alternating lines of Binary and English. A hopeful Literature major could reimagine a moment in their life as a chapter of War and Peace, adopting Tolstoy’s writing style. Or, you could write about a fight with your friend in the form of a third person sports recap to both highlight your interest in journalism and reveal a personal story. Creative essays are incredibly risky and difficult to pull off. However, a creative essay that is well executed may also have the potential for high reward.

Your Common App essay must display excellent writing in terms of grammar and sentence structure. The essay doesn’t need to be a Shakespearean masterpiece, but it should be well-written and clear.

A few tips to accomplish this are:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Be specific
  • Choose active voice, not passive voice
  • Avoid clichés
  • Write in a tone that aligns with your goals for the essay. For example, if you are a heavy STEM applicant hoping to use your Common App essay to humanize your application, you will be undermined by writing in a brusque, harsh tone.

“Show, don’t tell” is vital to writing an engaging essay, and this is the point students struggle with most.  Instead of saying, “I struggled to make friends when I transferred schools,” you can show your emotions by writing, “I scanned the bustling school cafeteria, feeling more and more forlorn with each unfamiliar face. I found an empty table and ate my lunch alone.”

In many cases, writing can include more specific word choice . For example, “As a kid, I always played basketball,” can be improved to be “Every day after school as a kid, I ran home, laced up my sneakers, and shot a basketball in my driveway until the sun went down and I could barely see.”

To use active voice over passive voice , be sure that your sentence’s subject performs the action indicated by the verb, rather than the action performing onto the subject. Instead of writing “this project was built by my own hands,” you would say “I built this project with my own hands.”

Finally, avoid clichés like adages, sayings, and quotes that do not bring value to your essay. Examples include phrases like “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (it’s also important to know that sayings like these are often seriously misquoted—Gandhi did not actually utter these words) and lavish claims like “it was the greatest experience of my life.”

A few tips for the writing (and re-writing!) process

  • If you have enough time, write a 950 word version of your personal statement first and then cut it down to the official word limit of 650. In many cases, the extra writing you do for this draft will contain compelling content. Using this, you can carve out the various sections and information that allow you to tell your story best. 
  • Revise your draft 3-5 times. Any more, you are probably overthinking and overanalyzing. Any less, you are not putting in the work necessary to optimize your Common App essay.
  • It can be easy for you to get lost in your words after reading and rereading, writing and rewriting. It is best to have someone else do your final proofread to help you identify typos or sentences that are unclear.

Deciding on a Prompt

This section provides insights and examples for each of the 7 Common App essay prompts for the 2023-2024 cycle. Each of these prompts lends itself to distinct topics and strategies, so selecting the prompt that best aligns with your idea is essential to writing an effective Common App essay.

Here are this year’s prompts (click the link to jump to the specific prompt):

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. how did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience, reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. what prompted your thinking what was the outcome, reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. how has this gratitude affected or motivated you, discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others., describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. why does it captivate you what or who do you turn to when you want to learn more, share an essay on any topic of your choice. it can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design..

This prompt offers an opportunity to engage with your favorite extracurricular or academic subject, and it allows you to weave a narrative that displays personal growth in that area. An essay that displays your personality and a unique interest can be attention-grabbing, particularly if you have an unconventional passion, such as blogging about Chinese basketball or unicycling.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have a passion that is immediately “unique,” however. Even an interest like “arctic scuba diving” will fail as an essay topic if it’s not written with insight and personality. Instead of attempting to impress the Admissions Officer by making up unusual or shocking things, think about how you spend your free time and ask yourself why you spend it that way. Also think about your upbringing, identity, and experiences and ask yourself, “What has impacted me in a meaningful way?”

Here Are A Few Response Examples:

Background – A person’s background includes experiences, training, education, and culture. You can discuss the experience of growing up, interacting with family, and how relationships have molded who you are. A background can include long-term interactions with arts, music, sciences, sports, writing, and many other learned skills. Background also includes your social environments and how they’ve influenced your perception. In addition, you can highlight intersections between multiple backgrounds and show how each is integral to you.

One student wrote about how growing up in a poor Vietnamese immigrant family inspired her to seize big opportunities, even if they were risky or challenging. She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. (Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects in all the examples.)

The callouses on my mother’s hands formed during the years spent scaling fish at the  market in Go Noi, Vietnam. My mother never finished her formal education because she  labored on the streets to help six others survive. Her calloused hands not only scaled fish, they  also slaved over the stove, mustering a meal from the few items in the pantry. This image  resurfaces as I watch my mother’s calloused hands wipe her sweat-beaded forehead while she  manages the family business, compiling resources to provide for the family. 

Living in an impoverished region of Vietnam pushed my parents to emigrate. My two  year-old memory fails me, but my mother vividly recounts my frightened eyes staring up at her on my first plane ride. With life packed into a single suitcase, my mother’s heart, though,  trembled more than mine. Knowing only a few words of English, my mother embarked on a  journey shrouded in a haze of uncertainty. 

Our initial year in America bore an uncanny resemblance to Vietnam – from making one  meal last the entire day to wearing the same four shirts over and over again. Through thin walls, I  heard my parents debating their decision to come to the United States, a land where they knew  no one. My grandparents’ support came in half-hearted whispers cracking through long-distance  phone calls. My dad’s scanty income barely kept food on the table. We lived on soup and rice for  what seemed an interminable time. 

However, an opportunity knocked on my parents’ door: a grocery store in the town of  Decatur, Mississippi, was up for rent. My parents took the chance, risking all of their savings.  To help my parents, I spent most of my adolescent afternoons stocking shelves, mopping floors,  and even translating. My parents’ voices wavered when speaking English; through every attempt to communicate with their customers, a language barrier forged a palpable presence in each  transaction. My parents’ spirits faltered as customers grew impatient. A life of poverty awaited us in Vietnam if the business was not successful. 

On the first day, the business brought in only twenty dollars. Twenty dollars. My mother and my father wept after they closed the shop. Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable. 

The next business day, however, sales increased ten-fold. More and more customers  came each successive day. My mom’s tears turned into—well, more tears, but they were tears of  joy. My mother unpacked a bag each night. 

Fifteen years later, my parents now own Blue Bear Grocery. My parents work, work,  work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming. The grocery store holds a special  place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success. My parents serve as my role-models, teaching  me a new lesson with every can placed on the shelf. One lesson that resurfaces is the importance  of pursuing a formal education, something that my parents never had the chance of. 

When the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science  (MSMS) presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying  the store. Although I am not managing hundreds of products, I am managing hundreds of  assignments at MSMS – from Mu Alpha Theta tutoring to lab reports to student government to British literature. 

Had I not immigrated, my hands would be calloused from the tight grip of the knife  scaling fish rather than from the tight grip on my pencil. My hands would be calloused from scrubbing my clothes covered in fish scales rather than from long hours spent typing a research paper. 

Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is  essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands.

Identity – this can mean racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, or simply one’s place within a specific community (even communities as unique as, say, players of World of Warcraft). With the topic of racial identity, it’s important to remember the audience (college admissions counselors often lean progressive politically), so this might not be the best place to make sweeping claims about today’s state of race relations. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay. Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme. For example, if you’re extremely outgoing, you could explain how your adventurousness has allowed you to learn from a diverse group of friends and the random situations you find yourself in. One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out. If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection.

One student detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement. Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness. Her transcultural experiences, however, allowed her to relate to other “New Americans,” particularly refugees. Helping a young refugee girl settle into the US eventually helped the writer find home in America as well:

Growing up, I always wanted to eat, play, visit, watch, and be it all: sloppy joes and spaetzle, Beanie Babies and Steiff, Cape Cod and the Baltic Sea, football and fussball, American and German. 

My American parents relocated our young family to Berlin when I was three years old. My exposure to America was limited to holidays spent stateside and awfully dubbed Disney Channel broadcasts. As the few memories I had of living in the US faded, my affinity for Germany grew. I began to identify as “Germerican,” an ideal marriage of the two cultures. As a child, I viewed my biculturalism as a blessing. I possessed a native fluency in “Denglisch” and my family’s Halloween parties were legendary at a time when the holiday was just starting to gain popularity outside of the American Sector. 

Insidiously, the magic I once felt in loving two homes was replaced by a deep­rooted sense of rootlessness. I stopped feeling American when, while discussing World War II with my grandmother, I said “the US won.” She corrected me, insisting I use “we” when referring to the US’s actions. Before then, I hadn’t realized how directly people associated themselves with their countries. I stopped feeling German during the World Cup when my friends labeled me a “bandwagon fan” for rooting for Germany. Until that moment, my cheers had felt sincere. I wasn’t part of the “we” who won World Wars or World Cups. Caught in a twilight of foreign and familiar, I felt emotionally and psychologically disconnected from the two cultures most familiar to me. 

After moving from Berlin to New York state at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment. Looking and sounding American furthered my feelings of dislocation. Border patrol agents, teachers, classmates, neighbors, and relatives all “welcomed me home” to a land they could not understand was foreign to me. Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. Too German for America and too American for Germany, I felt alienated from both. I wanted desperately to be a member of one, if not both, cultures. 

During my first weeks in Buffalo, I spent my free time googling “Berlin Family Seeks Teen” and “New Americans in Buffalo.” The latter search proved most fruitful: I discovered New Hope, a nonprofit that empowers resettled refugees, or “New Americans,” to thrive. I started volunteering with New Hope’s children’s programs, playing with and tutoring young refugees. 

It was there that I met Leila, a twelve-­year-­old Iraqi girl who lived next to Hopeprint. In between games and snacks, Leila would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama. Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. American culture was no longer completely foreign to me. I found myself especially qualified to work with young refugees; my experience growing up in a country other than that of my parents’ was similar enough to that of the refugee children New Hope served that I could empathize with them and offer advice. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. 

Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past. My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself. Now, I have an appreciation of myself that I never felt before. “Home” isn’t the digits in a passport or ZIP code but a sense of contentedness. By helping a young refugee find comfort, happiness, and home in America, I was finally able to find those same things for myself.

The above essay was written by Lydia Schooler, a graduate of Yale University and one of our CollegeVine advisors. If you enjoyed this essay and are looking for expert college essay and admissions advice, consider booking a session with Lydia .

Interests – Interest are basically synonymous to activities, but slightly broader (you could say that interests encompass activities); participation in an interest is often less organized than in an activity. For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. If you’re a wrestler for example, writing about your interest in stand-up comedy would be a refreshing addition to your application. You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you. Keep in mind, however, that many schools will ask you to describe one of your activities in their supplemental essays (usually about 250 words), so choose strategically—you don’t want to write twice on the same thing.

Read a successful essay answering this prompt.

This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. While it’s okay to choose a relatively mundane “failure” such as not winning an award at a Model UN conference, another (perhaps more powerful) tactic is to write about a foundational failure and assess its impact on your development thereafter.

There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. There are times when you experience failure and you want to give up since you don’t see a solution. This essay is about your response when you are destabilized and your actions when you don’t see an immediate answer.

For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong. The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed. Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? Framing the prompt in this way allows you to tackle heavier questions about ethics and demonstrate your self-awareness.

If you haven’t experienced a “big” failure, another angle to take would be to discuss smaller, repeated failures that are either linked or similar thematically. For example, if you used to stutter or get nervous in large social groups, you could discuss the steps you took to find a solution. Even if you don’t have a massive foundational challenge to write about, a recurring challenge can translate to a powerful essay topic, especially if the steps you took to overcome this repeated failure help expose your character.

One student described his ignorance of his brother’s challenges — the writer assumed that because his brother Sam was sociable, Sam  was adjusting fine to their family’s move. After an angry outburst from Sam  and a long late-night conversation, the writer realizes his need to develop greater sensitivity and empathy. He now strives to recognize and understand others’ struggles, even if they’re not immediately apparent.

“You ruined my life!” After months of quiet anger, my brother finally confronted me. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain.

Despite being twins, Max and I are profoundly different. Having intellectual interests from a young age that, well, interested very few of my peers, I often felt out of step in comparison with my highly-social brother. Everything appeared to come effortlessly for Max and, while we share an extremely tight bond, his frequent time away with friends left me feeling more and more alone as we grew older.

When my parents learned about The Green Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also – perhaps more importantly – a community. This meant transferring the family from Drumfield to Kingston. And while there was concern about Max, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me.

As it turned out, Green Academy was everything I’d hoped for. I was ecstatic to discover a group of students with whom I shared interests and could truly engage. Preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned. Max, lost in the fray and grappling with how to make connections in his enormous new high school, had become withdrawn and lonely. It took me until Christmas time – and a massive argument – to recognize how difficult the transition had been for my brother, let alone that he blamed me for it.

Through my own journey of searching for academic peers, in addition to coming out as gay when I was 12, I had developed deep empathy for those who had trouble fitting in. It was a pain I knew well and could easily relate to. Yet after Max’s outburst, my first response was to protest that our parents – not I – had chosen to move us here. In my heart, though, I knew that regardless of who had made the decision, we ended up in Kingston for my benefit. I was ashamed that, while I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. I could no longer ignore it – and I didn’t want to.

We stayed up half the night talking, and the conversation took an unexpected turn. Max opened up and shared that it wasn’t just about the move. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain.

We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Max was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified. I’d long thought Max had it so easy – all because he had friends. The truth was, he didn’t need to experience my personal brand of sorrow in order for me to relate – he had felt plenty of his own.

My failure to recognize Max’s suffering brought home for me the profound universality and diversity of personal struggle; everyone has insecurities, everyone has woes, and everyone – most certainly – has pain. I am acutely grateful for the conversations he and I shared around all of this, because I believe our relationship has been fundamentally strengthened by a deeper understanding of one another. Further, this experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. I won’t make the mistake again of assuming that the surface of someone’s life reflects their underlying story.

This prompt is difficult to answer because most high schoolers haven’t participated in the types of iconoclastic protests against societal ills that lend themselves to an awe-inspiring response. A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion.

And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success (i.e., by blogging, starting a tutoring organization, or participating in political campaigns), you could discuss your experiences as a young person without a college degree in professional circles. However, avoid sounding morally superior (as if you’re the only person who went against this convention, or that you’re better than your peers for doing so).

Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. For example, if you wondered why medical records are often handwritten, or why a doctor’s visit can be long and awkward, maybe you challenged the norm in healthcare by brainstorming an electronic-recording smartphone app or a telemedicine system. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well. Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome.

As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes. In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question. In short, this essay is very much about “thinking,” rumination, and inquisition. A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification. The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be.

While this prompt may seem to be asking a simple question, your answer has the potential to provide deep insights about who you are to the admissions committee. Explaining what you are grateful for can show them your culture, your community, your philosophical outlook on the world, and what makes you tick. 

The first step to writing this essay is to think about the “something” and “someone” of your story. It is imperative to talk about a unique moment in your life, as the prompt asks for gratitude that came about in a surprising way. You will want to write about a story that you are certain no one else would have. To brainstorm, ask yourself: “if I told a stranger that I was grateful for what happened to me without any context, would they be surprised?” 

Note that the most common answers to this prompt involve a family member, teacher, or sports coach giving the narrator an arduous task ─ which, by the end of the story, the narrator becomes grateful for because of the lessons they learned through their hard work. Try to avoid writing an essay along these lines unless you feel that your take on it will be truly original.

Begin your essay by telling a creative story about the “something” that your “someone” did that made you thankful. Paint a picture with words here ─ establish who you were in the context of your story and make the character development of your “someone” thorough. Show the admissions committee that you have a clear understanding of yourself and the details of your world. 

Keep in mind, however, that the essay is ultimately about you and your growth. While you should set the scene clearly, don’t spend too much time talking about the “something” and “someone.”

Your story should then transition into a part about your unexpected epiphany, e.g. “Six months after Leonard gave me that pogo stick, I started to be grateful for the silly thing…” Explain the why of your gratitude as thoroughly as you can before you begin to talk about how your gratitude affected or motivated you. Have a Socratic seminar with yourself in your head ─ ask yourself, “why am I grateful for the pogo stick?” and continue asking why until you arrive at a philosophical conclusion. Perhaps your reason could be that you eventually got used to the odd looks that people gave you as you were pogoing and gained more self-confidence. 

Finally, think about how learning to be grateful for something you would not expect to bring you joy and thankfulness has had a positive impact on your life. Gaining more self-confidence, for example, could motivate you to do an infinite number of things that you were not able to attempt in the past. Try to make a conclusion by connecting this part to your story from the beginning of the essay. You want to ultimately show that had [reference to a snippet of your introduction, ideally an absurd part] never have happened, you would not be who you are today.

Remember to express these lessons implicitly through the experiences in your essay, and not explicitly. Show us your growth through the changes in your life rather than simply stating that you gained confidence. For instance, maybe the pogo stick gift led you to start a pogo dance team at your school, and the team went on to perform at large venues to raise money for charity. But before your pogo days, you had crippling stage fright and hated even giving speeches in your English class. These are the kinds of details that make your essay more engaging. 

This prompt is expansive in that you can choose any accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked personal growth or new understanding.

One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event (whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage) that reflects personal growth. If you go this route, make sure to discuss why the ritual was meaningful and how specific aspects of said ritual contributed to your personal growth. An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation. In the case of religious topics, however, be sure to not get carried away with details, and focus on the nature of your personal growth and new understanding — know your audience.

Alternatively, a more relaxed way to address this prompt is using an informal event or realization, which would allow you to show more personality and creativity. An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past. Having a long discussion about life or philosophy with your father could also suffice, thus sparking more thoughts about your identity. You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things.

The key to answering this prompt is clearly defining what it is that sparked your growth, and then describing in detail the nature of this growth and how it related to your perception of yourself and others. This part of the essay is crucial, as you must dedicate sufficient time to not undersell the description of how you grew instead of simply explaining the experience and then saying, “I grew.” This description of how you grew must be specific, in-depth, and it does not have to be simple. Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today.

One student wrote about how her single mother’s health crisis prompted her to quickly assume greater responsibility as a fourteen-year-old. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother.

Tears streamed down my face and my mind was paralyzed with fear. Sirens blared, but the silent panic in my own head was deafening. I was muted by shock. A few hours earlier, I had anticipated a vacation in Washington, D.C., but unexpectedly, I was rushing to the hospital behind an ambulance carrying my mother. As a fourteen-year-old from a single mother household, without a driver’s license, and seven hours from home, I was distraught over the prospect of losing the only parent I had. My fear turned into action as I made some of the bravest decisions of my life. 

Three blood transfusions later, my mother’s condition was stable, but we were still states away from home, so I coordinated with my mother’s doctors in North Carolina to schedule the emergency operation that would save her life. Throughout her surgery, I anxiously awaited any word from her surgeon, but each time I asked, I was told that there had been another complication or delay. Relying on my faith and positive attitude, I remained optimistic that my mother would survive and that I could embrace new responsibilities.

My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work. I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover. I didn’t know I was capable of such maturity and resourcefulness until it was called upon. Each day was a stage in my gradual transformation from dependence to relative independence.

Throughout my mother’s health crisis, I matured by learning to put others’ needs before my own. As I worried about my mother’s health, I took nothing for granted, cherished what I had, and used my daily activities as motivation to move forward. I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. Although I have become more independent, my mother and I are inseparably close, and the realization that I almost lost her affects me daily. Each morning, I wake up ten minutes early simply to eat breakfast with my mother and spend time with her before our busy days begin. I am aware of how quickly life can change. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence. Though I thought the summer before my freshman year would be a transition from middle school to high school, it was a transformation from childhood to adulthood.

This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept. One example could be “stars,” in that you could describe stargazing as a child, counting them, recognizing constellations, and then transforming that initial captivation into a deeper appreciation of the cosmos as a whole, spurring a love of astronomy and physics.

Another example could be “language,” discussing how it has evolved and changed over the course of history, how it allows you to look deeper into different cultures, and how learning different languages stretches the mind. A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why.

For example, if you’re passionate about cooking or baking, you could use specific details by explaining, in depth, the intricate attention and artistry necessary to make a dish or dessert. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling.

Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details. Describing the beauty of the night sky, the rhythms and sounds of different languages, or the scent of a crème brûlée shows passion and captivation in a very direct, evocative way.

The key to writing this essay is answering the question of why something captivates you instead of simply ending with “I love surfing.” A tip would be to play off your senses (for applicable topics), think about what you see, feel, smell, hear, and taste.

In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses. Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic.

Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic. To answer what or who you turn to when you want to learn more, you can be authentic and honest—if it’s Wikipedia, a teacher, friend, YouTube Channel, etc., you simply have to show how you interact with the medium.

When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you. In doing so, you’ll be able to gauge the depth of the topic and whether it will suffice for this prompt.

In the following example, a student shares their journey as they learn to appreciate a piece of their culture’s cuisine.

As a wide-eyed, naive seven-year-old, I watched my grandmother’s rough, wrinkled hands pull and knead mercilessly at white dough until the countertop was dusted in flour. She steamed small buns in bamboo baskets, and a light sweetness lingered in the air. Although the mantou looked delicious, their papery, flat taste was always an unpleasant surprise. My grandmother scolded me for failing to finish even one, and when I complained about the lack of flavor she would simply say that I would find it as I grew older. How did my adult relatives seem to enjoy this Taiwanese culinary delight while I found it so plain?

During my journey to discover the essence of mantou, I began to see myself the same way I saw the steamed bun. I believed that my writing would never evolve beyond a hobby and that my quiet nature crippled my ambitions. Ultimately, I thought I had little to offer the world. In middle school, it was easy for me to hide behind the large personalities of my friends, blending into the background and keeping my thoughts company. Although writing had become my emotional outlet, no matter how well I wrote essays, poetry, or fiction, I could not stand out in a sea of talented students. When I finally gained the confidence to submit my poetry to literary journals but was promptly rejected, I stepped back from my work to begin reading from Whitman to Dickinson, Li-Young Lee to Ocean Vuong. It was then that I realized I had been holding back a crucial ingredient–my distinct voice. 

Over time, my taste buds began to mature, as did I. Mantou can be flavored with pork and eggplant, sweetened in condensed milk, and moistened or dried by the steam’s temperature. After I ate the mantou with each of these factors in mind, I noticed its environment enhanced a delicately woven strand of sweetness beneath the taste of side dishes: the sugar I had often watched my grandmother sift into the flour. The taste was nearly untraceable, but once I grasped it I could truly begin to cherish mantou. In the same way the taste had been lost to me for years, my writer’s voice had struggled to shine through because of my self-doubt and fear of vulnerability.

As I acquired a taste for mantou, I also began to strengthen my voice through my surrounding environment. With the support of my parents, peer poets, and the guidance of Amy Tan and the Brontё sisters, I worked tirelessly to uncover my voice: a subtle strand of sweetness. Once I stopped trying to fit into a publishing material mold and infused my uninhibited passion for my Taiwanese heritage into my writing, my poem was published in a literary journal. I wrote about the blatant racism Asians endured during coronavirus, and the editor of Skipping Stones Magazine was touched by both my poem and my heartfelt letter. I opened up about being ridiculed for bringing Asian food to school at Youth Leadership Forum, providing support to younger Asian-American students who reached out with the relief of finding someone they could relate to. I embraced writing as a way to convey my struggle with cultural identity. I joined the school’s creative writing club and read my pieces in front of an audience, honing my voice into one that flourishes out loud as well.

Now, I write and speak unapologetically, falling in love with a voice that I never knew I had. It inspires passion within my communities and imparts tenacity to Asian-American youth, rooting itself deeply into everything I write. Today, my grandmother would say that I have finally unearthed the taste of mantou as I savor every bite with a newfound appreciation. I can imagine her hands shaping the dough that has become my voice, and I am eager to share it with the world.

Your GPA and SAT don’t tell the full admissions story

We’ll let you know what your chances are at your dream schools!

This prompt allows you to express what you want to express if it doesn’t align directly with the other prompts. While this prompt is very open-ended, it doesn’t mean you can adapt any essay you’ve written and think it will suffice. Always refer back to the Strategy section of this article and make sure the topic and essay of your choice addresses the Core Four questions necessary for a good Common App essay.

This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward. Writing your own question allows you to demonstrate individuality and confidence. Here, you can craft an innovative essay that tackles a difficult topic (for example, whether to raise or lower taxes) or presents information with a unique format (such as a conversation with an historical figure).

We encourage you to try something unconventional for this prompt, like comparing your personality to a Picasso painting, using an extended philosophical metaphor to describe your four years of high school, or writing in a poetic style to display your love of poetry. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level.

Be careful to frame the essay in a way that is accessible to the average reader while still incorporating quality evidence and content that would qualify you as an expert. As always, exercise caution in writing about controversial social or political topics, and always make sure to consider your audience and what they’re looking for in a student.

Sometimes an unconventional essay can capture Admissions Officers’ attention and move them in a profound way; other times, the concept can fly completely over their heads. Be sure to execute the essay clearly and justify your decision by seeking high-quality feedback from reliable sources. As always, the essay should demonstrate something meaningful about you, whether it is your personality, thought process, or values.

Here’s what the experts have to say about this prompt…

This prompt, like the others, is really asking you to tell the story of who you are. Your essay should be personal and should talk about something significant that has shaped your identity.

Here are a few broad themes that can work well: academic interest; culture, values, and diversity; extracurricular interests; and your impact on the community. You should highlight one of these themes using creative, vividly descriptive narrative. Make sure to not fall into the common pitfall of talking about something else -- an extracurricular activity, for example -- more than yourself.

A student I advised had a great idea to respond to this prompt -- an essay about how they do their best thinking while sitting on a tree branch near their home. Not only was it unique and personal, but it allowed the student to show what they think about, dream about, and value. That's the main goal for any applicant responding to prompt 7.

how to write an application essay for a job

Alex Oddo Advisor on CollegeVine

All of the Common App prompts are broad in scope, but this one really takes the cake! I typically advise using the first six prompts as guardrails for your brainstorm, but in doing so, you may come up with a topic that doesn’t cleanly fit with any of the first six prompts. That’s where this prompt can come in handy.

Or, you might have an idea that’s really out there (like writing about your love of sonnets as a series of sonnets). Essentially, this prompt is a good fit for essays that are anywhere from slightly unconventional to extremely atypical.

If this all feels a bit confusing - don’t worry! How you write your story is much more important than what prompt you end up choosing. At the end of the day, these are just guides to help you cultivate a topic and are not meant to stress you out.

how to write an application essay for a job

Priya Desai Advisor on CollegeVine

Students who want to complete the CommonApp’s seventh prompt need to have already gone through the other prompts and determined that their story cannot fit with those. Thus, generally speaking, I advise my students to not use the final prompt unless it is absolutely necessary.

If an admission officer believes that your essay could have been used with one of the other prompts, this may lead them to have a perception about you as a student that might not be accurate.

Nevertheless, as my colleagues have pointed out, what matters is the essay the most and not necessarily the prompt. That being said, the test of whether or not you as a student can follow directions is part of the prompt selection and how well you answer it. If you choose the final prompt and yet your answer could work with another available prompt, this will not put you in your best light.

In conclusion, only use this prompt when absolutely necessary, and remember that the purpose of the personal statement is to give the admissions officers a glimpse into who you are as a person, so you want to use this space to showcase beautiful you.

how to write an application essay for a job

Veronica Prout Advisor on CollegeVine

Where to get your common app essay edited.

At selective schools, your essays account for around 25% of your admissions decision. That’s more than grades (20%) and test scores (15%), and almost as much as extracurriculars (30%). Why is this? Most students applying to top schools will have stellar academics and extracurriculars. Your essays are your chance to stand out and humanize your application. That’s why it’s vital that your essays are engaging, and present you as someone who would enrich the campus community.

Before submitting your application, you should have someone else review your essays. That’s why we created our free  Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools.  Find the right advisor for you  to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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how to write an application essay for a job

How to Write a Job Application Essay

How to Write a Job Application Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Nowadays, many organizations require that a written speech or essay be attached to an application or resume when applying for a job. The purpose of the essay is to ensure that the job seekers have the necessary conversation abilities for the proposed position. Sometimes potential employers suggest a special problem or group of questions that you must answer in your piece. The employee can also ask to write an essay without any guidance. Either way, take your essay writing seriously so that it highlights your abilities and the benefits you can carry to the company. The job application is your ability to present yourself and show all positive and creative sides. If there exist some problems in creating the original article, you can take essay writing services from  www.CustomWritings.com .

From what to begin with the writing?

An introductory essay or personal application is a fundamental element of most applications these days. The length of this text should not overreach two pages, depending on the abilities and knowledge of the candidate. The goal of this text is to encourage applicants to demonstrate their educational and professional knowledge and abilities that fit the requirements of a particular profession. Many applicants mix a job application with a resume. If a resume is a review of a candidate’s abilities, competence, work background, education, and accomplishments, then a job application is more of a story about why you can be the most suitable candidate for the job.  Unless you have been requested to work for the company, you should prepare a powerful set of documents for applying for a job, including a resume, a job essay, and a covering letter. 

Mostly, the worker is searching candidates with such characteristics: 

  • Authority; 
  • Ability to cooperate; 
  • Problem-solving
  • emotional quotient; 
  • Creativity; 
  • Global perspective; 
  • self-consciousness; 
  • Time management; 
  • Community-oriented 

In general, you have to understand that a job application is a legitimate paper that needs less creativity and a more conventional tone. You shouldn’t go into details, listing your expert characteristics and abilities. The summary is even less detailed. If a hiring essay looks like an entire story, then a resume is a description of the simple facts about the candidate. The main goal is to help the employer compare and differentiate all competitors to choose the most suitable one.

What should be provided in the essay? 

The application form has to catch the company and make a desire to face you to get more and express your abilities. Typical sections of the questionnaire include: 

  • Private details . It provides essential information such as name and phone number. 
  • Education . Give information about your educational accomplishments, including the educational institutions you ended, courses attended, and qualifications obtained. 
  • Past work practice . List your seniority and explain your main responsibilities and duties, focusing on those that are most nearly connected to the position you are appealing for. 
  • Field of expertise . Provide definite cases where you have proved the skills needed for this position. Avoid vague language and waste space on irrelevant skills. 
  • Letter of introduction . Compose in a few well-chosen words a well-reasoned justification that you are suitable for the position, again referring to the specification outlined in the ad. 

Don’t be frightened to show all the positive qualities that you have. Illustrate your enthusiasm for the organisation or job and any former accomplishments you can associate with the role. When formulating your solutions, always consider what abilities organizations need and how you show that all are present by yourself. 

In most application forms, you will also need to include at least two people who can provide recommendations. Sometimes you may be asked to attach your resume and cover letter. 

Never utter an untruth on your profile. Not only is this unfair, but it can also have more serious consequences.

Guide for the perfect essay

If you get started to write a job application essay, the first thing that needs to be noticed is an arrangement, which means that everything should be written strictly chronologically ordered. Generally, an outline seems like usual, but the content differs, while it must be more selling.

  • Introduction;
  • Centrepiece 1 (plus three more extra promoting details);
  • Centrepiece 2(including three more extra promoting details);
  • Centrepiece 3(moreover three more extra promoting details);

In addition, you should insert before the headline and introductory elements your contact information. In the higher left corner, fill in features such as your first and last name, physical address (complete variant), phone number, email, and date. Then add basic information about the firm (name, position, company, address).

What needs to be written in the introduction of the job appliance essay?

The presentation should be as short as possible. This is a common description that introduces the applicant and defines the job of favour. You can also briefly clarify why you would prefer to manage like a specialist in this sphere. It is a good idea to specify how you found out about the job (from the Internet, publication, metro ads, in speech, etc.). 

Another recommendation is to present four or five job duties from the appointment description, to prove that you realize what you are claiming.

 What to write in the body of the Job Application Essay

In the opening paragraph of the main text, pronounce your goal for inquiring and why you think that you are the most expert candidate. 

In the next section, demonstrate what you can propose to the enrolling company. Create shot points with your abilities that completely fit the job. 

Use real-life and professional examples to demonstrate your capability in your chosen field. Combine all the main paragraphs with transition words.

How to conclude?

Remember to use polite behaviours to give a positive impact. Always thank the possible employer for taking the time to read your paper. Indicate how you plan to proceed. It is best, to begin with, the word “sincere” and then end with your signature and typo. 

Using such tips you will definitely create the best job appliance essay. But if there are some misunderstandings and failures, you can ask for custom essay writing help . 

If you find it hard to cope or wish to make sure the paper is excellent before submitting it to the employer, hire professional writers or editors.

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Write a successful job application

Employers have countless job applications to sift through, so dashing off some answers and hoping for the best won't cut it. You'll need to carefully prepare and demonstrate sought-after skills

While for some jobs you will be asked to send a CV and cover letter, many graduate roles require you to fill in an application form instead.

You'll need to complete most job application forms online via the company's website, but paper forms are still accepted in some cases.

How do I prepare for making an application?

When you find a job you'd like to apply for, don't start filling in the application form straight away. Take some time to prepare, as this will make the task much easier.

Gather together all the information you'll need, including details of your academic achievements, employment history and contact information for your referees.

You'll make a great first impression if you do your research - find out the aims of the company you're applying for, the sector they operate in and who their main competitors are. Browsing their social media channels is a good place to start.

Study the job description so you can refer back to the specific skills and qualities the employer is looking for as you complete the form.

Finally, read the instructions carefully to ensure that you complete the correct sections of the form and know when the deadline is.

What information should I include on an application form?

The application form should make the employer want to meet you to find out more and give you an opportunity to demonstrate your skills. Typical sections of an application form include:

  • Personal information - give basic details, such as name and email address.
  • Educational background - provide information on your academic achievements, including the institutions you've attended, courses taken and qualifications gained.
  • Work experience - list your employment history and describe your main duties and responsibilities in each role, emphasising those most closely related to the job you're applying for.
  • Competency-based questions - give specific examples of times when you've demonstrated the skills required for the role. Avoid being vague, and don't waste space writing about skills you have that aren't relevant - see example questions and answers for help.
  • Personal statement - write a well-structured, well-argued case that you are the right person for the job, again referring to the person specification set out in the advert.

Don't be afraid to sell yourself. Demonstrate your passion for the company or job and any past achievements you can relate to the role. When writing your answers, always consider what skills employers want and how you can show that you have them.

Most application forms will also require you to provide details of at least two people who can provide references. You may sometimes be asked to attach a CV and cover letter as well.

Never lie on your job application form. Not only is this dishonest, but there can be more serious consequences - for example, altering your classification from a 2:2 to a 2:1 is considered degree fraud and could result in a prison sentence.

How do I fine-tune my application?

Refining your writing style will improve the quality of your application. Employers are looking for confident applicants who can convince them of their capabilities - demonstrate your suitability by giving short, to the point and positive answers.

You should also:

  • use power verbs such as transformed, delivered, achieved and inspired
  • choose descriptive words like effective, consistent, determined and adaptable
  • focus on answering the questions and avoid waffling or being too vague
  • select appropriate examples of your achievements from past experience
  • demonstrate enthusiasm for the role
  • ensure your spelling and grammar is correct.

Ask somebody else, such as a careers adviser, parent or friend, to read through your application form. A second pair of eyes will help pick out errors that you may not have spotted.

Do I need to disclose personal information in a job application?

Many graduate employers are committed to promoting diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace and the Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Nine characteristics are protected by the Act:

  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnerships
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • sex (gender)
  • sexual orientation.

When making an application, it's important to remember that you're not obliged to give details of any of the above characteristics and that it's unlawful for recruiters to discriminate against applicants on these grounds. You might be asked to provide these details on a confidential equal opportunities form, usually the last page of an application, or on a separate form. This is used solely for monitoring the employer's commitment to equality and diversity. It shouldn't be seen by people involved in recruitment or used in the selection process. If you'd prefer not to answer some or all of these questions, there is usually a 'prefer not to say' option you can select.

While there's no legal obligation for you to disclose personal information to your employer, it's entirely up to you if you choose to do so. If you don't feel comfortable disclosing on an application form there will be other opportunities to do so, such as during an interview, after a job offer has been made or once you're in the workplace.

For example, if you want to disclose a disability at the application stage, our example cover letter shows you how. If you'd like to disclose that you're trans during an interview, you could ask what policies are in place around the treatment of trans employees or ask if there are any groups of initiatives you could get involved in.

You can make a complaint if you feel you have been discriminated against during the recruitment process. In the first instance, it might be useful to visit Acas , an independent public body that provide free, impartial advice on workplace issues.

How do I submit my application form?

You'll complete the majority of job application forms online. On most employers' websites registering your details means you can save your work as you go, meaning you don't have to finish the form in one sitting.

Typing your answers into a Word document, before copying and pasting them into the application form, is easier than typing directly into the web browser. You'll need to double-check your formatting as you copy and paste - for instance, if you've gone over the word count, the online form may simply cut off the ends of your answers - but going about your application this way means you won't risk losing your progress if your logged-in session times out.

Print the completed application form out and read it through before you submit, as it's much easier to spot spelling and grammatical errors on a printed page than on screen.

Finally, ensure you have attached any requested documents, such as your CV, and then submit your application. You should receive email confirmation that it has been received.

What happens if my application is successful?

Employers receive hundreds of applications per job and if they've chosen to progress yours on to the next step you should feel proud of yourself.

Depending on the role and employer you may be asked to complete a series of online exercises such as psychometric tests . Before inviting you to an in-person interview some recruiters may set up a telephone or video interview. Others may invite you to attend an assessment centre .

To find more advice on how to handle this stage of you application, see interview tips .

How do I respond to job rejection?

Whether the rejection comes at the application form stage or after an interview, everyone experiences it at some point. While it's disheartening and can have an impact on your confidence, especially if it happens a few times, the important thing to remember is that many others are in the same position.

You should email the company within a week of the rejection, politely thanking them for their time and asking that they retain your details for any future opportunities. Ask for feedback - the majority of employers will be happy to provide this. Enquire about what you did well and where your application fell down, as this can help you approach the next one more confidently.

If you're struggling to get to the interview stage, you need to develop an action plan of achievable mini-goals, such as:

  • improving your CV
  • gaining extra work experience
  • using social media to job hunt
  • meeting and connecting with new people.

Find out more

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Tips On How To Write Essay For A Job Application

How To Write Essay For A Job Application

Even after getting out of college, you may still have to write essays for some reason. A job application is one of those reasons, and it is mostly inevitable. Often, companies request job applicants to write application essays as part of the screening process. A job application paper usually accompanies your resume, cover letter, transcript, and certificates. Similar to the other documents, it is an avenue for you to ‘sell yourself’ to your potential employer.

What You Need To Write an Essay for a Job Application

The tricky part is you may have been a class topper and still need to learn how to write an essay for a job application. For this reason, an applicant may get an essay for sale on platform Paperell , which offers high-quality and well-written application papers. This eradicates the stress of figuring out what to write. Primarily, writing an essay for a job application is for an applicant to prove the following skills:

1- Professional competence

Your result is more about showing your professional competence, unlike your college essays, which show your academic intelligence.

Those professional papers allow employers to glimpse how you’ll handle similar tasks, especially when you’re applying for administrative posts where memos, press releases, and several emails are rampant.

2- Conversational skills

Another reason for you to write an outstanding piece is to show your conversational skills. You write as a means of conversation, so the tone of your essay shows how you’re likely to relate with superiors, colleagues, and subordinates.

Other skills employers look out for include:

● Self-consciousness ● Time management ● Honesty ● Cooperation ● Creativity ● Emotional intelligence

For these reasons, it is essential for a job applicant to know how to write excellent essays for a job.

Writing An Outstanding Piece

Knowing how to write an application essay for a job is not a skill that randomly comes to anyone. It involves constantly practicing and following the right guide like the one below.

Pre-writing Stage

1- research.

As with other types of papers, you have to carry out extensive research to get a proper perspective. In the research stage, you go through the company’s website to see job essays by successful candidates. You could also check online for some examples. The purpose is not to copy these samples but to understand the company’s preferred writing style.

2- Outlining

After getting a clear idea of what to major in, the next step is to outline. Making an outline simply means arranging your points logically. Your outline needs to include all the points you intend to write in your essays.

While outlining, go through the prompt of the assignment as a guide.

Writing Stage

1- topic selection.

Most times, companies don’t give applicants topics. In such situations, pick a topic relevant to the company’s values and your potential position. Additionally, make sure your subject is interesting but concise.

When you’re given a topic to write on, it is important to read and understand the topic several times. Since other applicants would also strive to write excellent essays, don’t hesitate to go deeper into the topic.

2-  Introduction

This part can either make or mar your result, as it creates a solid impression. The key to a good introduction is to display a deep understanding of the topic or theme. Still, it is important for it to be short—anything longer than two paragraphs is too long.

3- The Body

The body of your essay is the ‘soul’ of the whole piece. The body has to contain verifiable facts to show that you’ve done your research and you’re sure of your notions. Make sure to add statistics, citations, and data as required to make your points more credible. It is also important to make each point clear and concise—vague words mean uncertainty and inadequate planning.

This part should not be longer than two pages except the company states otherwise.

Your conclusion is not a place for you to add new information. The purpose of composing a conclusion is to make a resonant statement about your overall subject. One or two paragraphs are enough for an excellent conclusion.

Post-writing Stage

1- editing and proofreading.

The last thing you want as an applicant is to make a wrong impression by submitting essays with grammatical errors. You have to double-check for possible misspellings, repetitions, and grammar errors. To edit efficiently, it is advisable to use editing tools online.

Tips To Take Note Of While Writing An Essay

Side from the step-by-step writing guide, there are essential things you need to pay attention to. The previously mentioned tips for writing a job application essay might not be as effective if these important tips are neglected.

● Adhere to every instruction in the essay prompt by the company. ● Never follow a generic writing template- originality is key. ● Avoid creating text in an excessively casual or formal tone. ● Don’t be scared of mentioning any skill that is relevant to your potential position. Avoid mentioning irrelevant skills.

Apart from showing professional skills to the company, essays should include some other details. Your paper writing should consist of your name, educational achievements, attained qualifications, past work experience, and field of expertise. Be bold and mention these details, regardless of the fact that they are in your resume and cover letter.

Furthermore, the length of your job application paper and the skills you mention depends on the position you are applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a secretarial role, you have to say your interpersonal skills and the emotional intelligence class you took.

Even if you know about this activity, the company’s preferences and specific prompts should prioritize.

Writing a job application

Developing a strong application is the first step towards securing a job. Learn how to create a tailored resume and cover letter, and clearly address the selection criteria for the role.

Your job application is often your first contact with a potential employer. The key to developing a strong application lies in tailoring your documents specifically to the requirements of the role and the target organisation. Consider the application an opportunity to clearly demonstrate how your qualifications, skills, abilities and experience are a solid match for the role.

What should I include in my application?

Application requirements will vary from organisation to organisation, so read, understand and follow the instructions provided by the employer. They may ask for some or all of the following documents:

  • cover letter
  • statement addressing selection criteria
  • online application form
  • supporting documentation, eg, academic transcripts.

For emailed applications, you’ll need to write a short introduction within the body of the email and attach the requested documents. Your email should make it clear which job you are applying for and draw the reader’s attention to the attached documents. It’s also a good idea to include your contact details and let the employer know you are available for an interview. Do not duplicate your cover letter – keep it succinct.

Job application tips

Self-assessment  involves thinking about your interests, values, skills and strengths, to identify the types of jobs and organisations that are right for you. Note your main strengths and the situations where you have developed or used those strengths. For example, you may have acquired strong verbal communication skills by giving presentations and working in a casual sales job. You’ll need to clearly articulate your  relevant attributes  in the job application.

Analyse the job ad.  Most employers will use the job advertisement to explain what they are looking for in a candidate. The  selection criteria  (requirements for the role) may be clearly listed or ‘hidden’ within the text of the advertisement. Look for any keywords that denote skills, experience, education or attributes. Pay particular attention to repeated keywords or phrases.

Do your research  so you understand what the organisation does and how it presents itself. Check its website for annual reports and information about services or products, values and mission statement, structure and culture. Use the University Library’s resource guide for  researching organisations and industries , and search  Factiva  to find references to the organisation in the media. If possible, talk to people who work in your target organisation at a  careers fair ,  employer event  or  information interview .  

Write a targeted application  that is specific to the job role and organisation. Your application should reflect your interest in the employer and offer evidence that you meet the requirements of the role. Focus on the skills and attributes listed in the job advertisement or uncovered through your research when writing your application documents, and always provide proof of your skillset (ie, where/how you have developed/used that particular skill and for what outcome).

Follow employer instructions . Include all documents and information requested by the employer, and fill in all fields if you are applying via an online form. An incomplete application is unlikely to be considered. If you’re unsure about any aspects of the application procedure, contact the employer for more information.

Apply for jobs now

Register for workshops and events, how to write a resume.

A clear, tailored and professional resume is essential for any job application. It should aim to convince an employer that your qualifications, work experience and skillset make you a strong match for the job.

How to write a cover letter

A cover letter is your first introduction to a potential employer, so it needs to show that you’re a suitable candidate.

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Many careers require written communication such as letters, memos or short e-mails. As a result, employers place a high importance on good communication skills in the work place. When a number of applicants apply for the same position, employers may ask for a writing sample, also known as an application essay, to evaluate their skills. A well-written application essay can help you stand out among other applicants and may help you land the job.

A company may give you the freedom to select the topic of your application essay. You may want to consider narrowing down your options to those that apply to the career you are pursuing with the company. For example, you may wish to write about an aspect of the hiring process if you are in human resources. This not only allows the company to see your written communication skills, but will give a potential employer insight into your knowledge in a particular area.

Some companies will give you a topic for the essay. If this is the case, read the topic carefully to avoid any misunderstanding. Keep your essay professional and relative to your career and background. You should avoid bringing up your personal life, such as marital status, age and medical conditions, as this information might lead to unintentional judgments on the part of the employer before meeting you.

Every essay should begin with an introduction, then move into the body of the essay, and finally end with a conclusion. The introduction and conclusion should each be no more than a paragraph or two in length. The main body of your essay contains the points you make regarding the essay topic. The length of this portion will depend on the requirements given by your potential employer and the complexity of the topic. If the application essay asks for two examples, make sure you follow these specific directions -- this helps an employer identify you as a job candidate who can follow directions.

You should be clear and concise when you relate your ideas. Your potential employer will be evaluating the way you communicate, and your essay may be of significant importance if the position you are applying for requires strong written communication. To keep you from veering off track in your essay, make a list of the points you want to make and refer to this list frequently as you write.

Not only should you take your time writing, you should also spend time revising to ensure your essay is free of grammatical errors. Make sure to also evaluate whether each paragraph relates directly to the topic of your essay. You may want to ask a professional editor to read over your essay and offer suggestions for improvement.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Essay Writing

Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.

Compare & Contrast Essay Structure

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How to Write a Job Essay

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How to Address a Cover Letter When the Name Is Unknown

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In an age of instant communications, job applicants are often surprised -- perhaps even overwhelmed -- by requests for a writing sample during the search process. Whether you are writing a cover letter for your resume or an actual essay, the skills you learned in your high school or college composition class will get you through the process painlessly, with a few “tweaks” to pitch to your intended audience.

Typically, a job essay is actually a letter sent to introduce yourself when submitting a resume or an application. Business letters should include your return address, the date, and the address to which the letter is being sent at the beginning, with a 2-inch top margin. Traditionally, if you do not know the name of the person receiving the letter, the salutation should be “Dear Sir or Madam,” followed by a semi-colon, although taking the time to get the name is better. A simple “sincerely,” followed by a comma, works best as the closing.

Appropriate Language

Again, this is a business document, so it should not read like a letter to your best friend. Write more formally, rather than being overly familiar or casual. Avoid all slang terms or idioms, as well as most industry jargon. You may use a few “insider” terms to indicate an understanding of the job, but don’t lard the letter to impress. Phrase sentences to avoid the use of second-person pronouns.

Conciseness and Efficiency

Human resources personnel are often inundated with applications, along with many other responsibilities. Respect their time restraints by getting to the point quickly and concisely. Cut vague phrases, replacing them with tight, specific words. Combine sentences whenever possible. Instead of saying, “I worked in the research department. I provided information about the XYZ event. I wrote about the facts of the event,” try “While employed in the research department, I wrote a briefing about XYZ.” Also, if it isn’t relevant to the job, leave it out.

Attention Command

With the flood of applicants for many positions, your letter needs to set you above the crowd. Start with a common issue or concern for someone in the position, and continue to explain how your skills or experience make you uniquely qualified to address that issue. For example, hook the reader with “When resolving customer service complaints, the ability to remain calm is critical, and my experience as an air-traffic controller has provided me the opportunity to practice that skill,” instead of “I am applying for the customer complaint position in your call center.”

Specificity and Relevance

Always address the responsibilities of the position specifically, matching yourself to the needs of the job. Rather than writing “I can use a computer,” describe how your skills at creating multimedia slide shows will allow you to provide stellar sales presentations. Describe examples of your creativity, reliability or team spirit, rather than regurgitating your resume. Keep the points directly related to the position, though. This isn’t the time to mention your medals for cycling, unless the job description includes riding your bicycle.

Grammar and Syntax

Errors in spelling, word choice or other grammar or syntax rules tells a potential employer about more than just your education and writing skills. With that apparent lack of attention to details, the reader could assume that you won’t bother to check work done for the company carefully either. Don’t rely only on the spell checker in your word processing program, either. Read your letter aloud, preferably to someone else, to be sure that it flows smoothly and makes good sense. Proofread from the last word to the first, from bottom right to top left, to force your eyes to see what is -- or isn’t -- there, rather than what you expect to see. Finally, make sure that the essay is visually appealing, with an easy-to-read font and size, in clear, black ink on clean, white paper.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Appropriate Language
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Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.

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Writing Sample for a Job

What Is a Writing Sample?

Why do employers ask for a writing sample, what should your writing sample show the employer, how long should the writing sample be, types of writing samples, how to create a new writing sample, final thoughts, writing sample for a job.

Updated January 10, 2024

Laura Bevis

There can be many different requirements during a job application process, and an increasingly common one is submitting a writing sample for a job.

This may seem overwhelming, but with preparation and understanding of the brief, you will be able to complete it with ease.

It is important to note that only roles where writing is required will need a sample, so people are not likely to apply for the role in the first place if they do not like to write.

This article will look at the definition of a writing sample, when it is likely to be required and how to write one.

A writing sample is a document that will need to be submitted in addition to a job application form and CV, or sent separately in an email or after an interview.

The most common roles that would require a writing sample include communications, journalistic or media roles, and jobs that involve formal and corporate writing, such as:

  • Human resources roles
  • Personal assistants
  • Some sales jobs
  • Customer-facing roles
  • Secretarial positions

Employers are looking at your spelling, punctuation and grammar skills, and your ability to write in a certain tone or style.

There may be extra factors they look at, depending on the job role. For example, a sample for a sales position may need to show that you can write in a persuasive way and in a certain tone.

You need to show the employer you can write well, using correct grammar and spelling, while using a professional tone.

Some roles require different types of writing skills. You may need to write internal emails to all staff, or craft important letters to customers or partners.

The applicant needs to show they can adapt their skills to different tones and subject matters.

It is also an opportunity to show the employer you can write concisely and summarise detailed information.

One to four pages is an appropriate length for a writing sample. It needs to be short, concise and of interest to the reader, as opposed to a long paper.

Think carefully about the length and try and research online what the best option is for that particular employer.

You can use a relevant previous piece of work or tailor a new piece. As long as they fit the criteria, either option is allowed.

It is important to ensure the right writing sample is submitted for the job role. There are some writing types that will never be appropriate, and some that are more suited to certain jobs.

Some typical work samples are:

  • Policy briefs
  • Press releases or news features (including comment pieces)
  • Blog posts or online articles (professional)
  • Short academic papers
  • Sales pitches

These samples can be taken from academic coursework, work experience or personal documents (if appropriate) or be a completely new piece of work.

When choosing from previous pieces, try to avoid very old samples, as it may look like your writing skills are outdated, or that you have not written anything in a while.

Ensure the sample is as relevant as possible. A press release or blog post on something creative would not be appropriate for a role in sales or a technical position.

Avoid opinion pieces, particularly those that include personal, religious and political views.

If you’d like to include an excerpt from a longer piece of writing, this will work if it is in context, makes sense on its own and is a good example of your writing skills.

Writing Sample for a Job– What It Is and How to Write One

If you do not have appropriate or relevant writing samples already written, you will need to write a completely new piece.

It's best to write something that shows the required writing skills relevant to the job, rather than including a sample that the employer will not be able to appropriately analyse.

When writing a new document, consider the following advice:

Step 1 . Read and learn the requirements and instructions

In the application, there will be a guide and instructions on what to include in the writing sample. Follow these carefully to ensure the brief is fulfilled.

Step 2 . Choose the best topic to write about

Decide on the most relevant topic that reflects the nature of the business and that will show your writing skills.

Step 3 . Research

Look up the company website – are there examples of writing samples? Check on forums and job sites for how to write the type of piece you want to submit.

Step 4 . Check the ad

Keep referring to the job application to ensure your writing sample fits the criteria

Tips for Submitting a Writing Sample

This part of the job process can really set your application apart from others. Following some simple tips for submitting your writing sample can help you to be successful.

Submit Your Best Work

Whether it is a previous piece of work or a new creation, ensure it is your best piece of work – one that is also relevant and up to date.

Rewrite an existing document if necessary and test it on peers and friends to see how it reads.

Edit and Proofread

As with all pieces of work, it is vital to carefully check your work. The employer is looking to see if you can write professionally and well – with no typos and with sound grammar.

Write an Introduction

Including an introduction to your writing sample for a job will show the employer why you have submitted that particular piece and will give some context to it.

Remove Sensitive Data

If the piece of work includes personal and sensitive data, such as real names, addresses, dates of birth and more, it is important to remove these before submission.

The requirement of writing samples for a job is becoming increasingly popular for employers and businesses to include in job ads.

It helps to remember that, if you are applying for a role that requires writing, you will already have a level of expertise in this, which is why you are applying.

With that in mind, there is no need to be overwhelmed. Follow the tips in this article, and you will be able to set your application apart with a good writing sample.

You might also be interested in these other Wikijob articles:

Best 13 CV Writing Services in the UK

Or explore the Application Advice / Job Applications sections.

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Advice for Writing Application Essays

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The resources in this section provide a general timeline for undergraduate applications. In this section you will also find more detailed information about each stage in the application process, as well as a handout on writing the admissions application essay.

Advice for Writing Successful Application Essays

When you sit down to write your application essays, there is very little left that you can control. You should have already taken, or retaken, the SAT and ACT, your grades from your first three years of high school are set on your transcript, and your recommenders all have their impressions of you that are unlikely to change before the recommendation deadline. The only thing that left in your control is your writing for the application essay.

As with all things related to your college application, you will need to start drafting your application essay far ahead of the due date. In fact, you should move each school’s deadline up two weeks so that no unexpected events prevent you from completing and submitting your application. The reason that you need so much time to work on your essay is primarily because many schools will ask you to write about similar topics, but to do so in different ways. You will need enough time to draft essays that address each of these questions or prompts for each school to which you are applying.

Don't use boilerplate essays. That is, resist the urge to reuse the exact same essay for different schools if each of them is giving you a slightly different writing prompt. You can, of course, adapt the same essay for similar prompts. Many schools do allow you to use the Common Application essay for admission to several participating schools. For more information on the Common Application and to check which schools participate as members, click here .

Although using the Common Application does simplify the processes, make sure that you review each of the schools’ application requirements. as many of these same schools also request that you submit a second essay along with the Common Application essay. For instance, in addition to answering one of the standard Common Application questions, Amherst College asks that you write an additional essay responding to one of several quotations.

Before you can start writing your essay, you will need to begin by reading the prompts and questions carefully. Even the Common Application has six prompts that you can choose from. Don’t feel as though you must choose one immediately after reading them. You should ask yourself what sticks out the most for you after having read through them. Think about what is most salient for you.

Brainstorm by putting your thoughts on paper. You can free write (writing without stopping or censoring yourself), create word association maps (visually clustering concepts that you feel go together), or keep a journal over the course of several days so that you can collect your thoughts in one place. See the Purdue OWL's PowerPoint on “ Finding your Focus ” for more details on these strategies.

After you have generated several ideas, reflect on where you find the most intensity or excitement in what you were writing. If nothing jumps out at you, keep brainstorming or talk with others about some possible topics until something grabs you.

Once you know what want to write about, put a rough draft on paper. Don’t be afraid of stray thoughts if they lead you to something more interesting than you had set out to write. Just make sure that you eventually come to have a rough draft that is about one thing.

Look over your draft and check for the following.

  • Your writing should be personal. After reading your essay, does it seem like anyone could have written this? Make sure that your essay captures who you are.
  • You writing should show, not tell, through vivid language. Successful essays relate an experience or analyze a pattern from the writer’s life. It is not enough to make general claims about what impacted your decision to go to college, for instance; you must elaborate by including evidence that answers “how” and “why” when you make your claims.

It is important to note that admissions officers care as much about your structure, style, and insights as they do about your content. That is not meant to add an extra layer of anxiety to your writing process, but to highlight the fact that you don’t necessarily need to have something life-changing to write about in order to write a successful essay. As Dowhan, Dowhan and Kaufman note in Essays that Will Get You into College , “Personal does not have to mean heavy, emotional or even inspiring” (10). In fact, as the authors explain, students might over rely on the significant event that they write about to speak for itself and don’t “explain what it meant to them or give a solid example of how it changed them. In other words, they do not make it personal” (10).

Finally, your writing should be about a sustained topic. You must use vivid description with a purpose. What is it that you learned because of this experience? What message can you decipher from the series of events that you present? What led you to your conclusions?

Once you have completed your rough draft, put it away for a few days. Afterwards, read the question again and look through your essay. Ask yourself if the essay answers the prompt. Is it personal? Does it use vivid language? Is it focused on one topic? Rewrite whatever needs to be strengthened. This is a great time to have other people look through your draft and get their reaction. Make sure that you ask someone early, and that you trust this person’s judgment; they will be putting in a lot of time to help you, so don’t disregard anything that is inconvenient or that you don’t want to hear.

Again, giving yourself plenty of time to work on this essay is vital. You should have enough time to rewrite or restructure your essay based on the feedback that you have received. As you are drafting and revising, feel free to fix any mistakes that you catch in terms of spelling, grammar, and mechanics, but don’t spend too much time editing early on in the writing process. Working on lower-order concerns can give you the impression that the essay is ready to submit prematurely. Instead, use this time to strengthen the main points of your essay.

To supplement the advice offered on this page, you can find a handout on writing the admissions application essay here .

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Academic Cover Letters

What is this handout about.

The long list of application materials required for many academic teaching jobs can be daunting. This handout will help you tackle one of the most important components: the cover letter or letter of interest. Here you will learn about writing and revising cover letters for academic teaching jobs in the United States of America.

What is an academic cover letter?

An academic cover letter describes your experiences and interest as a candidate for a specific position. It introduces you to the hiring committee and demonstrates how your academic background fits with the description of the position.

What do cover letters for academic teaching jobs typically contain?

At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are typically no more than two pages (up to four pages for senior scholars). Occasionally, a third page may make sense for an early-career scholar if the application does not require a separate teaching statement and/or research statement. Digital versions of cover letters often contain hyperlinks to your CV or portfolio page. For some fields, cover letters may also include examples of your work, including music, popular articles, and other multimedia related to your research, service, or teaching available online. Typically, letters appear on departmental or university letterhead and include your signature. Above all, a strong cover letter presents your accomplishments and your familiarity with the institution and with the position.

How should I prepare to write my academic cover letter?

Like all writing, composing a cover letter is a process. The process may be as short as a few hours or as long as several weeks, but at the end the letter should present you as a strong candidate for the job. The following section has tips and questions for thinking through each stage of this writing process. You don’t need to answer all of these questions to write the letter; they are meant to help you brainstorm ideas.

Before you begin writing your cover letter, consider researching the institution, the department, and the student population. Incorporating all three aspects in your letter will help convey your interest in the position.

Get to know the institution. When crafting your cover letter, be aware of the type of institution to which you are applying. Knowing how the institution presents itself can help you tailor your letter and make it more specific.

  • Where is the institution located?
  • Is it on a quarter-system or semester-system?
  • What type of institution is it? Is it an R1? Is it an R2? Is it a liberal arts college? Is it an HBCU? Is it a community college? A private high school?
  • What is the institution’s culture? Is it teaching-focused or research-focused? Does it privilege experiential learning? Does it value faculty involvement outside the classroom? Is it affiliated with a specific religious tradition?
  • Does it have any specific institutional commitments?
  • How does the institution advocate for involvement in its local community?
  • What are the professional development opportunities for new and junior faculty?

Learn about the department. Knowing the specific culture and needs of the department can help you reach your audience: the department members who will be reading your documents and vetting you as a candidate.

  • Who is on the search committee? Who is the search committee chair?
  • What is the official name of the department?
  • Which different subfields make up the department?
  • Is it a dual appointment or a position in a dual department?
  • How does the department participate in specific types of student outreach?
  • Does the department have graduate students? Does it offer a terminal Master’s degree, Ph.D., or both? How large are the cohorts? How are they funded?
  • Does the department encourage or engage in interdisciplinary work?
  • Does the majority of the department favor certain theoretical or methodological approaches?
  • Does the department have partnerships with local institutions? If so, which ones?
  • Is the department attempting to fill a specific vacancy, or is it an entirely new position?
  • What are the typical course offerings in the department? Which courses might you be expected to teach? What courses might you be able to provide that are not currently available?

Consider the students. The search committee will often consider how you approach instructing and mentoring the student body. Sometimes committees will even reserve a position for a student or solicit student feedback on a candidate:

  • What populations constitute the majority of the undergraduate population?
  • Have there been any shifts in the student population recently?
  • Do students largely come from in-state or out-of-state?
  • Is there an international student population? If so, from which countries?
  • Is the university recruiting students from traditionally underrepresented populations?
  • Are students particularly active on campus? If so, how?

Many answers to these questions can be found both in the job description and on the institution’s website. If possible, consider contacting someone you know at the institution to ask about the culture directly. You can also use the institution’s course catalog, recruitment materials, alumni magazine, and other materials to get answers to these questions. The key is to understand the sort of institution to which you are applying, its immediate needs, and its future trajectory.

Remember, there is a resource that can help you with all three aspects—people. Reach out to your advisor, committee members, faculty mentors, and other contacts for insight into the prospective department’s culture and faculty. They might even help you revise your letter based on their expertise. Think of your job search as an opportunity to cultivate these relationships.

After you have done some initial research, think about how your experiences have prepared you for the job and identify the ones that seem the most relevant. Consider your previous research, internships, graduate teaching, and summer experiences. Here are some topics and questions to get you started thinking about what you might include.

Research Experiences. Consider how your research has prepared you for an academic career. Since the letter is a relatively short document, select examples of your research that really highlight who you are as a scholar, the direction you see your work going, and how your scholarship will contribute to the institution’s research community.

  • What are your current research interests?
  • What topics would you like to examine in the future?
  • How have you pursued those research interests?
  • Have you traveled for your research?
  • Have you published any of your research? Have you presented it at a conference, symposium, or elsewhere?
  • Have you worked or collaborated with scholars at different institutions on projects? If so, what did these collaborations produce?
  • Have you made your research accessible to your local community?
  • Have you received funding or merit-based fellowships for your research?
  • What other research contributions have you made? This may include opinion articles, book chapters, or participating as a journal reviewer.
  • How do your research interests relate to those of other faculty in the department or fill a gap?

Teaching Experience. Think about any teaching experience you may have. Perhaps you led recitations as a teaching assistant, taught your own course, or guest lectured. Pick a few experiences to discuss in your letter that demonstrate something about your teaching style or your interest in teaching.

  • What courses are you interested in teaching for the department? What courses have you taught that discussed similar topics or themes?
  • What new courses can you imagine offering the department that align with their aim and mission?
  • Have you used specific strategies that were helpful in your instruction?
  • What sort of resources do you typically use in the classroom?
  • Do you have anecdotes that demonstrate your teaching style?
  • What is your teaching philosophy?
  • When have you successfully navigated a difficult concept or topic in the classroom, and what did you learn?
  • What other opportunities could you provide to students?

Internships/Summer/Other Experiences. Brainstorm a list of any conferences, colloquiums, and workshops you have attended, as well as any ways you have served your department, university, or local community. This section will highlight how you participate in your university and scholarly community. Here are some examples of things you might discuss:

  • Professional development opportunities you may have pursued over the summer or during your studies
  • International travel for research or presentations
  • Any research you’ve done in a non-academic setting
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Participation in symposia, reading groups, working groups, etc.
  • Internships in which you may have implemented your research or practical skills related to your discipline
  • Participation in community engagement projects
  • Participation in or leadership of any scholarly and/or university organizations

In answering these questions, create a list of the experiences that you think best reflect you as a scholar and teacher. In choosing which experiences to highlight, consider your audience and what they would find valuable or relevant. Taking the time to really think about your reader will help you present yourself as an applicant well-qualified for the position.

Writing a draft

Remember that the job letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your accomplishments and to communicate why you would be a good fit for the position. Typically, search committees will want to know whether you are a capable job candidate, familiar with the institution, and a great future addition to the department’s faculty. As such, be aware of how the letter’s structure and content reflect your preparedness for the position.

The structure of your cover letter should reflect the typical standards for letter writing in the country in which the position is located (the list below reflects the standards for US letter writing). This usually includes a salutation, body, and closing, as well as proper contact information. If you are affiliated with a department, institution, or organization, the letter should be on letterhead.

  • Use a simple, readable font in a standard size, such as 10-12pt. Some examples of fonts that may be conventional in your field include Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, and Verdana, among other similar fonts.
  • Do not indent paragraphs.
  • Separate all paragraphs by a line and justify them to the left.
  • Make sure that any included hyperlinks work.
  • Include your signature in the closing.

Before you send in your letter, make sure you proofread and look for formatting mistakes. You’ll read more about proofreading and revising later in this handout!

The second most important aspect of your letter is its content. Since the letter is the first chance to provide an in-depth introduction, it should expand on who you are as a scholar and possible faculty member. Below are some elements to consider including when composing your letter.

Identify the position you are applying to and introduce yourself. Traditionally, the first sentence of a job letter includes the full name of the position and where you discovered the job posting. This is also the place to introduce yourself and describe why you are applying for this position. Since the goal of a job letter is to persuade the search committee to include you on the list of candidates for further review, you may want to include an initial claim as to why you are a strong candidate for the position. Some questions you might consider:

  • What is your current status (ABD, assistant professor, post-doc, etc.)?
  • If you are ABD, have you defended your dissertation? If not, when will you defend?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why are you a strong candidate for this position?

Describe your research experience and interests. For research-centered positions, such as positions at R1 or other types of research-centered universities, include information about your research experience and current work early in the letter. For many applicants, current work will be the dissertation project. If this is the case, some suggest calling your “dissertation research” your “current project” or “work,” as this may help you present yourself as an emerging scholar rather than a graduate student. Some questions about your research that you might consider:

  • What research experiences have you had?
  • What does your current project investigate?
  • What are some of the important methods you applied?
  • Have you collaborated with others in your research?
  • Have you acquired specific skills that will be useful for the future?
  • Have you received special funding? If so, what kind?
  • Has your research received any accolades or rewards?
  • What does your current project contribute to the field?
  • Where have you presented your research?
  • Have you published your research? If so, where? Or are you working on publishing your work?
  • How does your current project fit the job description?

Present your plans for future research. This section presents your research agenda and usually includes a description of your plans for future projects and research publications. Detailing your future research demonstrates to the search committee that you’ve thought about a research trajectory and can work independently. If you are applying to a teaching-intensive position, you may want to minimize this section and/or consider including a sentence or two on how this research connects to undergraduate and/or graduate research opportunities. Some questions to get you started:

  • What is your next research project/s?
  • How does this connect to your current and past work?
  • What major theories/methods will you use?
  • How will this project contribute to the field?
  • Where do you see your specialty area or subfield going in the next ten years and how does your research contribute to or reflect this?
  • Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, with whom?
  • How will this future project encourage academic discourse?
  • Do you already have funding? If so, from whom? If not, what plans do you have for obtaining funding?
  • How does your future research expand upon the department’s strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio? (For example, does your future research involve emerging research fields, state-of-the-art technologies, or novel applications?)

Describe your teaching experience and highlight teaching strategies. This section allows you to describe your teaching philosophy and how you apply this philosophy in your classroom. Start by briefly addressing your teaching goals and values. Here, you can provide specific examples of your teaching methods by describing activities and projects you assign students. Try to link your teaching and research together. For example, if you research the rise of feminism in the 19th century, consider how you bring either the methodology or the content of your research into the classroom. For a teaching-centered institution, such as a small liberal arts college or community college, you may want to emphasize your teaching more than your research. If you do not have any teaching experience, you could describe a training, mentoring, or coaching situation that was similar to teaching and how you would apply what you learned in a classroom.

  • What is your teaching philosophy? How is your philosophy a good fit for the department in which you are applying to work?
  • What sort of teaching strategies do you use in the classroom?
  • What is your teaching style? Do you lecture? Do you emphasize discussion? Do you use specific forms of interactive learning?
  • What courses have you taught?
  • What departmental courses are you prepared to teach?
  • Will you be able to fill in any gaps in the departmental course offerings?
  • What important teaching and/or mentoring experiences have you had?
  • How would you describe yourself in the classroom?
  • What type of feedback have you gotten from students?
  • Have you received any awards or recognition for your teaching?

Talk about your service work. Service is often an important component of an academic job description. This can include things like serving on committees or funding panels, providing reviews, and doing community outreach. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to explain how you have involved yourself in university life outside the classroom. For instance, you could include descriptions of volunteer work, participation in initiatives, or your role in professional organizations. This section should demonstrate ways in which you have served your department, university, and/or scholarly community. Here are some additional examples you could discuss:

  • Participating in graduate student or junior faculty governance
  • Sitting on committees, departmental or university-wide
  • Partnerships with other university offices or departments
  • Participating in community-partnerships
  • Participating in public scholarship initiatives
  • Founding or participating in any university initiatives or programs
  • Creating extra-curricular resources or presentations

Present yourself as a future faculty member. This section demonstrates who you will be as a colleague. It gives you the opportunity to explain how you will collaborate with faculty members with similar interests; take part in departmental and/or institution wide initiatives or centers; and participate in departmental service. This shows your familiarity with the role of faculty outside the classroom and your ability to add to the departmental and/or institutional strengths or fill in any gaps.

  • What excites you about this job?
  • What faculty would you like to collaborate with and why? (This answer may be slightly tricky. See the section on name dropping below.)
  • Are there any partnerships in the university or outside of it that you wish to participate in?
  • Are there any centers associated with the university or in the community that you want to be involved in?
  • Are there faculty initiatives that you are passionate about?
  • Do you have experience collaborating across various departments or within your own department?
  • In what areas will you be able to contribute?
  • Why would you make an excellent addition to the faculty at this institution?

Compose a strong closing. This short section should acknowledge that you have sent in all other application documents and include a brief thank you for the reader’s time and/or consideration. It should also state your willingness to forward additional materials and indicate what you would like to see as next steps (e.g., a statement that you look forward to speaking with the search committee). End with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Kind Regards” followed by your full name.

If you are finding it difficult to write the different sections of your cover letter, consider composing the other academic job application documents (the research statement, teaching philosophy, and diversity statement) first and then summarizing them in your job letter.

Different kinds of letters may be required for different types of jobs. For example, some jobs may focus on research. In this case, emphasize your research experiences and current project/s. Other jobs may be more focused on teaching. In this case, highlight your teaching background and skills. Below are two models for how you could change your letter’s organization based on the job description and the institution. The models offer a guide for you to consider how changing the order of information and the amount of space dedicated to a particular topic changes the emphasis of the letter.

Research-Based Position Job Letter Example:

Teaching-based position job letter example:.

Remember your first draft does not have to be your last. Try to get feedback from different readers, especially if it is one of your first applications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.

Potential pitfalls

Using the word dissertation. Some search committee members may see the word “dissertation” as a red flag that an applicant is too focused on their role as a graduate student rather than as a prospective faculty member. It may be advantageous, then, to describe your dissertation as current research, a current research project, current work, or some other phrase that demonstrates you are aware that your dissertation is the beginning of a larger scholarly career.

Too much jargon. While you may be writing to a specific department, people on the search committee might be unfamiliar with the details of your subfield. In fact, many committees have at least one member from outside their department. Use terminology that can easily be understood by non-experts. If you want to use a specific term that is crucial to your research, then you should define it. Aim for clarity for your reader, which may mean simplification in lieu of complete precision.

Overselling yourself. While your job letter should sell you as a great candidate, saying so (e.g., “I’m the ideal candidate”) in your letter may come off to some search committee members as presumptuous. Remember that although you have an idea about the type of colleague a department is searching for, ultimately you do not know exactly what they want. Try to avoid phrases or sentences where you state you are the ideal or the only candidate right for the position.

Paying too much attention to the job description. Job descriptions are the result of a lot of debate and compromise. If you have skills or research interests outside the job description, consider including them in your letter. It may be that your extra research interests; your outside skills; and/or your extracurricular involvements make you an attractive candidate. For example, if you are a Latin Americanist who also happens to be well-versed in the Spanish Revolution, it could be worth mentioning the expanse of your research interests because a department might find you could fill in other gaps in the curriculum or add an additional or complementary perspective to the department.

Improper sendoff. The closing of your letter is just as important as the beginning. The end of the letter should reflect the professionalism of the document. There should be a thank-you and the word sincerely or a formal equivalent. Remember, it is the very last place in your letter where you present yourself as a capable future colleague.

Small oversights. Make sure to proofread your letter not just for grammar but also for content. For example, if you use material from another letter, make sure you do not include the names of another school, department, or unassociated faculty! Or, if the school is in Chicago, make sure you do not accidentally reference it as located in the Twin Cities.

Name dropping. You rarely know the internal politics of the department or institution to which you are applying. So be cautious about the names you insert in your cover letters. You do not want to unintentionally insert yourself into a departmental squabble or add fire to an interdepartmental conflict. Instead, focus on the actions you will undertake and the initiatives you are passionate about.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Ball, Cheryl E. 2013. “Understanding Cover Letters.” Inside Higher Ed , November 3, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/11/04/essay-cover-letter-academic-jobs .

Borchardt, John. 2014. “Writing a Winning Cover Letter.” Science Magazine , August 6, 2014. https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2014/08/writing-winning-cover-letter# .

Helmreich, William. 2013. “Your First Academic Job.” Inside Higher Ed , June 17, 2013. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/06/17/essay-how-land-first-academic-job .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. https://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/26/how-to-write-a-journal-article-submission-cover-letter/ .

Tomaska, Lubomir, and Josef Nosek. 2008. “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Cover Letter to Accompany a Job Application for an Academic Position.” PLoS Computational Biology 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006132 .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

student in library on laptop

How to Write an Effective Essay

Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.

Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.

Tips for Essay Writing

A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.

1. Start Early.

Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.

2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.

Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.

3. Create a Strong Opener.

Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.

Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.

4. Stay on Topic.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.

A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.

5. Think About Your Response.

Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.

6. Focus on You.

Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.

7. Stay True to Your Voice.

Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.

8. Be Specific and Factual.

Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.

9. Edit and Proofread.

When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.

Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.

What is the format of a college application essay?

Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.

Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.

How do you start an essay?

The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.

You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.

What should an essay include?

Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.

What shouldn’t be included in an essay?

When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.

How can you make your essay personal and interesting?

The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.

Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?

Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.

Related Articles

I Asked ChatGPT to Write 3 Different Marketing Job Application Emails — Here's What I Got

Anna Rubkiewicz

Published: February 12, 2024

Here’s a confession: If someone asked me how I was able to land two of the most exciting full-time marketing roles in my career, my first instinct would have been to say that I was just “lucky.”

man writes emails for job applications

A second later, though, I'd be much fairer to myself and admit that I was able to make the hiring manager interested in learning more about me. When you apply for an open role, this first impression usually happens when you send in your resume over email.

The biggest hurdle? Standing out among other applicants in the hiring manager’s inbox.

Download Now: 17 Professional Email Templates

As I’ve been self-employed for over four years now, the last time I applied for any full-time role was years before ChatGPT came to the market.

Still, I wondered if AI is capable of creating an email that would be compelling and personal and, therefore, has the potential to intrigue a hiring company. Also, how much information would I have to include in my prompt to get a satisfactory outcome? I tested three different prompts to see — here’s what I learned.

Table of Contents

What is a job application email?

How to write a job application email.

  • What ChatGPT Wrote For Me

Writing My Own Job Application Email

A job application email is a formal email sent to a recruiter or a hiring manager by someone who’s seeking employment. It aims to express interest in a specific position and to share relevant information on the applicant’s skills and experience.

1. Add a relevant subject line.

On top of applications from candidates, the hiring manager receives tens of other emails every single day.

And while you have no control over how much communication they receive, you can do a lot to boost your job application email visibility.

“Make your intentions clear in the subject line,” says Robert Kaskel, chief people officer at Checkr . “Mention it’s an application, the role in question, and your name. Also, remember that most email providers only display 20-30 characters of subject line text in the recipient’s inbox.”

Kaskel also underlines that you should steer clear of any “clickbait-y” text.

“Nor should you try to create a sense of urgency by using words like ‘Urgent,’ ‘Immediate,’ or ‘Time-sensitive.’ These tactics might work for marketers, but they’re more likely to alienate and irritate a recruiter who may view them as deceptive,” he said.

2. Adjust your tone of voice to the company.

As a marketer, you know that brands use a different tone of voice. Some are more relaxed than others. If you want to stand out from other applicants, try to use a tone of voice that matches the company you’re applying to.

Take a look at the job ad. Is it written in a friendly, humorous manner, or is it super professional? Write your email copy in a way that shows you ‘get’ their communication style.

This is especially important when applying for marketing positions. After all, an ability to adjust to a brand’s tone of voice is something to be expected from marketing pros. Right?

3. Keep it short and relevant.

Whenever I scroll through LinkedIn, the amount of people who apply for a job never fails to amaze me. There are hundreds of applicants within a few hours after posting a job ad. The job market has gotten incredibly competitive.

That said, recruiters have to go through tons of LinkedIn messages and emails. Their time is limited, so keep your email short and to the point.

Make sure that your opening paragraph is catchy. If you make it blunt and irrelevant, the recruiters won’t bother reading the rest.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, executive at Resume Worded , says, “As a recruiter who‘s seen thousands of applications cross my desk, I can tell you one thing for sure: the generic, formulaic emails blur into a monotonous hum. But the ones that truly stand out? They’re the ones that tell a story.”

A story sparks curiosity, Tyler-Smith notes.

“A well-crafted story hooks me in, making me want to know more about the person behind the words. It‘s no longer just a resume on a screen. It’s a glimpse into your unique journey, your motivations, and your potential.

It reveals your passion, your humor, your resilience — all the qualities that make you, well, you. And in a world of faceless applications, authenticity is gold,” Tyler-Smith says.

She also says that it shows you’re a great fit for the company.

“A story that connects your experiences to the specific role and company paints a vivid picture of why you're not just qualified, but perfectly suited for the job,” adds Tyler-Smith.

4. Include a personal salutation.

Starting your job application email with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Hiring Team” isn’t the best way to make a good first impression.

If the recruitment manager isn’t listed in the job ad, find out who is responsible for hiring in this specific company. It might require some digging, but it will be worth the effort.

The majority of candidates won’t bother to find out the person’s name, and if you do, you will stand out.

5. Attach your CV and label it correctly.

Remember to attach your CV to your email; if you forget to do it, high chances are your application will be ignored. Also, make sure it’s correctly labeled.

Daniel Kroytor, the founder of TailoredPay , explains why this is so important. “It is not unusual for a job application email to include attachments, but what many do not consider are their labels, and this is why they should look at them carefully before sending,” he says.

He adds that “it is important to remember that you are not the only person who is inquiring about a job opportunity, which means that potential employers will receive dozens if not hundreds of documents, and if they are mislabeled, they could be disregarded or cause HR headaches.”

Max Wesman, founder and COO at GoodHire , further emphasizes the importance of email attachments. He sees them as the most important element of a job application.

Wesman says that “not only do you need to attach the right documents, but they also need to be neatly designed, well-written, and free of any mistakes.”

Attachments allow you to attach documents and add information outside of the basic application format. Wesman notes, “So make sure to attach any fun, interesting, or qualifying documents that can help your case.”

6. Include a personalized section on why you fit the company.

Avoid statements like “I have years of experience” if you aren’t planning to prove how it ties with the company you’re applying to in the next couple of sentences.

Each sentence should help the hiring manager assess how exactly your presence could contribute to the business.

For example, if you’re applying for a social media manager position, you could share a story of a successful campaign that you came up with the idea for and how many leads or sales it generated.

Gianluca Ferruggia, general manager at DesignRush , has a great take on this, saying that candidates should showcase not only their professionalism but also their personal brand.

“This isn‘t simply about using formal language; it’s more about the way a candidate presents their capabilities and achievements. Relating past experiences to the job's requirements helps connect their history with the future role,” Ferruggia notes.

Ferruggia says that the “personal” touch can be, as mentioned above, a company project example or even a professional value that you and the company both share. This will help set your application apart.

“It leaves an impression that the candidate is both proficient in their field and has done their homework, fitting seamlessly into the organization's culture and vision,” Ferruggia says.

What ChatGPT Wrote Me

It’s time to have some fun! I’ve decided to run a little experiment to see if ChatGPT could be of any help when it comes to writing job application emails.

I used three different prompts to see how they would impact the output. Here is what I got.

The prompt: “Could you please write me a job application email for a Content Strategist position at Swooped?”

ChatGPT’s Output

how to write an application essay for a job

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  4. How to Write a Job Application Essay: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Job Application Essay: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Read the job listing and essay description carefully. Your essay should respond directly to any instructions provided or questions asked by the employer. Part of the "test" with job application essays is to see how well you respond to questions and follow instructions. [2] As you read, write down keywords or phrases.

  2. How To Write an Application Letter (With Template and Example)

    Follow these steps to compose a compelling application letter: 1. Research the company and job opening Thoroughly research the company you're applying to and the specifications of the open position. The more you know about the job, the better you can customize your application letter. Look for details like: Recent awards the company has received

  3. How to Write an Effective Job Application Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Key Takeaways Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Effective Job Application Essay Step 1: Analyze the Job Posting Step 2: Craft a Compelling Personal Statement Step 3: Address Employment or Qualification Gaps Step 4: Tailor Your Essay to the Specific Company or Industry Step 5: Edit and Proofread Your Essay Conclusion FAQs

  4. Application Essays

    Application Essays What this handout is about This handout will help you write and revise the personal statement required by many graduate programs, internships, and special academic programs. Before you start writing

  5. How to Write an Application Letter—Examples & Guide

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  6. How to Write a Job Application Essay

    Identify the keywords that should be included in your paper based on the prompt. The most common keywords are specific skills you will be bringing to the position. Some of these skills are based on your creativity while others rely on your technical expertise. A sample will help you to write a better essay.

  7. How To Write a Job Application Letter (With Examples)

    Make a list of your relevant experience and skills. For instance, if the job ad calls for a strong leader, think of examples of when you've successfully led a team. Once you've jotted down some notes, and have a sense of what you want to highlight in your letter, you're ready to get started writing.

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    Write in the top bubble if you use the Goal/Reasons wheel. Brainstorm job-related details to fill the remaining bubbles. Use the resulting charts to write your essay. For example: In the center or topic bubble: I want to join the police force to serve as an armed school resource officer.

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    The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories: 1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2.

  12. How To Write a Personal Essay in 8 Simple Steps (With Tips)

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    Advice for Writing Successful Application Essays When you sit down to write your application essays, there is very little left that you can control. You should have already taken, or retaken, the SAT and ACT, your grades from your first three years of high school are set on your transcript, and your recommenders all have their impressions of ...

  21. Academic Cover Letters

    At their most basic level, academic cover letters accomplish three things: one, they express your interest in the job; two, they provide a brief synopsis of your research and teaching; and three, they summarize your past experiences and achievements to illustrate your competence for the job. For early-career scholars, cover letters are ...

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    understand why it's worth writing that essay. A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive, and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves.

  23. 16 Winning Personal Statement Examples (And Why They Work)

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    1. Understand the concept of career goals. Before you write your career goals essay, you must first identify your career ambitions. Career goals are a form of personal development. Focus on the professional or educational goals you would like to achieve aside from a high salary. The qualities of your goals are a more accurate measure of success ...

  25. Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

    1. Start Early. Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

  26. I Asked ChatGPT to Write 3 Different Marketing Job Application Emails

    4. Include a personal salutation. Starting your job application email with "Dear Sir/Madam" or "Dear Hiring Team" isn't the best way to make a good first impression. If the recruitment manager isn't listed in the job ad, find out who is responsible for hiring in this specific company.

  27. AI Letter Writer

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