Nigeria’s unemployment rate in 2020 is 27.1%. It means that about 21.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed. An insufficient number of jobs in the labor market, which leads to high competition, is one reason. Thus, candidates who want to attract the recruiter’s attention, get an interview invitation, and finally receive a job offer, need to stand out somehow. That is where a professional application letter, i.e., cover letter, can help.
In this detailed guide, you will find out how a winning document should be formatted and learn more about the importance of the application letter.
Why Is Application Letter Important
Recruiters receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes. Most often, they select those that have a distinct advantage over others. The application letter is one of them.
An application letter is essential because it allows describing your motivation, relevant work experience and qualifications, skills and personal qualities, and your other advantages as a candidate. Moreover, it shows your creativity, because writing about yourself interestingly and concisely is harder than it sounds.
It’s especially relevant for recent graduates who have nothing with which to surprise employers. They have little working experience, if any, and not many practical skills. But motivation, enthusiasm, and energy reflected in the application letter can offset this.
Application Letter Structure
You can find much information on how to write an application letter in Nigeria on the Internet, but one of the most important rules is that it should be written in a business style, formal tone, and have a clear structure.
Chaotic writing can portray you as a disorganized person, which can affect the first impression of you. Follow this sample of the Nigerian job application letter structure, and you will have a well-patterned document that you can send to a potential employer.
The first section includes your contact information: name, address, phone number, your email address. You can add a link to the LinkedIn page address. But first, make sure your profile contains information about your current professional goal, work history, and skills.
Here you need to address your application letter. It’s better to do it by name, so try to find the contact person’s name for the position to which you are applying. It may be mentioned in the vacancy or on the company website, so check the “About Us,” “Our staff,” or “Contact Information” section. If not, you can call them to ask.
In case you can’t find the name, don’t write “To Whom It May Concern” because it’s too outdated. It is better to choose “Dear Hiring Manager.”
This paragraph is your chance to introduce yourself and tell the employer why you’re applying for this specific role. Show that you’ve researched the company and explain how its values resonate with you. You can also describe how the job lines up with your career goals.
Now it’s time to talk about your experience, qualifications, and relevant skills in more detail. Try to connect your previous accomplishments and your willingness to get this new position and ring it to the company. Think of what you have to offer.
This section is designed to summarize the value you can add. Moreover, you can use it to express your sincere gratitude to the hiring manager for the time and consideration.
Call to action
Call to action is the last but no less important part of an application letter. Here you can demonstrate your interest in the position one more time by suggesting the next steps. One of the options is a request for a meeting or a call.
Nigerian Application Letter Format Basics
When writing a letter of application in Nigeria, you should make sure that it is perfectly formatted. It’s your first encounter with the hiring manager, so your paper should make a good impression. Visually organized documents with consistent and clear formatting will likely catch the recruiter’s attention and increase your chances of getting an interview invitation.
Brevity is one of the main characteristics of an application letter. It should be clear and concise. Usually, the document consists of three-four paragraphs, each containing up to five sentences.
In general, it shouldn’t be longer than one page.
Choose some typical business font like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman. They are easy to read and don’t cause the recruiter any eye strain. Moreover, it will eliminate problems with automated scanning systems, which are typically used by hiring managers.
As for the size, the standard 12-point font is perfect.
Typically, the margins for a business letter are 1 inch. It will give your application letter a clean look and improve its readability.
In case you have trouble with an application letter length, you can cut the top, bottom, and side margins a little bit.
Use bullet points
It’s another good way to make it easier to read and attract attention. Format part of your application letter as a list to help the employer immediately find the necessary information.
We recommend using this option when writing about your achievements or skills.
Proper spacing is crucial as it helps the hiring manager skim an application letter quickly.
Add a space between contact information, salutation, and each paragraph.
Highly Important Tips for Your Application Letter
We’ve prepared some more useful tips you can follow when writing an application letter for a job in Nigeria.
- Check application letter examples
After you’ve written the text for your application letter, we recommend searching for layout examples. They can give you an understanding of how the document should look and inspire you with some creative solutions when customizing your template.
- Proofread the text
Before sending your application letter, be sure to check spelling, grammar, and syntax. Typos and grammatical errors can demonstrate your negligence. You can use Grammarly to find mistakes, Hemingway App to make it easy-to-read. Moreover, you can even ask your friend or family members to read your application letter.
Be sure to double-check your formatting because, after you correct mistakes, it may get busted.
- Write a follow-up email
If you’ve sent your resume and application letter but haven’t gotten any response, consider sending an additional email. It is a helping tool if you want to find out your application’s status and draw attention to your candidacy.
Don’t forget to follow the formatting rules mentioned above to make your email easy to read.
It is crucial to present your text clearly and consistently, keeping the proper structure and formatting when applying for a job. Otherwise, the hiring manager can misinterpret what you wanted to say or even stop reading altogether.
Fonts, margins, length, spaces are some of the essential elements in ensuring readability. They make your application letter or any other document, understandable to the person reading it. However, you won’t achieve success only with the perfect format. You should combine it with convincing content.
Read the job listing thoroughly, research the company, analyze your skills, and think about how you can present your strengths in a visually engaging application letter. Follow our advice and increase your chances of becoming the one 72.9% employed Nigerians.