Writing personal documents
When you are asked to write an application letter of any sort, you should understand thoroughly what the job, programme or course that you are applying for entails, and what you will be required to do.
Once you have established that, you can evidence in your letter or application that you are able to fulfil those requirement. It is a good idea to list them and deal with them one at a time in your letter or application.
If there is a website for the institution you are applying to there will be plenty of information on that, so it is a great place to start.
If anyone you know is on the course/programme/ or works for the company, or someone can put you in contact, try to speak with them. Compile a list of questions. But do listen to what they say, and check through your question list to ensure all your points are covered.
Before you start your application, check through all the paperwork you have to complete. There may be a standard application form where you should list your education and qualifications. In that case you won’t want to list them in your application letter. If there is anything that you want to draw attention to, you can include that it in your letter, explaining its significance.
It is best to write in the first person “I would like to take this course because … “
Make sure you keep within the stated length of the application if one is specified. Work to the specification, and follow instructions closely. Write what you want to say, and then edit your first draft to meet the specification.
A problem that crops up regularly is how to deal with something negative in your history, like a poor grade, or a position you have been asked to leave. If you have a plausible explanation for it, perhaps illness or a family problem, mention it and offer the explanation.
If you can demonstrate you have learnt something from a difficult experience, then often that will be seen as positive. If you can’t decide whether or not to include it, write it out and show it to a person whose opinion you trust – maybe a parent, or a colleague , or your tutor –and ask for their judgement.
Carefully read the brief before you decide what to include in the letter. What are they asking for? Do they want you to talk about your educational and career goals? Or do they want to know about your life or career so far?
Perhaps they want you to tell them about your aspirations for your future? Perhaps they want you to do both, and give them the reasons why you want to take their course, or work for them. Maybe they want to know what has encouraged you to want to take this route.
So do as you are asked in the instructions. Make sure your letter or essay is properly constructed, with a beginning, middle and end. Check your language is clear, and that there are no spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors, and check the formatting and font. Ask someone else to proofread the application. Follow the submission instructions exactly.