Academic Writing: Templates for a Job Application Letter and Assignment #1


How would you answer the following newspaper ad for an Au Pair Job in the UK? (for a larger view, click on the photograph)

Fortunately, this ad asks for some very specific information, all of it related to the job being offered. (NOTE: in the U.S., it is illegal for potential employers to ask your age or marital status. BUT they can ask when you graduated from high school or university.)

Thus, if you follow a basic template for writing a Letter of Application--or any formal letter, actually--the task becomes much easier.

Therefore, I would like this class not to obsess too much about letter-writing formats as a main activity or as a major part of your grade. I'm more interested in the body of your letter and how you "sell" your enthusiasm and skills to a potential employer, using a formal tone (or "register").

Specific formats tend to be highly subjective and capricious, based on different cultures and attitudes. Even in the U.S., there are several ways to format a formal letter. So how to choose the "right" format?

In the end, it really doesn't matter what "format" you select as long as your format is consistent and that you present all the appropriate information in a logical and coherent manner. So does it really matter if you choose use a partial block format or a full block format? Indented paragraphs?

Not really, at least from my perspective. HOWEVER, every formal letter must contain the following elements:

Parts of the Formal Letter:

The heading

"The heading" is simply your name and mailing address.
Telephone contact

Email Contact


Date the Letter of Application is being written and sent.
Inside address

This is the recipient's full name, title, and address (including country)
Formal salutation

Dear Mr Collins, (UK)

Dear Mr. Collins: (US--note period after "Mr")
Body of letter

The body consists of approximately four main paragraphs, which present very specific information--well-written, of course--about the job applicant.
Formal call for action

The call for action consists of one sentence that implicitly or explicitly asks the recipient to follow up on his or her application.
Complimentary close

Yours sincerely, Yours truly, etc.

Your handwritten name (First name, last name. If you have a common name like "John Smith," you might consider including your middle name as well.)
Typed name

Formal title

For students, including a title is probably not necessary.

The title is included when a professional is seeking a new job in the same or a similar field.

Basic Template for a Job Application Letter (Partial Block Format) (for a larger view, click on the photograph):

Partial Block Format: Template for a Job Application Letter (Examples of The Heading, Telephone Contact, Email Contact, Dateline, Complete Inside Address, Salutation, Formal Call for Action, Formal Complimentary Close, Signature, Typed Name, Formal Title) (for a larger view, click on the photograph):

Full Block Format: Template for a Job Application Letter (Examples of The Heading, Telephone Contact, Email Contact, Dateline, Complete Inside Address, Salutation, Formal Call for Action, Formal Complimentary Close, Signature, Typed Name, Formal Title) (for a larger view, click on the photograph):


Assignment #1:

For class on October 19, please answer the ad for Au Pairs Worldwide, using a formal register (or "tone," as we say in the U.S.). I will consider this a rough draft, so it may be handwritten.

You will be rewriting this, so don't worry too much about exact correctness.

However, before attempting this letter, please read the above information.

I will not be distributing print copies of this post, but I will place a copy on reserve in the library.

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