Mastering IELTS Application Letters and Resignation Letters

Mastering IELTS Application Letters and Resignation Letters

How to successfully write an application, and resignation letter

For the general exam, you'll need to be well-versed in writing different letter types. Two out of the ten types are the application and resignation letter. This article will go through each and give you examples of both, along with practice questions.

What are these letter types?

To resign, is a formal way of expressing leaving one's job. It simply means to leave your current employment.

To write an application letter, is where you write to a potential employer to secure a position or be invited for an interview. These are typically more common as people tend to seek work more than they leave their jobs.

Resignation letter

The first thing to do is to understand the question and what the task is asking you. The three questions are:

  • What is the topic?
  • Who are you writing to?
  • Why are you writing to them?

What is the structure of a formal resignation letter?

The structure is simple. As a rule of thumb, it is a safe option to go with:

  • Greeting
  • Paragraph 1- the opening
  • Paragraph 2- the explanation
  • Paragraph 3- the explanation
  • Paragraph 4- conclusion
  • Sign off

You may have an extra paragraph depending on how many ideas are raised in the question. Order your writing by the order of the question. If for example, the statement initially mentions leaving your job because you are moving overseas, then this should also be explained in your first paragraph. In other words, imitate the structure of the question.

Unlike Task 2 for example, your paragraphs will generally be shorter, and you may have more of them. This is the case because a letter in comparison to an essay, doesn't require as much detail and the paragraphs can therefore be more direct and to the point, making them comparatively shorter.

What does a typical IELTS resignation letter task look like?


You have decided to resign from your work in order to enter a new professional field.

Write a letter of resignation to your boss. In your letter:

  • tell your boss of your decision and explain why you are leaving
  • explain what you have gained from your current job and your feelings about leaving
  • ask for a letter of reference

Sample answer

Dear Mr Wood,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from Rights Watch. In accordance with my notice period, my final day will be [date of last day].

My time at Rights Watch has been invaluable, but I have made the decision to enter into another field of work. The reason being, is that I would like to pursue my keen interest and passion, in the culinary arts. I have been offered a job at a leading culinary school that will enable me to follow this course of action.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Rights Watch and it has been an informative and enriching experience. I would like to thank you for all of the opportunities I have been afforded here, and the professional impact it has had on me. Notwithstanding this, I have personally learnt a great deal from your guidance over the years.

In the coming weeks before my closing day, I am fully committed to continuing in the same manner of work and will be happy to assist in providing a smooth transition.

I would be grateful if a letter of reference could be sent to my future employer in the coming weeks.


[your name]

Useful language for a resignation letter

  • I regret to inform you that
  • In accordance with my notice period
  • Thank you for the opportunities
  • Effective from
  • I am writing to inform you
  • I wish you and the company all the best
  • It has been a pleasure working with you
It is worth thinking about the tone of your letter. You want to remain polite and gracious, but aim to keep it succinct. You don't want to be overly emotional about parting ways, but you want to acknowledge your time at the place of work.

Do's and Don'ts

Letter of application

Similarly to the resignation letter, ask yourself the three questions (What is the topic? Who are you writing to? Why are you writing to them?)

The key difference between these two types of letter is the subject. A resignation letter announces one leaving their job, whilst a letter of application seeks work. You can therefore begin to see how the tone would be different between them, as well as the language, and the ideas put forward. We don't need to discuss any positive attributes about ourselves in a resignation letter for example, but this is important to do in an application letter.

We still however, make sure we ask the three questions- What, Who, Why.

What is the structure of a letter of application?

Again, the structure needs to be reflected in the question given to you in Task 1.

As before, you begin with your (1) greeting, (2) follow with your opening, and continue to paragraph your letter based on what is said in the question. You therefore may then (3) follow with what's likely to be, 2-3 paragraphs. Completing your task with your (4) conclusion, and (5) sign off.

What does a typical IELTS letter of application look like?

Before we look at a specific example, these are some types of application scenarios you could expect and are useful to practice with.

  1. Applying to volunteer
  2. Applying for a summer job
  3. Responding to an advert detailing a job
  4. Career change
  5. Recent graduate seeking work (internship, apprenticeship)
  6. Applying for a middle leadership position
  7. Applying for a senior leadership position
  8. Internal position (a position has opened up in the company you work in)


You have seen an advert asking for volunteers to help run an upcoming charity literary event.

Write a letter of application to the organisers. In your letter:

  • explain why you are interested in volunteering
  • provide details of relevant past experience
  • suggest ways you could help with the event

Sample answer:

Dear Ms Stone,

I am writing to express my interest in the advertised charity event taking place on [insert date]. I would like to offer my assistance on the day of the event, as well as any help required in leading up to the event. I live in close proximity to the happenings, and would like to help with an event so close to home.

I am a university student who is currently studying English Literature and have a keen interest in the subject. At university, I frequently help with literary events on campus, that range from smaller events, to more sizeable affairs. As well as this, I run a small literary magazine which I co-founded with a fellow student.

I would be happy to help with running a stall on the day or of being more flexible, and helping with general organisation or scheduling. If you are interested in arranging an additional speaker to your event, I would be more than happy to get in touch with our modest pool of previous speakers.

I look forward to hearing from you.


[your name].

Useful language for an application letter

  • I would like to express my interest in
  • I have a strong interest in
  • This experience has taught me how to
  • I believe that my skill set
  • I would appreciate the opportunity to
  • I look forward to hearing from you
  • Thank you for your time and consideration