IELTS Writing Task 1- Job application letter

IELTS Writing Task 1- Job application letter

The good thing about this task is that you might be more familiar with it than some of its counterparts (like a complaint letter, or letter of advice), but we still need to go through how we write it for the IELTS exam.

What you will gain by reading this post:

  • A clear understanding of what the task is
  • How to find out what the purpose is
  • Task specific language
  • Structure checklist
  • Writing samples

What is the job application letter task?

Task 1 for the General paper requires you to produce a formal letter. One of these letter types is to write a job application letter. As usual, the word count is a minimum of 150. You can go over but be careful not to do so excessively. It’s useful to find a balance. Somewhat over may suggest your comfortability and fluency with English, but too far over may suggest a lack of focus to the task. As the task is to write a letter, apply the standard rules of letter writing. With all IELTS tasks, if they give you bullet points, they are instructing you to include these as part of your response.

The job application can vary between formal and semi-formal as seen below:

  • You are applying within the company you currently work at (formal)
  • You are applying because you met someone on the off chance (semi-formal)
  • You are responding to an advertisement (formal)

As you can see, the difference depends on the scenario given where your tone may differ slightly.

How do I find out the purpose of the letter?

Purpose is so important. If you mistake the purpose, your whole letter is off-key and not relevant to the task, which means an undesirable score. And we don’t want that!

So how can we help ourselves in understanding the purpose? Let’s try applying these methods below.

Achieving task purpose:

  • Take a minute to evaluate the question
  • Underline/highlight specific parts of the question to help focus on its key areas
  • Establish whether you are writing to someone you know or not
  • Make notes on your narrative; how will you create a ‘story’ that matches the job

Of course the task is fictional, and is purely a writing task to see how well you can write a letter of application. Whilst there is an element of creativity, it is much more about the skill of letter writing in the context of a job application.

Let’s use an example to go through purpose:

You have seen an advert in a local magazine for a job working at a catering company during the summer season.

The purpose of this letter is to appeal to the catering company with your relevant skills. As it is seasonal work, we can assume that they are not looking for permanent staff. This can be addressed in your letter. It was sourced from a local magazine so you will be writing to presumably the owner of the company. Your position as the sender of the letter, is to convince them you are right for the job.

Task specific language

  • I would like to apply for the position of…
  • I am writing in regards to the advert…
  • I am writing to express an interest in the role of…
  • I have a background in…
  • My professional experience involves/includes…
  • At present, I am…
  • I am currently…
  • As you can see from my CV…
  • For the past ‘X’ years, I have worked as a…
  • I consider myself to be…
  • I feel that my experience…
  • I consider myself a…
  • Some of my strongest skills are…

Structure checklist

  1. First line- Dear Sir/Madam
  2. First paragraph- Introduction/position- introduce yourself and mention the position you are applying to
  3. Second paragraph- Skills & experience- how do your skills and experience match the role?
  4. Third paragraph- Motivation- why are you interested in the role, opportunity to mention references
  5. Last line- formal ending and sign off

This structure has some flexibility. If you wanted to merge for example your motivation and experience together, and use skills as another separate paragraph, this would be ok. The most important thing is to address the bullet points given and write it in the letter format.

All job applications would ask you to speak about your skills and experience, and why you are applying for the job. So we would call this ‘a given’, in that it is expected.

Writing samples

Sample 1

You have seen an advert in a local magazine for a job working at a catering company during the summer season.

You decide to apply for the job.

Write a letter to the director of the company. In your letter:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain what experience and special skills you have
  • Explain why you are interested in the job

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Rachel Cuff and I am a postgraduate student in Events Management from the University of Bristol. I came across your advertisement in N8 Communicator and would like to put myself forward for your summer season vacancy.

I have just completed the first year of my professional career, where I have specialised in the catering industry. I am an employee at Eden Caterers as a Catering Manager assistant. In my spare time, I work at numerous weekend events such as; Southbank Food Festival, Savour Festival and Vegan London.

During my time with Eden Caters I have helped to host numerous events, both for commercial, corporate and private events. During my first three months, I was appointed as waiting staff and bar staff. Soon after this, I was promoted to the role of Assistant Catering Manager.

I have experience in on-the-ground work, where I am accustomed to working with a team in a fast-paced environment. I also have experience in a managerial position where I have helped on a more operational level to oversee a company. With my extensive understanding of events from my recent studies, and my array of professional experience, I believe that I would be an ideal candidate for your summer season. I would like to help you create fantastic events and increase your success in the busy summer season.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Cuff.

Sample 2

During a recent train journey, you sat next to a businesswoman who owns a chain of hotels. You talked to her and she suggested that you should contact her about a possible job opening in one of her hotels.

Write a letter to this businesswoman. In your letter:

  • Remind her when and where you met
  • Tell her what kind of job you are interested in
  • say why you think you would be suitable for the job

Dear Mrs Rhodes,

My name is Lisa and we met last week on the train from Manchester to London, on a late Sunday afternoon. Our seats were next to one another and we spoke for much of the journey back. You kindly offered me your business card when we were exchanging goodbye’s at London King’s Cross. I hope you will remember who I am, as you suggested contacting you regarding a job opening in one of your hotels. I am writing to you today to express my interest in this position.

Whilst we were talking, you mentioned your chain of hotels and your current expansion in opening a boutique hotel. You spoke about the new hotel that is due to open to the public within the next six months, where you are looking for a hotel manager. As I told you during our journey, I have eight years of experience in the hotel sector, four of which are in a managerial role. If you remember, my most recent position was overseas in France, managing a small boutique hotel. I am particularly interested in the boutique hotel model and am very interested in helping you develop your new hotel.

I am a suitable person for this position because I have developed my experience in management, branding and growth. I believe my skills and experience can help you develop your upcoming hotel, where we can set up a clear plan on how you want to further strategise your business. I would like to discuss this with you further face-to-face, and I am available anytime next week if you would like to speak.

You can call me through my contact information to set a date. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,


Proofread each paragraph before moving onto the next, so you know you are meeting Task Achievement