Difference Between Letter and Application (Letters vs Applications)

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Letters vs Applications

Letters and applications are standard methods of written communication. These two methods have similar purposes, but there are relative differences regarding structure, format, and contents. This article will explore all about letters and applications and help you to get through an understanding of letters and applications.

What Is a Letter?

A letter conveys a message from one person to another or one organization to another. Usually, letters are used for business or personal communication. It can be sent through email or postal service. Letters are written for various purposes, such as to express gratitude, request information, apologize or wish, or offer congratulations.

Purpose of Letters

Letters are primarily used to transmit information, express feelings, or make a request. Letters are commonly used for personal or professional communication, including sending condolences, requesting information, expressing gratitude, congratulating someone, and more.

What Is an Application?

Application is a standard mode of communication. Applications are used formally for requests, such as a loan or leave application. Applications are more detailed than letters and are used for specific situations. They are submitted through an official process and are sometimes used to evaluate candidates' qualifications for requested job positions, loans, or any opportunity. 

Purpose of Applications

Primarily applications are used for applying for specific requests, services, or opportunities. They are usually longer and more detailed and might often include background information about applicants, such as education qualifications, experience, and objectives. 

Format and Structure of a Letter & Application  

Letter Format Application Format

A letter's format typically comprises the date, the sender's address, the recipient's address, a greeting, the letter's body, a closure, and the sender's signature. A letter's structure is frequently informal and less formal than an application's.

The following is a general guide on letter format and structure:

  • Heading

This section contains the sender's full name, address, city, state, zip code, and date. 

  • Salutation

The salutation section contains greetings for the recipient of the letter. Based on the relationship between sender and receiver, salutations vary. Salutations begin with "Dear" and are followed by the recipient's name. If the sender is unsure about the recipient's name, the sender can start with "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern."

  • Body

The body section contains the central theme or purpose of the letter. Here the sender explains the purpose and includes essential information in an easy-to-understand manner. They are sometimes followed by key points to express the desired outcome that the sender expects from the recipient. 

  • Closing

The closing section expresses appreciation, goodwill, or well wishes, such as "Sincerely" or "Best Regards," followed by name and signature.

  • Footer

In this section, the sender includes their phone number and email address. 

An application format usually contains a header, personal information, education and job background, skills and qualifications, references, and a conclusion.

Here's a quick guide on the format of an application.

  • Heading

This section contains the sender's full name, address, city, state, zip code, and date.

  • Introduction

This section contains concise and clear explanations of your application and expectations from this opportunity. 

  • Personal Information

In this section, applicants usually introduce themselves. 

  • Education and Work Experience

This section contains applicants' education and work experience, listing their professional history, skills, accomplishments, or certifications that might help them stand out.

  • Skill and Abilities

This section is the follow-up section of the previous section. This section contains specific skills and abilities relevant to the position they are applying for. 

  • Additional Information

This section contains information such as references.

  • Conclusion

This section includes a summary of about applicant's personality, why they are best fit for the position, and why they are interested in the opportunity. After this brief overview, the applicant expresses gratitude in this section and ends the application. 

Key Differences between the Letter and Application

Context Letter Application
Purpose To convey personal information, thoughts, feelings, or casual communication. To use officially for a job, loan, or any other specific opportunity.
Tone Its more informal, personal, and expressive Its official, more formal, and business-like
Format It follows standard business letter format, with a heading, date, salutation It follows a structured format with formal salutations and sections for specific qualifications and skills.
Content It focuses on a single topic and expresses personal thoughts such as congratulations, wishes, etc Typically includes detailed information about the candidate, such as personal and contact information, school and job experience, skills and talents, and other pertinent information.

When to Use a Letter and an Application

Writing a letter or application depends on various factors and purposes of the communication, including the recipient.

Use a letter when:

  • You wish to convey thanks, congratulations, or sympathy.
  • You must seek information or support.
  • You'd like to make a suggestion or provide a reference.
  • You are conversing informally with someone with whom you have a personal or professional relationship.

Use an application when:

  • You're looking for a job, a loan, or another opportunity.
  • You must offer detailed information about yourself and your qualifications.
  • The organization with whom you are communicating necessitates a disciplined and official approach.

Common Types of Letters

  • Cover Letter

When applying for a job, a cover letter is usually sent with the CV or application. It's your chance to introduce yourself, explain why you're interested in the position, and highlight your qualifications.

  • Recommendation Letter

A recommendation letter is prepared by someone familiar to the receiver, such as a teacher, boss, or employee. It is frequently used to support a job application or to demonstrate the recipient's qualifications or character.

A letter of apology is written to show regret or remorse for a mistake or error. It is frequently used to mend relationships or to restore damage caused by mistakes.

  • Thank-You Letter

A thank-you letter is one written to show gratitude or appreciation for something. It is frequently used to express gratitude for a present, a favor, or an act of compassion.

A congratulatory letter is written to express congratulations or well wishes. It is frequently used to commemorate a significant event, such as a graduation, a promotion, or a wedding.

Common Types of Applications

Applications are frequently used to apply for specific opportunities or services, and the following are some common types of applications:

  • Job Application

A job application is a form used to apply for a position. It usually includes information about the applicant's education, work experience, abilities, and qualifications.

  • Loan Application

A loan application is a form that is used to request a loan. It usually contains the applicant's earnings, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

  • School Application

A school application is a form used to apply for school entrance. It usually contains information about the applicant's academic background, exam scores, and extracurricular activities.

  • Grant Application

A grant application is a form used for funding from a foundation or another source. It usually contains details on the applicant's project idea and budget.

Tips for Writing Effective Letters and Applications

It is critical to be brief, straightforward, and to the point while writing a letter or an application. Here are some pointers to help you write better letters and applications:

  • Make it clear what the letter or application is for.
  • Maintain a professional tone and avoid slang or colloquial words.
  • Use bullet points or brief paragraphs to make the text easier to read.
  • Highlight your skills and achievements, and explain why you are the ideal candidate for the position or opportunity.
  • Thoroughly proofread the letter or application for typos or errors.

Key Points

  • To write excellent letters and applications, tailor your message to the recipient and purpose, and adopt a precise and professional tone.
  • Check for mistakes and adhere to the receiver's special instructions or recommendations.
  • Whether you're writing a cover letter, a job application, or a school application, it's critical to put your best foot forward and successfully explain your qualifications and interest.

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