Email Job Application

Email Job Application

job application

New Idioms are “Cover letter” and “Team player.” The Grammar focus is on Ellipsis.

Jim: “Can you show me how to write a cover letter?”
Gabriel: “Sure, no problem. Who are you writing?”
Jim: “That bank on the corner. I just want a teller position.”
Gabriel: “Okay, are you attaching your CV to the letter?”
Jim: “I can do that.”
Gabriel: “So those are your qualifications. You also need to show them you are a team player.”
Jim: “I can say that.”
Gabriel: “And you’re available any time for an interview.”
Jim: “Okay, I’ll write out the first draft for that.”
Gabriel: “Perfect. Then we can pick it apart.”


Cover letter is a letter sent with other documents (resume or CV) as an introduction or summary. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Team player means someone who works well in a team or group. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Pick apart means to find the flaws in something by close examination, intense analysis. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Ellipsis

“That bank on the corner.” This scaled-down version of the full sentence demonstrates ellipsis, which permeates all informal conversation. The full sentence would be “I am writing to that bank on the corner,” but here the subject and verb are dropped, as already understood.


Friends discuss job applications by email. The Grammar focus is on Imperatives.

Nairi: “I don’t know how to write these things.”
Badu: “The first rule is to relax. You can always edit and rewrite.”
Nairi: “But what do they want? There’s a desired format, isn’t there?”
Badu: “This is an email, so skip the header. Put their info there — name, title, company and address. And then Dear Hiring Manager, and I use a colon. So you saw their open position wherever and you’re interested, and your resume is attached.”
Nairi: “But I start with why I’m qualified for the job?”
Badu: “Yes, second paragraph your experience and say something you know about their company, and therefore why the company’s goals and your own are a perfect match. Confident but low-key. Short and sweet. You can mention something about your personality too, showing that you are a team player.”
Nairi: “Okay, and how to sign off?”
Badu: “You appreciate their time in reviewing your application and look forward to meeting with them.”
Nairi: “And then Sincerely Yours?”
Badu: “Yes, or Best Regards, a space and then your printed name and contact information, like phone number and email address.”
Nairi: “That seems easy as pie.”
Badu: “It is easy, but the devil is always in the details.”
Nairi: “What else?”
Badu: “We can check the formatting afterwards.”


Low-key means modest and restrained, not exhibiting much energy and enthusiasm. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Short and sweet means succinct, brief and to the point. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Team player means someone who works well in a team or group. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Sign off means to stop talking, announce the end of a communication. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Look forward to means to eagerly anticipate. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Easy as pie means not difficult, capable of being done with no difficulty. See online Idioms Dictionary.
The devil is in the details is a proverb which means the details of a matter are its trickiest or most problematic aspect. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Imperatives

Our imperatives in the dialogue are:
Skip the header,”
Put their info there,” and
Say something you know . . .

There is also an imperative substitution in “You can mention something about your personality too . . .” In this last case, the modal auxiliary “can” has been inserted to soften the command to mention something.

There are three moods in English, the declarative (or indicative), interrogative, and imperative. Imperatives are tenseless, as can easily be demonstrated, and most do not have an overt subject. This latter characteristic seems to defy the rule of English grammar that all sentences must have a subject, for their basic format is S-V-O (subject-verb-object). In fact, imperatives do have a subject, but it is usually suppressed. It is called the “understood you” by traditional linguists and grammarians.

Imperatives are often but not always used when there is a status difference between speaker and listener such that the speaker may issue a command and see it followed. But if I tell someone “Love my cat,” there is not necessarily a status difference that empowers me to make that command. But it is still an imperative sentence.

Negative imperatives are more complicated than affirmative, but since our dialogue does not contain any, we will set that aside for now. One special kind of imperative is called a diffuse imperative, as it is directed at anyone and everyone present: “Somebody bring the car around to the front!” Obviously this would be inappropriate if there were only one person present besides the speaker.

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