IELTS General Writing Task 1: Job application letter

Model answer for General Writing Task 1 IELTS

A letter to your boss about a job application.

As mentioned before in my previous posts about IELTS general writing task 1, there are 2 styles for letters. Formal and Informal. Click here to see the differences between IELTS academic task 1 and the General Test. In this lesson, I will look at a letter applying for a job. The style here will be formal because it is a letter to a company.


When you are given a task question there are 3 points to cover. These points will be written about in the body paragraphs. At the start of the letter you should give a reason for why you are writing. This is usually one sentence.

You need to analyse the task question first to make sure you are writing the right kind of letter and covering the key points. If you do not clearly cover all 3 bullet points you could lose a Band score in Task response. I advise about 4 minutes planning your ideas here. You have only 20 minutes to write the letter.

At the end of the letter, especially in formal writing, you should have a sentence such as :

  • ‘I look forward to hearing from you again soon’

  • I look forward to your reply’ … (or something similar)

Aim for about 170 to 180 words in this task, the minimum is 150 words. Always check your letter for mistakes after writing. Spelling and punctuation are marked in the Grammar criteria.

ielts general letter structure

Task question

You are applying for a job and need a reference. Write a letter to the boss in your former job. In your letter:

• Give details of the job
• Explain why it is important to you
• Suggest what information your ex-boss could put in the reference.


Model answer

Dear Mr Evans,

I am writing this letter to request a reference from my time at your company.

The company I am hoping to join is connected to NASA and develops software for the international space station. The role consists of developing software that controls the airflow system in the space station. I will have to use my previous skills with Unix to write programs. Additionally, I am expected to work in a team of 20 people to resolve software issues in the filtration systems in the capsules.

The job which I am applying for is my dream job. As you know, I have always wanted to get a position related to space development and computer systems, so this is very important for my career.

I would like to kindly request that you include information about my previous duties which relate directly to this new role. Furthermore, would it be possible to mention my previous success with software development? I would be very grateful if you could put these in the reference.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Sincerely,
David Smith

182 words


• Give details of the job – I covered this in paragraph one, I mentioned the type of company and what my duties are going to be. I added extra information about working in a team and other duties. In this paragraph, I have used the future tense ‘ expected to’ and ‘will’ because I have not yet started working there.

• Explain why it is important to you – The second paragraph, which is only 2 sentences, covers my reasons for wanting to join the new company.

• Suggest what information your ex-boss could put in the reference – In the third paragraph I have explained this using ‘I would like to kindly request…’ this is a polite formal request. I have also added extra information of what I require. I ended with the phrase  ‘ I would be very grateful if you could…’   again, this is a formal request and it is polite language.

You must begin with a ‘salutation’ something like Dear Mr Smith or Dear Ms Jones etc..

Always end a formal letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’ or if you don’t know the name of the person write ‘Yours Faithfully’. You can also use the phrase ‘Kind Regardsin a formal letter.

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