The best writers strive to achieve a style that is so clear that their messages cannot be misunderstood. One way to achieve a clear style is to minimize your use of the passive voice. Although the passive voice is sometimes necessary, often it not only makes your writing dull but also can be ambiguous or overly impersonal. Here’s an example of the same point stated in passive voice and in the active voice: PASSIVE: The net benefits of subsidiary divestiture were grossly overestimated. ACTIVE: The Global Finance Team grossly overestimated the net benefits of subsidiary divestiture.
When writing an application letter, remember that you probably have competition. Your audience is a professional who screens and hires job applicants—someone who may look through dozens or even hundreds of other applications on the day she receives yours. The immediate objective of your application letter and accompanying resume is to attract this person’s attention. Your ultimate goal is to obtain an interview. As you write your application letter, be sure you complete three tasks: catch the reader’s attention favorably, convince the reader that you are a qualified candidate for the job, and request an interview.