8 tips for better email cover letters
If you're emailing a resume, your cover letter will deliver the first impression. These eight tips will help you craft a better email cover letter.
Follow these tips for emailing a cover letter that will get you noticed.
As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. If you're doing a job search or resume submission via email, the first impression any employer will have is from your cover letter.
When you're asked to email your job application to a company, you can either copy and paste your cover letter into the body of your email, or you can attach it as a file, along with your resume. If you send your cover letter as an attachment, you can send it as either a PDF file or Word document. Here's what else you should you consider when crafting an email cover letter.
How should a cover letter look?
Some tips for writing a cover letter are standard, whether you're e-mailing or snail mailing: Be professional, with correct spelling and grammar, and—very important—do use them. (Here are some cover letter samples if you'd like to get a visual idea.) Other tips pertain only to the electronic medium, and when disregarded, could ruin your chances before your foot is in the door.
Don't waste your subject line
What you write in the subject line can determine whether your letter gets read, according to Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert and author of Manners That Sell. "Don't ever leave the subject line of your email blank, and don't waste it by just inserting the job number," Ramsey says. "The subject line should be clear and specific to the job you're looking for." An example: "Bilingual CPA seeks account manager position."
Use standard cover letter protocol
Write your letter as the body of the email and include a salutation (use the receiver's actual name if you know it) and a standard closing. ("Sincerely" or "Warm regards" work well.) Leave blank lines between paragraphs, and use appropriate signature and closing lines.
Include all the information in your signature line you would have on your business card, including snail mail address, phone number and email address. "Remember, your email address doesn't always automatically show up on the receiver's email program," Ramsey says.
Keep it short and dynamic
Managers and recruiters are busy. They want to get the gist of your pitch in 150 words or fewer. The first paragraph is crucial, according to Ramsey. "Hook the reader in the first paragraph by selling him or her your abilities," she says. "Use short paragraphs and short sentences to give a very brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them, and wrap it up in the second paragraph."
Keep it simple
If you write a cover letter in a word-processing program, strip away all formatting and save the file as plain text. The ideal line length is 40 characters. Some email packages automatically do word wrap for you, so your cover letter doesn't arrive in fragments.
Don't get cute. Save emoticons, abbreviations, and wild colors and fonts for your nonprofessional emails. The same goes for humor. Chances are, the reader won't think it's funny, and may even find it irritating.
Don't respond to an ad for a copywriter when you're really a graphic designer, says Diana Qasabian, talent director at Syndicatebleu. "It may be the tight job market, but we've been receiving more and more letters responding to a specific job from candidates who are not at all qualified for it," she says.
"We look for specifics in email cover letters, which means skills and abilities," she adds. "Embellishment and fluff are not necessary. It's not necessary to write, 'I'm a hard worker.' That goes without saying."
Keywords are key
Because many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSes) to find and screen candidates, skill-oriented keywords will boost your chance at being discovered, a recruiter at a large technology company says.
"ATS tools track keywords that identify skill sets," she says. "So even if you're not right for the job you're seeking, strong keywords improve the chance that your cover letter and resume will be retrieved in a future search or be selected for a more appropriate job."
Play by their rules
Take the time to learn the company guidelines for submitting resumes, and follow them. Many companies list these guidelines on their Web sites. Also, don't include attachments unless they are requested. Some companies block all emails with attachments to prevent viruses.
Check it again
Thoroughly spell-check and proofread your email letter. And remember, your email software's spell-checker won't catch grammar mistakes. Send it to a friend first and ask him to check it for content and style. If all your friends are tapped out, or even if they aren't, test your email cover letter by emailing it to yourself, and put yourself in the mindset of an employer when you read it.
Get recruiters' attention
Once your cover letter is polished and ready to go, make sure you get maximum use from it. After all, it'll do you no good just sitting on your computer. You need to get your cover letter in front of the people who are doing the hiring. Could you use some help getting their attention? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five resumes and cover letters—each tailored to the different kinds of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you.
Email Cover Letter Sample and Tips
Writing a hard copy cover letter is becoming less of the norm these days. This is because, more than ever, people are sending job application materials through job websites or via email. This includes submitting resumes and cover letters online.
When asked to submit your job materials (such as your resume and any other related documents) as an email attachment, the email itself acts as your cover letter.
See below for an example of an email cover letter, and tips for how to write it and what to include your message. Here are some tips on how to write and send a quality email cover letter.
Use a Professional Email Address
First, before you start drafting your letter, make sure your email address is professional. Along with the subject line, your email address is the first thing the employer will see – it is your first impression.
If you are using an informal address that you created years ago like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, it may be a good idea to open a new account specifically for communication between you and hiring companies. Get a new professional address that includes your first and last name, if possible.
State Your Name and the Job in the Subject
In the subject line of the email, clearly state the position you are applying for and also include your name. This way, the hiring manager will know, at a glance, that you are writing to apply for a job.
With a clear subject line, the employer is more likely to read the email. Also be sure to proofread your subject line before sending the email – a typo in the subject line is not a good first impression, and might lead to your email being deleted!
Start With a Greeting
If possible, greet a particular person in your letter.
Figuring out the recipient may be as easy as reading the name on the email address in which you are sending your resume. If it isn’t that obvious, double check the job listing to see if a name is mentioned. You can also check the company website (see if there is a directory or list of staff members), or call the company and ask the administrative assistant for help. If none of this works, you can use a greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager.”
What to Include in the Email Message
An email cover letter includes pretty much the same content as a hard copy cover letter, with a few optional additions. Start your letter by expressing your interest in the job opening, and mention the job title by name. Follow this with some of your previous experience that will show the reader that you are qualified for the position.
Focus on specific examples when explaining that you have certain qualities or skills. Make sure all of the information you include is directly related to the job for which you are applying. Do not be afraid to brag a little bit about your accomplishments; this is the time to “sell” yourself to them.
A benefit to sending your cover letter by email is the ability to attach URLs within the body of your message.
For example, if you are applying for a technology driven position like a web designer, freelance writer, or software developer, you can insert links to work you have done in the past. Nothing shows what a good fit you will be for the job like real life examples of what you can do.
Close With a Thank You and Signature
Finally, close your email cover letter with a thank you and express your readiness to meet the hiring manager in person for an interview. You might also want to add that your resume is attached to the email (if this is the case).
Then, include a closing (such as “Best” or “Sincerely”) and your full name. Underneath your name, include an email signature. This is something you can set up on your email account. It appears at the bottom of every email you send, and includes important contact details, such as your email address and phone number.
It might also include your full address, employment information, or a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Attach Your Resume (Unless Told Otherwise)
Attach your resume to your email message in the format requested by the employer. If a specific format isn't required, send it as a PDF or Word document. Of course, do not do this if the employer specifically tells you to submit your resume in some other way (such as through a website or via mail).
Sample Email Cover Letter With Resume Attached
Subject Line of Email Message: Communications Director Position - Your Name
Dear Hiring Manager,
I read your job posting for a Communications Director with interest. I am confident that my ten years of experience in communications in both the private and public sector make me an ideal fit for the position.
In my position as Communications Director for XYZ Company, I wrote articles for the company website, managed guest author submissions, and wrote and sent a weekly email newsletter to subscribers. I received consistent praise from the director for my attention to detail and clear, straightforward writing style.
While Assistant Communications Director for Assemblyperson Susan Smith, I researched, drafted and amended legislation, wrote press releases, and was responsible for office communications and correspondence.
I also have extensive experience writing on a freelance basis on labor issues, which, I believe, would be an ideal match for this position. Articles are available for your review at:
Additional writing samples and my resume are attached. If I can provide you with any further information on my background and qualifications, please let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.