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
An email cover letter has to grab the reader's attention quickly in order to be effective. In-boxes are full of emails that need to be read so get across your main points promptly and powerfully.
Quickly convince the reader of your suitability for the job opportunity by using a powerful subject line in your email.
This will make the difference between getting your resume read or relegated to the database. Avoid bland subject lines such as Joe Black's Resume.
Get the employer's attention by following these simple steps.
How to get the reader's attention
- a subject line which is factual and persuasive - include the job title and job posting number and a selling point - "Job #4536 Bookkeeper - 8 years with Fortune 500 company"
- clearly state your purpose in the first couple of sentences
- summarize your strengths, skills and expertise as they relatedirectly to the job opportunity
- persuade the reader to continue on to your resume
- use an easy-to-read font and keep the formatting simple
- proofread and spell check your message
- keep your email cover letter to one screen view
Email Cover Letter - Sample 1
Subject Line: Sales Associate Job #1234 - 10 Years Experience
Dear Mr Green
I read with enthusiasm your opening for a Sales Associate on XYZ site. I am confident that my 10 years experience as a sales professional in ABC industry with a successful track record of meeting and exceeding sales objectives makes me an excellent match for this position.
Detailed on my attached resume you will find that over the last X years I generated more than $X in sales and achieved an average of X% sales growth. My experience in new and key account acquisition, new territory development and the planning and implementation of customer loyalty strategies will contribute to the success of DEF Corporation.
My resume demonstrates that I am well qualified to lead the entire sales cycle management process from client consultations and needs assessment through demonstrations, negotiations and final sales closings.
I believe that I will be a valuable asset to your team if given this opportunity and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Subject Line: Legal Secretary Job #S123 - 6 Years at Top Law Firm
Dear Ms Drone
I am responding with enthusiasm to your job posting on XYZ.com for a legal secretary. I believe my extensive experience and skills in this field are an excellent match for the job.
The attached resume demonstrates my competence to interact capably with clients from point of referral, efficiently draft and process legal documents and correspondence, co-ordinate multiple case loads and assist with complex case preparation.
I am a motivated and hard working professional with solid legal practice skills and knowledge and a reputation for accurately and efficiently meeting strict deadlines in a challenging environment.
I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about the position and find out how I can contribute to the success of your firm.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Find a full list of cover letter samples for different jobs. Adapt these for your own use.
Basic Cover Letter
Cold Contact Email Cover Letter
Should I submit an email cover letter if the posting only asks for a resume?
You can copy and paste your cover letter into the body of the email as your message and include your resume as an attachment.
Keep your cover letter short and simple as the reader will not want to invest a lot of time in going through your email. It is better to include a brief cover letter as an introduction rather than simply stating "I have attached my resume for your consideration".
How should an email cover letter be sent?
If you are responding to an advertisement make sure you follow the employer's instructions on submitting your cover letter and resume.
If you are asked to include your letter and resume as an attachment use MS Word or Adobe. Avoid HTML as the email the employer uses may not be able to open this.
If they ask for the email cover letter and resume to be included in the message and not an attachment, copy and paste them into the body of your email.
A good tip is to send the email to someone you know first to check that your formatting works properly.
If it looks fine then you can send it to the employer.
Should I address the cover letter to an individual?
It is always better to address correspondence to a name rather than a title. Job postings often don't list the name of the person to contact and only give an email address.
Do a bit of research to find out the name of the person receiving the emails. For example firstname.lastname@example.org indicates the name of the company is Bakers Biscuits and the clue for the contact person is "mardev".
For example, you notice that there is a Mary Devon who is Head of Human Resources. This is your contact person and you can begin your email message with Dear Ms Devon. Immediately you stand out from the crowd.
When should I follow up on my submission?
It is important to find out the status of your job application. If the job posting does not have a close date you can wait about a week after sending your resume before following up.
If there is a close date then wait for about a week after that date before following up. For tips and help on resume follow up, plus a sample follow up email.
Cover Letter and Job Search Resources
How to Create a Cover Letter
Powerful Phrases to Close a Cover Letter
Networking Cover Letter
Cover Letters for Employment
Cover Letter Formats
Cover Letter TemplateLetter of Intent for Employment
Develop a powerful cover letter using these job search resources.
Job Interviews > Sample Cover Letters > Email Cover Letter
Use the search box to find exactly what you are looking for.
To Top of Page