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.
We discussed the importance of creating an email cover letter in our previous post, Five Steps to a Standout Resume Email, and thought would be helpful to our job-seeking readers to provide some examples to use as a starting point for your next email cover letter.
The examples below come from real-life job seeker emails, although we’ve altered the details and contact information. Whether you prefer a “salesy” approach or you’re more of a “direct and to the point” kind of person, choose the template that suits your style. Just be sure to include these key elements in your email cover letter.
- Mention the title of the position you’re applying for in the subject line and body of your email.
- Explain where you found the job posting or how you heard about the position.
- Conclude with a subtle call to action to remind the hiring manager of the action you’d like them to take, such as, “I look forward to hearing from you.”
- List your full name and contact information in your email signature block (not just on your resume attachment).
- If applicable, quickly explain any questions that your resume may raise. For example, if you’re from out of town but planning to move close to the job location, or you’ve been at your current position for only a short time.
Email Cover Letter Examples for Legal Professionals
Example #1: If you prefer to keep it brief.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am interested in the Litigation Associate position advertised on LinkedIn. I have attached my resume and cover letter for your review.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Example #2: If you’re relocating to the city where the job opportunity is located.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to express my interest in the Litigation Secretary position listed on Monster.com. My resume is attached for your review and consideration.
I am a fast learner, very dependable, organized, and computer savvy. I have extensive experience assisting firm attorneys and multiple paralegals, as well as supervising and managing an office. While I currently reside in Los Angeles, I will be moving to San Francisco at the end of the month.
I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you to learn more about your firm, its plans and goals, and how I might contribute to its continued success. I can be your ideal candidate if given this opportunity. Thank you.
Example #3: If a colleague referred you.
I was referred to you by a mutual acquaintance, John Smith, who said you have an opening for a litigation secretary. I have many years of experience as a litigation secretary, most of them working with managing partners. I am a professional looking for a career, not just a job. I am organized, reliable and self-motivated. I like being part of a team, but can also work independently.
Included with this e-mail is a copy of my resume for your review and consideration. Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please contact me if you have any questions or to arrange an interview. I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
Thank you for your time,
Example # 4: If you’ve been at your current position for less than one year.
Please allow this introduction. My name is Jane Smith, and I have 12 years of legal secretarial experience working with managing partners of small, mid- and large-sized law firms. My current typing speed is 105 wpm from written form and 120 wpm from live dictation with the utmost accuracy. I am interested in the Litigation Secretary position advertised on your firm’s website.
I am currently working for a small civil litigation firm. However, after only 11 months in this position, the financial stability of the firm has significantly changed. Therefore I am seeking long-term tenure with a stable civil litigation firm.
Attached please find my resume and list of references. If you are interested in the professional skills and positive attributes I can contribute to your firm, please contact me at [phone number] at your convenience to schedule an interview.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Example #5: If you want to be dazzle the hiring manager with your qualifications.
Dear Recruiting Administrator:
Do you need a hardworking, creative and conscientious paralegal to meet your firm’s needs? If so, I can help you. The following is a summary of my qualifications:
- More than ten years of progressively responsible legal experience;
- Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Business Administration;
- Exceptional verbal, written and analytical skills;
- Advanced computer skills;
- Outgoing personality and “can-do” attitude.
I would like to meet with you to discuss how I might assist your firm in fulfilling its present needs. My resume is enclosed for your review. If you need someone who is highly motivated, eager to learn, and willing to work hard to succeed, please contact me at [phone] or via e-mail: [email].
Thank you for your time and consideration,
These examples are meant to be a starting point only – add your own voice, style and experience to make your own standout (or at least solid) email cover letter.
Categories: Career Advancement
September 18, 2013
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