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.
A great resume will get you not-rejected, a great cover letter will get you hired. - DHH, Founder of Basecamp
The cover letter. Not since the resume have words struck so much confusion and fear into the hearts of job seekers. The cover letter is for some employers, more important than the resume. It is the other half of the 1-2 punch of the resume/cover letter combination.
That’s why we(VisualCV) have included our best cover letter examples below for you to submit with your cv, email or resume. We recently updated our examples for 2017 so whether your looking for a cover letter example for a job application or for an internship, our examples can be adapted for your particluar situation.
We’re hoping to add more categories such as examples for students, engineering, interns, retail, customer service, nursing, teachers, sales and receptionists but our existing examples below should help a lot with crafting the perfect cover letter.
A cover letter isn’t black magic - it is writing a few paragraphs that tell an employer exactly why you are the right person for the job.
The formal cover letter - A PDF attached to the job application with a classic 4 paragraph layout - is quickly becoming obsolete. However, it is being replaced by the “introductory email.” A short note explaining to the hiring manager or recruiter why you are the perfect fit. I use the term cover letter interchangeably with introductory email in this article.
A good cover letter is a marketing pitch - it draws the reader in, and encourages them to read more. We’ve compiled all of the best cover letters on the internet and from our own personal network.
Copying these cover letters will not be effective for you. A cover letter/intro email is a personal document that depends on the employer, the target contact, and your own skillset. If you’re a very qualified candidate - a short sentence can suffice. If you’re a young, ambitious recent graduate - you might need more real estate to sell yourself.
We have compiled various examples below that you can use as inspiration for your next cover letter.
Design cover letters
Design cover letters should focus on the things that matter most when it comes to design. Namely, the designs. However, a good designer needs to communicate well as they will be working with different members of company teams, or external clients. Design cover letters should also of course link to an online portfolio or project that shows their skill. Here are some great examples of design cover letters.
Cover letter for a product designer at Crew
This is a perfect introductory email. It takes the tone of the job post in question, and matches the company vibe. It then outlines Luke’s passion for the position, and that he studies his craft extensively. He also includes links to his online portfolio/resume. You can view the full cover letter, and more examples at the blog post by Michael Cho of Crew at the following blog post: Why I didn’t look at your resume.
Cover letter for a design director at 37 Signals
This cover letter matches 37 Signals Philosophy nicely. It explains Jamie’s beliefs about design, and why he is unique compared to other designers. He also made a sample work project to share with the team. You can view the full cover letter at the following link.
Cover letter for a graphic designer at 37 Signals
This online cover letter has a nice balance of explaining who Jason is, what he know about the company (and why he is passionate about working for them), and his skills. The full letter can be found here.
Customer support cover letters
The key to a customer support role is a great personality and communication skills. The cover letter is an opportunity to first express those communication skills to your next employer. Note that these letters vary in tone, from professional to more casual. The applicant must make the judgement call based on what they know about the company.
Cover letter for a customer happiness concierge
Marlee’s cover letter gets the tone right - you can tell she is a happy, personable, and effective person. She outlines why her past experience makes her a great fit for the job, and her personal habits that will ensure her success in the role. The full cover letter can be found here.
Cover letter for a Director of Customer Care
This is an expert from a blog post from the CEO at LiveStream, who said it was the best cover letter he has ever received. It is funny, honest, and confident. Note the applicant takes a few risks with the language and tone - but clearly understands his audience. You can read the full cover letter (along with the job description), at this link.
Cover letter for customer support
This cover letter gets to the point, and shows deep understanding of what a customer support role is. As it clearly states, “customers want to communicate with a human” - it is clear there is a human behind this letter. View the full letter here.
Cover letter for customer support
Jason clearly shows his writing skills and passion for the job in this cover letter.
Cover letters for community management positions must understand what a community manager role is. To be a successful community manager, one must be a great communicator, an enthusiastic personality, and a dialed-in social media guru. Here are the best examples of community manager cover letters we found.
Cover letter for a community manager
The tone perfectly matches the company that Joanne is applying for. It outlines her enthusiasm, passion, and how her past experience applies to the job.
Cover letter for a web developer
This cover letter shows that an effective introductory email doesn’t have to be long. It efficiently lays out the skills that Thomas has, and piques the company’s interest about what he can bring to the table. In a hot market for engineers, this is enough to get the interview. It is also from Mikael’s article.
Cover letter for a front-end developer
This cover letter is also for Mikael Cho’s company, Crew . It emphasizes links to Dan’s portfolio and best work - very important for a web developer.
Cover letter for a marketing position at google
For creative positions, a creative cover letter is necessary. This cover letter mirrored the marketing materials at Google, and got the interview. View the full article here.
Sales & business development
Cover letter for a business development/product specialist
Rodolphe shows how persistence and hard work can convince an employer to hire you in this cover letter to work at Buffer - a fast growing social media management platform. The full exchange is worth reading on the Buffer Blog.
Cover letter for a sales coordinator
This cover letter for a sales coordinator position is closer to a traditional cover letter than the other examples. It does a fine job of outlining experience and passion for the job. View a full before-and-after analysis of this cover letter on the Ask a Manager Blog.
Remember, the key to a good cover letter is personalization. You must market to your audience. Do the research, write well - and go get hired!
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