Sending an Email Cover Letter
Most resumes are transmitted these days by email. Paper resumes are used at interviews or upon request by recruiters. But what about cover letters?
When you send your resume by email, the content of the email itself serves as the cover letter and will be the first thing a prospective employer will read about you. It is your first impression.
Yikes! That is a lot of pressure.
It is important to take your time while writing an email cover letter and pay attention to the details of the job description you are applying for.
Your cover letter should explain a little more about you, or why you are so perfect for this job, or to add context to your application, you are filling in the blanks for the recipient.
Even if you have a strong resume or CV, a poor cover letter will not get the phone to ring. A good cover letter WILL create an inquiry.
What should an email cover letter contain?
Due to the nature of email communications it is necessary to be succinct and to the point in your communications. As mentioned above, hiring managers do not want to read long email messages before opening the attached resume.
When emailing your resume in response to an online posting or advertisement, you should always reference the job title and position number (if one is given) in the subject area of the email.
Do not use the word “specialist” in the subject area or other words that may be subject to spam filtering. (“Specialist” will get filtered out because of the word ‘cialis’ that appears in the middle).
Do not get cute with subject lines like “I’m the one your are searching for!”
Keep it professional.
The subject line should include something like this:
Application for [insert job title/reference #]
The Body of an Email Cover Letter
In the body, reference where you saw the ad (such as Monster or Career Builder, etc.) and give three fast, hard sentences that describe why you are qualified for the position. When coming up with these sentences refer to the job ad. Most job ads have two sections of required qualifications – the ones that are ‘must haves’ and the ones that are ‘we’d like to have’. If you have all the “must have” requirements, note that in a sentence such as “I meet all the requirements of your core qualifications including…” Use the other two sentences to detail any of the “would like to have” requirements.
You should also note the best ways to get in touch with your during the business day in the body of the email. If you are conducting a confidential job search, be sure to note that so the prospective employer will not contact you at work. Provide a cell phone number (personal, not provided by your employer) and a good time to call. If you prefer to be contacted only at home, state that.
Closing an Email Cover Letter
Thank the reader and provide your complete name and contact information in the closing. Remember, email is not expected or desired to be wordy communication. Keep it brief, to the point, and polite. Be upbeat and positive in your tone. Tone is one of the most difficult things to communicate in an email so you should be very careful in crafting your words.
The key to an email cover letter is brevity and relevance of information. Keep it short and to the point while maintaining polite tone and communicating confidence.
A good email cover letter should:
- Introduce you
- Convey what job you are applying for
- Quickly and succinctly state why and how you are qualified for the job (in 3 sentences)
- Include your contact information
- Be professional
- Should be long enough to include the proper information, but short enough so the reader will read the entire thing.
A good email cover letter should NOT:
- Use casual language
- Be vague or unclear as to the job you are applying for or your qualifications
- Contain slang, jokes or other unprofessional words
- Assume that you know you the person who is reading it (unless of course you do, but it should then still be professional)
- Be long and rambling
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