An email cover letter is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself, highlight your qualifications, and explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job. Here are a few pointers to help you craft an effective email cover letter:
- Subject Line: Your subject line should clearly indicate the purpose of your email. Mention the job title you’re applying for and your full name, e.g., “Marketing Manager Application – Jane Doe.”
- Salutation: Address the hiring manager by their name, if possible. If you don’t know their name, a simple “Dear Hiring Manager” will suffice.
- Introduction: In the opening paragraph, you should mention the job title you’re applying for, where you found the job posting, and a brief introduction of yourself.
- Body: The body of your email cover letter should elaborate on your qualifications and experiences that are relevant to the job. Focus on showcasing your skills, achievements, and how you can contribute to the company’s success. Be sure to tailor your content to the specific job and company, demonstrating that you’ve done your research.
- Closing: Wrap up your email cover letter by thanking the hiring manager for considering your application. Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position.
- Signature: Sign off with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your full name, email address, and phone number.
One more tip: as email systems can sometimes strip out formatting or not display it consistently, it’s best to stick to simple formatting options, such as bold text, bullet points, and clear paragraph breaks. If you want to include additional information, such as your resume, consider attaching it as a PDF file to ensure consistent formatting across different devices and email platforms.
Key Elements of a Cover Letter
Subject line Essentials
Your email cover letter should start with a compelling subject line that quickly grabs the recipient’s attention, especially since it’s competing with other emails in their inbox. Keep your subject line concise, clear, and informative. For example, you could use a format like: “Marketing Coordinator Application – Jane Smith” or “Re: Job Application for Graphic Designer (Job ID: 12345)”. Tailor your subject line to the company and position, so the recipient can easily identify your message’s purpose.
Email Signature and Contact Information
An email signature is an essential part of creating a professional presence in your email cover letter. Your email signature should include your full name, phone number, and any relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile or online portfolio. This makes it easy for the recipient to contact you regarding your application. For example:
Jane Smith Phone: 123-456-7890 LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/janesmith Portfolio: janesmithportfolio.com
The Importance of Professional Email Address
A professional email address sets a good first impression and shows that you’re serious about your job search. Avoid using email addresses that are unprofessional or include personal information. Stick to a simple format like email@example.com or variations that include your first initial and last name.
Selecting the Right File Name
When attaching your resume or other documents, choose a file name that clearly identifies the content and includes your name. This makes it easy for hiring managers to locate your documents among numerous other files. For example, “JaneSmith_Resume.pdf” or “CoverLetter_JohnDoe.docx” are appropriate file names.
Understanding File Types
Submitting your documents in the appropriate file format ensures that they’re easily accessible and readable by the recipient. The most commonly accepted file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf. It’s a good idea to stick to these formats unless the job posting specifies otherwise. In most cases, PDF files are preferred as they maintain consistent formatting across different devices and platforms.
How To Create an Effective Cover Letter
Creating the Greeting
Begin your cover letter with a formal yet friendly greeting. Address the hiring manager by name if possible; you can find this information from the job posting, company website, or LinkedIn. If the manager’s name is unattainable, go for general but professional salutations such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
Describing Your Experience and Skills
Showcase your relevant experience in the opening paragraph of your cover letter. Briefly pinpoint the role you’re applying for and how your background aligns with the position. Avoid regurgitating your resume; instead, focus on what unique skills make you the perfect candidate for the job.
As you describe your skills, use clear and concise language. Structure this section with bullet points to make it easy for the employer to read and digest:
- Skill 1: Why it’s relevant
- Skill 2: How it’ll benefit the company
- Skill 3: Examples of how you’ve used it before
Detailing Your Achievements
Next, outline your most significant and relevant achievements. These can include promotions, academic success, or other awards. Focus on accomplishments that display your skills, strategic thinking, and leadership capabilities. Use data to back up your claims – incorporate specific numbers and percentages indicating how you made a difference in your previous positions.
Following the Employer’s Instructions
Carefully read the job posting and any instructions provided by the employer when crafting your cover letter. If they ask for specific formatting or mention certain keywords, comply with their requests. You demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to assimilate by following their instructions.
Optimizing the Closing Examples
A strong closing further supports your candidacy and invites the employer to take further action. Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and express your desire to contribute to the company’s success:
Example 1: “I am excited about the opportunities posed by this role and am confident that my skills will allow me to excel at [Company Name]. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my application further.”
Example 2: “Thank you for considering my application. I believe my expertise in [Skill/Area] will greatly benefit [Company Name]. I look forward to discussing how I can contribute to your team.”
Remember to include your contact information and sign off professionally using “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or a similar phrase.
Formatting Your Email Cover Letter
Choosing the Right Font and Spacing
When writing your email cover letter, start with a clean and easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Select a font size between 11 and 12, which is generally considered standard for professional correspondence. Use single-spacing throughout the body of your email cover letter and consider adding a space between each paragraph for better readability.
Ensuring Correct Spelling and Grammar
Before sending your email cover letter, thoroughly proofread it for any spelling or grammar errors. To catch mistakes, use the built-in spell checker in your email client, or consider using third-party tools. Additionally, reading your email cover letter out loud can help spot any awkward phrases or inconsistencies.
Formatting and Structure Tips
Here are some tips to format your email cover letter effectively:
- Subject line: Make sure to include a clear and concise subject line, such as “Job Application – Your Name – Job Title.” This will make it easy for the recipient to identify the purpose of your email.
- Salutation: Address the hiring manager by their first and last name, if you can find it, or use a general greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager.”
- Introduction: Introduce yourself and mention the position you’re applying for. Briefly explain why you’re a strong fit for the role.
- Body: Highlight your relevant experience and skills in 2-3 short paragraphs. Use specific examples to support your claims.
- Call-to-action: End your email cover letter by thanking the hiring manager for their time and mentioning that you’re looking forward to their response.
- Sign off: Use a professional closing, such as “Best regards” or “Sincerely,” followed by your full name. Don’t forget to include your contact information such as your email address and phone number below your name.
Key Tips for a Successful Email Cover Letter
Tuning Your Email Message
When writing an email cover letter, your message should be clear and concise. Use a professional yet friendly tone to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Start with a clear subject line that includes the job title and your full name. In the body of the email, briefly introduce yourself and mention the position you’re targeting. You can also add a line that highlights your skills or experience relevant to the job. Make sure to proofread your email content to avoid grammatical errors and maintain a polished appearance.
Using Cover Letter Templates
Using a cover letter template can be a helpful starting point. It provides a layout that ensures a consistent, professional presentation. Look for a template that matches the industry and job you’re applying for, while still allowing you to showcase your personality. Try to find a balance between a visually appealing design and an easy-to-read format. Always tailor the content to the specific job you’re applying for, as hiring managers can easily spot a generic, one-size-fits-all cover letter.
Sending a Test Email
Before hitting send on your cover letter and resume, send yourself a test email. This practice will ensure that the email arrives in your inbox correctly and that the formatting is intact. It will also give you a chance to review the email from the recipient’s perspective, so you can make any necessary adjustments. Check for broken links, and make sure your attachments (like your resume) are in a commonly used format, such as PDF. This step is important for ensuring your application’s success, as a poorly formatted email could impact your chances of moving forward in the hiring process.
How To Manage the Application Process
Understanding the Job Description
When applying for a job, it’s important to carefully read and understand the job description. This will help you tailor your cover letter and resume to the specific requirements and needs of the position. Look for keywords and phrases that describe the responsibilities and qualifications, and be sure to highlight your relevant experience in your application materials.
Researching the Company
Before sending your email cover letter, research the company to gather useful information. This will help you demonstrate your interest and knowledge of the organization in your cover letter. Look for the company’s mission, values, and recent news. Try to find ways to relate your experience and skills to the company’s goals and culture.
Using LinkedIn in Job Search
In your job search, don’t forget to leverage LinkedIn. Connect with people in your industry, and follow companies and influencers relevant to your career objectives. You can also find job postings on LinkedIn, and even apply directly using your profile. Customize your LinkedIn URL and use it as part of your email signature to make it easy for potential employers to learn more about you.
Part-Time and Summer Jobs
If you’re looking for part-time or summer jobs, your email cover letter should reflect the specific nature of these positions. Focus on your flexibility, availability, and willingness to work irregular hours. Highlight relevant skills and experiences, even if they’re not directly related to the position. This will show your adaptability and eagerness to learn.
Managing the Follow-Up
After sending your email cover letter and resume, consider following up with the company if you haven’t heard back within a week or two. A polite email or phone call can help keep your application front of mind and demonstrate your continued interest in the position. However, be respectful and avoid being pushy or overly persistent. Remember that hiring managers are often very busy and may take some time to respond.
Advanced Cover Letter Strategies
Using a Cover Letter Builder
A cover letter builder can be a valuable tool in crafting an impressive cover letter. These online tools often provide customizable templates and step-by-step guidance to help you structure your content. Plus, they can save you time by automating the formatting process.
To get started, you can search for a reputable cover letter builder and follow the prompts. Make sure to choose a template that matches the tone and style of the job you’re applying for. Then, input your information and adjust the prewritten text to reflect your experiences and skills.
Emphasizing Your Qualifications
To stand out, you should highlight your relevant qualifications. To do this, carefully review the job posting and note the key requirements. Then, match your skills and experiences to those points, using specific examples to demonstrate your capabilities.
For example, if the job requires strong time-management skills, mention how you successfully managed multiple projects simultaneously in a previous role. Use numbers and metrics, where possible, to emphasize your achievements. This targeted approach can help you catch the attention of a potential employer.
Highlighting Professional Achievements
Your cover letter should showcase your professional achievements, demonstrating how your accomplishments make you the ideal candidate. To do this effectively, include specific examples that illustrate your strengths.
For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, you could mention specific sales targets you’ve met or exceeded in the past, or discuss how you broke new ground by securing a big client.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key steps in writing an email cover letter?
To write an effective email cover letter, follow these steps:
- Start with a concise and professional subject line.
- Address the recipient professionally and use an appropriate greeting.
- Engage the reader with a strong opening sentence or paragraph.
- Highlight your relevant skills, experience, and achievements.
- Show enthusiasm for the company and position.
- Include a call-to-action, encouraging the employer to review your attached resume.
- Close your cover letter with a professional sign-off.
How should I customize my cover letter for different job applications?
Customizing your cover letter for each job application can boost your chances of success. Focus on these areas:
- Research the company and use your insights to show genuine interest and knowledge about their business.
- Study the job requirements and emphasize your skills and experiences that match well with the position.
- Address the hiring manager by their name if you can find it, or use a generic salutation.
- Mention any connections or referrals that might be relevant to the position or company.
What are some effective tips to make my email cover letter stand out?
To make your email cover letter stand out, consider these tips:
- Keep it concise and to the point, ideally no longer than one page.
- Use a professional, easy-to-read font.
- Break up your text with bullet points, bold text, or subheadings to emphasize key messages.
- Avoid cliches and overused phrases; be genuine and use your own voice.
- Proofread your cover letter multiple times and ask someone else to review it for errors or suggestions.
- Follow any specific instructions provided by the employer in the job posting.
What examples should I include in my email cover letter?
Including real-life examples in your cover letter can help demonstrate your expertise and suitability for the position. Follow these guidelines:
- Choose examples that are relevant to the job requirements and company values.
- Describe your achievements and successes in a specific, quantifiable manner.
- Focus on instances where your actions led to positive outcomes or improvements.
- Structure your examples using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) for clarity.
Do I attach the cover letter to the email or include it in the body?
Including your cover letter in both the email body and as an attachment is a good approach. By doing this, you ensure that the hiring manager sees your cover letter, regardless of their email settings or preferences. Save your cover letter as a PDF to preserve formatting.
What should I put in the subject line when sending my cover letter and resume via email?
A compelling and professional subject line is important for capturing the attention of the hiring manager. Consider these guidelines:
- Include your name and the job title or position you are applying for.
- Use clear, concise language.
- Make sure the subject line matches any instructions provided by the employer in the job posting.
- An example could be: “Jane Doe – Marketing Specialist Application”