Email is the new cover letter... at least for most people. So I put together a list of email cover letter tips so you can make a good first impression when you send cover emails to recruiters, employers, and hiring managers.
Your First Good Impression
In today's job market where a job seeker's resume is often sent as an attachment to an email, the email message serves as the cover letter. It plays the critical role of making a first impression and convincing the recruiter or manager to download and open the attached resume.
Years ago when resumes and cover letters were sent by snailmail, an employer would remove both the resume and letter from the envelope and often read the resume first, simply because the resume's outline format told the candidate's work history more quickly than a letter with paragraphs.
Now the spotlight is cast first on the email cover letter. That cover email holds the power to influence whether the employer hits the Download or Delete button.
6 Email Cover Letter Tips
- Use a subject line that summarizes what's in your email and makes it unique from other applicants' emails. (For example: "Resume: Software Engineer John Doe")
- Make your message visually inviting to read by inserting spaces between paragraphs and keeping those paragraphs succinct. For help with formatting, see Is This Cheating? A Free Cover Letter Template.
- Use a friendly professional tone. Don't use overly formal language that makes you seem unapproachable. On the contrary, your letter should make your reader want to meet you.
- Summarize your resume with a few very brief statements that begin with dashes, asterisks, or bullet points. These statements should highlight the very best and most relevant qualifications you have to offer that particular employer (or recruiter).
- Introduce your attached resume.
- Paste a Plain Text version of your resume into the body of your email, in addition to attaching your MS Word resume. This tip is optional, and if done should follow my instructions for limiting the line lengths in your Plain Text resume.
If you want some hand-holding while writing your email cover letter, consider my Ready-Made Resumes program. It has downloadable cover letter templates, as well as templates for thank you emails and resumes.
What other email cover letter tips or questions do you have for making that good first impression?