6 Email Cover Letter Tips to Make a Good First Impression

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

  1. 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")
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Introduce your attached resume.
  6. Attach a more detailed cover letter if the job posting asks for a cover letter or if you feel it will enhance your application.

If you want some hand-holding while writing your email cover letter, consider my Ready-Made Resume Builder. It has downloadable cover letter templates, as well as templates for thank you emails and resumes.

3 thoughts on “6 Email Cover Letter Tips to Make a Good First Impression

  1. Today I have opened my MS Outlook Express. I was put out and didn't know what to do next,because of my emails had been corrupted. Luckily I used the Internet and noticed there an interesting software – outlook express e-mail recovery. The program determined my trouble for a minute and completely easy. I am very glad now…

  2. I had attended a workshop on emailing resumes and cover letters but when I tried to apply the information I heard that day, I was lost. I found The Riley Guide online and it took me to Susan Ireland’s instructions for posting in Plain Text and specific instructions for all of the adjustments I needed to make to the document in order for it to be easily read by a prospective employer. Thanks be to Susan Ireland.

    • I’m glad the Plain Text article was useful, Deborah. Can you tell us why you were converting your resume to Plain Text? Are you inserting it into email or posting it online?

      Good luck with your job search!

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