How To Write A Plain Text Cover Letter
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.
Cover letter for advertised position, e-mail version
Date: Thurs, 26 June 2008 14:55:53 -01000 (EDT)
From: Will Yougetit [email@example.com]
Subject: Senior Human Resources consultant position advertised on Monster.com
Attachments: Will Yougetit CV
Dear Ms. Smith
Please find attached my Curriculum Vitae for the position of Senior Human Resources Consultant.
I'm particularly interested in this position, which relates strongly to my ten years of experience in Human Resources at senior management level.
I'm currently Human Resources Manager of Littlecorp Inc., and I believe I meet all the essential criteria of the position. My work at Littlecorp has been rewarding and productive. However, I wish to expand my career further, into the consultancy role. I see the Senior Human Resources Consultant role as an integral part of my intended future career path, building on my previous achievements.
The position also has a definite correlation with my practical knowledge and experience. You'll see from my CV that I have been deeply involved in management and development of Littlecorp's Human Resources career strategies, including in particular our highly successful Career Path Management and Career Counseling services for staff and management. These strategies, policies and services are very closely linked to the fundamental consultancy element of the position.
I feel that I am well qualified to make an effective and useful contribution to Hugecorporate's consultancy operations. I have researched Hugecorporate's excellent record in innovative HR management and policy advisory services, and I'm enthusiastic about the chance to participate in a meaningful role with an industry leader in the field.
Thank you for your consideration of my application. Please contact me should you require any further information,
Cover Letter for advertised position, hard copy
| Attention: Ms. D. Fine|
247 Career Road
| R. Hood|
1 Arrow St
June 27, 2008
Phone: 1234 5678
Dear Ms. Nile
I refer to the position of Advertising Manager advertised in The Sun Newspaper on June 25, 2008. Please find attached my Curriculum Vitae, application form, and the required information specified in your advertisement.
I have 11 years experience in advertising in Britain and the United States. I am currently the Senior Vice President of Ajax Windows Inc, in Des Moines Iowa. I'm responsible for marketing for the firm's industrial contracts.
This position has a definite appeal for me, both on a personal and career basis.
I'm considering my career options at this point, after three years with Ajax. I feel it's time to move upward, and back into general advertising, rather than one dealing with a single product line exclusively.
Prettygood's very diverse lines of retail products are impressive. The standards of advertising copy and graphics are truly excellent, which has encouraged me to apply for this position. It's obvious that Prettygood has created a very strong, competent, in-house advertising team.
I have also recently done some independent advertising work outside the Ajax portfolio. Copies of this material are enclosed, and I hope they demonstrate my talents in the retail advertising sector. I did the layout, graphics, photography, and copywriting. These ads were quite successful when published, earlier this year. Newfax Supermarkets reported a 15% increase in sales, High Road Hotel and Restaurant 35%.
I believe I can add value to the Advertising Manager position through my years of experience and genuine enthusiasm for Prettygood's excellent work. Please contact me should you require any further information,
Cover letter for employment possibilities, e-mail version
Date: Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:45:33 -0900 (EDT)
From: Phil Marx [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Research Assistant, Wentworth Micro Industrial Corporation
To: Dr. Yvonne Knotts
Attachments: Phil Marx CV.doc Phil Marx Statement of Attainment.doc
Phil Marx Letter of Recommendation.doc Staph Aureus genetic sequence 127 paper.doc
Dear Dr. Knotts
Please find attached my Curriculum Vitae and relevant documents supporting my correspondence.
I am finishing my degree in Biology, Microbiology and Genetic Science at Hereandthere College, Thereabouts, this year. I found on the Wentworth Micro Industrial Corporation website information indicating that your company's research facility at Lower Hereandthere was in the process of setting up a new project in E. coli genomics.
I would like to apply for any available Research Assistant positions which are available for this project. I had some research experience at Hereandthere College, being put in charge of our electron microscope recording for our Staph Aureus project in 2007. (See attached document Staph Aureus genetic sequence 127 paper)
I have attached also a letter of recommendation kindly provided by my instructor, Prof. Arthur Goodman, whom you may recognize professionally as our local Professor Emeritus in Biology. Prof. Goodman suggested that if you had any enquiries about my suitability for this work, you could contact him directly, on the phone number provided.
I hope this letter is sufficient to indicate my deep interest in the microbiological research field. Please contact me should you require further information.
Cover letter for internship opportunities, hard copy
| Attention: Ms. D. Fine|
Human Resources Manager
New York, New York
| E. Wooden|
1/28 High St
New Jersey NJ
Phone 678 1234 5678
Dear Mr. Wynn
I am currently studying at Somewhere School of Graphic Art, New Jersey. I am looking for an internship with a reputable industry company as part of my final year studies, which commence next year.
You'll appreciate that this internship also forms an important part of my qualification requirements. I'm also anxious to find an internship where I can study nanopixelation, your company's new, market leading product.
Attached please find my Curriculum Vitae, my college pass marks, some samples of my work with your NanoPainter software, and two letters of reference from my instructors, Ms. Rembrandt and Mr. Van Goya.
I hope my work is of an appropriate standard for your internee requirements. I'd also appreciate any advice you can provide me regarding an internship in the graphic art field, if you can spare time for an appointment.
If you require any further information, please contact me, either by return email, or on the phone number above.