Writing A Cover Letter For A Job Email

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by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Just as certain secrets can help you write a dynamic cover letter, there are also key strategies for sending email cover letters. Here are those strategies.

Know the rules of a dynamic cover letter. Before you even think of sending an email cover letter, first make sure you understand all the rules and guidelines for writing a dynamic cover letter. Go to our Cover Letter Resources page for some helpful resources.

Don’t waste your subject line. Don’t ever leave the subject line of your email blank, but don’t waste it by just inserting the job number. Instead, use the subject line to entice the reader into your cover letter. For example, for a director of nursing position, say something such as: “experienced nurse for director of nursing position.”

Your opening paragraph is critical. More than ever, your first paragraph has to be dynamic; you need to both hook the reader and then sell him or her on your abilities in that first paragraph. See the sample letter (see link below) for a dynamic email opening paragraph.

Keep your cover letter short. Brevity is critical with an email cover letter. Focus on your key selling points. Most experts say that at most, your cover letter should be two to three paragraphs — and under 150 words. The idea is that your cover letter should not be any longer than one screen in length.

Take advantage of keywords. Use keywords pertinent to the job you are seeking, and focus on key industry buzzwords and critical skills sets. Noun phrases become more important than action verbs. Because your cover letter may be filed into a database, using critical keywords will enhance the likelihood that your cover letter and resume will be retrieved in a future search.

Stick with plain styling. When sending your email cover letter, use a plain white background — no need to have fuzzy bears or other strange or “cute” backgrounds attached to a piece of business email.

Always use standard cover letter protocol. Just because it’s an email, doesn’t mean you should abandon standard business letter writing guidelines. Thus, make sure to include a salutation (Dear Ms. Smith) and a standard closing (such as “sincerely”). Leave blank lines between paragraphs. And avoid the use of emoticons, abbreviations, wild colors, and other cool techniques and shortcuts used in everyday emails.

Don’t bother with attachments (unless requested to do so). Some companies actually block all emails with attachments; thus, your email would never even be received if you used an attachment.

Always follow the company guidelines. Many companies now have career centers on their corporate Websites. (For a list, see the Quintessential Directory of Company Career Centers.) It’s better to take the time and check than to send something the company doesn’t want. For example, Marriott allows you to create a career management account where you can store up to five different resumes and cover letters.

Never hit “send” without thoroughly spell checking and proofreading your email letter. Don’t just rely on your email software’s spellchecker. Take the time to really proofread it. A simple typo could be the downfall of a brilliant cover letter. Avoid all mistakes.

Be sure to test your message before sending it to the company. Even if you’re sure your letter is perfect, send it to a friend or another one of your email accounts first and check for the content and style one more time.

What does a dynamic email cover letter look like? Check out this sample email cover letter.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

Go back to the Cover Letter Resources for Job-Seekers section of Quintessential Careers, where you will find a collection of the best cover letter tools and resources, including articles, tutorials, and more.

Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.

Email Cover Letter Samples

When you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the company's directions on how to submit your cover letter and resume, as well as to make sure that your email cover letters are written as well as any other professional correspondence you send.

Tips for Writing an Email Cover Letter

Write in paragraphs of about two to four sentences and use proper grammar and spelling, just as you would in any other letter.

Though this should be a given, avoid including emoticons or images of any sort.

Perhaps more important than formatting, though, is the content of your cover letter. You can review these email cover letter samples below, but be sure to personalize them when you apply for jobs. 

You should tailor these samples not just to your own experience, but also to each job you’re applying for. Pay close attention to the detail of the job description - specifically, the responsibilities and requirements- and make sure your cover letter reflects how you are a good fit for these requirements.

Attaching the Letter to an Email

Take note of how the company requests you submit your cover letter; for example, you may be instructed to attach your cover letter along with your resume. In this case, make sure your cover letter is either in Word document form or is a PDF file. 

Pasting the Letter into the Email

If you paste your cover letter into the body of your email, keep your text in the default font of your email provider.

Make sure the text is readable and formatted correctly. For example, avoid long paragraphs or, alternately, a bunch of stacked, short sentences.

Email Cover Letter Example

Subject Line of Email Message: Store Manager Position - Your Name

Email Message:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I read your job posting for the Store Manager position with interest, as the qualifications you are seeking match closely with my professional skills and experience.

I can offer XYZ Company:

- Over five years of retail management experience
- Ability to effectively hire, train, and manage staff
- Payroll management, scheduling, reports, and inventory control expertise
- Extensive work with visual standards and merchandising high-ticket items

In addition to my extensive retail experience, I have excellent communication skills. I always maintain a gracious and professional manner when communicating with people, including customers and store staff. My broad experience and range of skills make me a superior candidate for this position.

My resume, which is below, provides additional information on my background and qualifications. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible to arrange a time for an interview.

Thank you for your consideration.

Paul Jones
Email Address

More Email Cover Letter Message Samples

Here is a list of more email cover letter samples you can use to get started. This list includes examples of cover letters that target specific types of jobs (full-time, part-time, summer, and volunteer) as well as email cover letters to use at different transitional stages in your career (promotions, job transfer requests).

Email Cover Letter Formatting Examples

For more information about how to format your cover letter, check out the following links:

Email Cover Letter Templates

How to Send an Email Cover Letter

When applying for employment via email, copy and paste your cover letter into the email message or write your cover letter in the body of an email message. Here's how to send an email cover letter.

More About Cover Letters:

Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips
What to Include in a Cover Letter

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