An e-mail cover letter is essential when you are sending an electronic resume to a potential employer. Many people think because they are sending their resume online, a cover letter is no longer necessary. In fact, just the opposite is true. When applying for a job online, your e-mail cover letter is every bit as important as your actual resume. Below, you will find tips and information to help you brush up on these skills.
Writing your e-mail cover letter
Before you do anything else, you should know how to go about actually writing the letter. You don’t want to simply post the job number you are applying to and say ‘I’m interested.’ In your cover letter, it is important that you include an engaging subject line that captures the attention of those receiving your email. Introduce yourself, and write a few sentences about yourself, being assertive and conveying your interest in the position, and how serious you are about getting the job. If you don’t get your point across in your e-mail cover letter, your resume may go completely unread.
Also, use keywords specific to your industry. Management or those responsible for reviewing your resume will often look for keywords relating to the specific industry, which gives them an idea about your goals or interests. You might also try keeping your data above the fold, so that whoever reads your cover letter doesn’t have to scroll down the screen.
Always check and double check
After you have completed your e-mail cover letter, be sure to check for spelling errors or typos. Even if you used software to do this for you, it doesn’t hurt to proofread it yourself a couple of times. Also, make certain you are sending your documents the way the company desires. A good rule of thumb is to send both cover letter and resume in the body of your email, and attach them as well. However, some companies do not want attachments so read their specific instructions before you take action.
In writing your e-mail cover letter, keep it short and focus on your key selling points. Two or three paragraphs, or about 150 words, is an ideal length. Another reason you should use keywords in your cover letter is that many companies keep these in a database, and yours will be easily found if the employer begins a search containing the keywords you used. Stick with simple text, and avoid using fancy fonts or colors. The most professional cover letters and resumes are basic and easy to read, so save your artistic talents.
Test your message
You want to be certain that everything is perfect, so don’t hit the ‘send’ button before checking your e-mail cover letter yourself! Send it to a family member or friend, or send it to another one of your e-mail addresses so that you can look at it the way the recipient will see it. It is an additional step, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You want a potential employer to receive information that is professional looking and well-written, otherwise you won’t make a good first impression, and your resume will likely never be read.