Tips for a Better Email Cover Letter

Posted by | February 2, 2013 | Tips For Job Seekers

First impressions are critical in the job search and you rarely get a second chance. Usually, the first opportunity to make an impression on a potential employer is with a cover letter.

The fundamental cover letter tips – be professional, use correct spelling and proper grammar. They are still important and pertain to both paper and email cover letters. But now, much of the job search has been moved online and your first chance to communicate with a recruiter comes in the form of an email.

So, what are the things you should consider when writing an email cover letter? Well, for starters, utilize your subject line properly, use a professional salutation and keep the email concise. If you want your letter to get read, you need to make the purpose clear from the beginning. Your first opportunity is the subject line and you need to make it count. Make it clear and specific to the job you’re applying for. Always include a professional salutation. If you know the contact’s full name, personalize the salutation but make sure the name is spelled correctly.

The first paragraph in your cover letter is critical so use it to sell your abilities. Use short paragraphs and sentences to give your elevator pitch (who you are, what you can do for them) and wrap it up in the second paragraph. Recruiters and hiring managers are known for being pressed for time so it’s unlikely they will have time (or want to) sift through long paragraphs to get to the point of your letter.

Keep your email simple. If you write your cover letter in a word-processing program, take away the formatting and save the file as plain text. As mentioned above, keep your email professional – emoticons, abbreviations and creative fonts and colours should be saved for personal emails.

Because many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find and screen candidates, you can boost your chances at being discovered by using skill-oriented keywords in your letter. To get an idea of what keywords could get you noticed, simply take a look at the job posting. More often than not, employers write job postings using many of the keywords they are looking for.

When writing a professional email, spelling and grammar truly matter. Uncapitalized run-on sentences have no place in any office and if you want your emails to be taken seriously, take the time to proofread for errors. You rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression!

~ Jennee Rasavong is a Freelance Writer and Blogger. Follow her on Twitter @JenneeJade.

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