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Career Advice

Tips for an Email Cover Letter

Tips for an Email Cover Letter

It’d be safe to say that we’re all pretty much aware of how important it is to get our CV and application form just right when applying for a job. However what many of us forget is that the good old cover letter which accompanies said CV or form is vitally important too.
We’ve previously given some tips on general cover letters, but today we’re going to concentrate on the Email Cover Letter. Since we tend to apply for more and more jobs online these days, as opposed to the more traditional methods, this is something not to take for granted. We’ve highlighted some basic tips that should help you get it right…

Subject Line
Remember that your email is going straight to a HR Manager or recruiter’s inbox. So too are potentially hundreds of other emails. You need therefore to pay attention to the subject line of your email. Either state the job you have applied for e.g. Re. Project Manager position ( Ref PM/12) if you are applying speculatively state the type of role you are ideally seeking e.g. Sales Manager seeks Business Development position. The information you choose to put in the subject line has to grab the attention of the recipient and failing to pay attention to this could actually mean your email may never even get read!

The Synopsis
The primary purpose of your Email Cover Letter is to generate interest in you as a candidate. It is critical therefore that you sell yourself effectively in the letter so that the HR Manager or recruiter is interested enough to open your CV or application. That does not mean however that you need to go into minute detail about everything you have done and everything you can offer. Likewise, you should not simply list all the information that can be found in your CV. Ideally, you should aim to perhaps have 1-2 paragraphs, wherein you provide a brief summary of who you are and then give a short synopsis of your skills, experience and qualifications and what in essence you are offering them. Keep this information fairly short but succinct. A long winded letter or story recounting your entire career history will win you no favours with a busy HR Manager or recruiter.

Don’t forget the attachments
If you are sending a cover letter, you are obviously also sending a CV or application form as an attachment. Well…ideally. Many candidates however forget to actually attach the attachment and then have to send another email correcting this. Obviously this is far from ideal and conveys a certain lack of professionalism. We can of course all make mistakes; however when applying for a job, it is vitally important to pay sufficient care and attention so that mistakes like this don’t happen. Also, if the employer or recruiter has stipulated that your CV or form has to be submitted in a certain format, make sure that you adhere to that. Don’t send it as a PDF if they have specifically requested a MS Word document.

The details
Just as with every other part of the job application process, the details matter. Make sure that you spell check your letter, that you check for any grammatical errors and amend if necessary.
If you are not too comfortable with your own ability in checking what you have written, then get a friend or family member to read and advise of anything that needs to be changed. Also, remember that details like the name of the email recipient are vitally important too. After all, if your first line includes a misspelling of their name, they are hardly going to have a good first impression of you, are they?

We’d love to hear any other tips you have on this very subject. Do share with us via the comments section below.

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