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.
We discussed the importance of creating an email cover letter in our previous post, Five Steps to a Standout Resume Email, and thought would be helpful to our job-seeking readers to provide some examples to use as a starting point for your next email cover letter.
The examples below come from real-life job seeker emails, although we’ve altered the details and contact information. Whether you prefer a “salesy” approach or you’re more of a “direct and to the point” kind of person, choose the template that suits your style. Just be sure to include these key elements in your email cover letter.
- Mention the title of the position you’re applying for in the subject line and body of your email.
- Explain where you found the job posting or how you heard about the position.
- Conclude with a subtle call to action to remind the hiring manager of the action you’d like them to take, such as, “I look forward to hearing from you.”
- List your full name and contact information in your email signature block (not just on your resume attachment).
- If applicable, quickly explain any questions that your resume may raise. For example, if you’re from out of town but planning to move close to the job location, or you’ve been at your current position for only a short time.
Email Cover Letter Examples for Legal Professionals
Example #1: If you prefer to keep it brief.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am interested in the Litigation Associate position advertised on LinkedIn. I have attached my resume and cover letter for your review.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Example #2: If you’re relocating to the city where the job opportunity is located.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to express my interest in the Litigation Secretary position listed on Monster.com. My resume is attached for your review and consideration.
I am a fast learner, very dependable, organized, and computer savvy. I have extensive experience assisting firm attorneys and multiple paralegals, as well as supervising and managing an office. While I currently reside in Los Angeles, I will be moving to San Francisco at the end of the month.
I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you to learn more about your firm, its plans and goals, and how I might contribute to its continued success. I can be your ideal candidate if given this opportunity. Thank you.
Example #3: If a colleague referred you.
I was referred to you by a mutual acquaintance, John Smith, who said you have an opening for a litigation secretary. I have many years of experience as a litigation secretary, most of them working with managing partners. I am a professional looking for a career, not just a job. I am organized, reliable and self-motivated. I like being part of a team, but can also work independently.
Included with this e-mail is a copy of my resume for your review and consideration. Once you have had an opportunity to review my resume, please contact me if you have any questions or to arrange an interview. I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
Thank you for your time,
Example # 4: If you’ve been at your current position for less than one year.
Please allow this introduction. My name is Jane Smith, and I have 12 years of legal secretarial experience working with managing partners of small, mid- and large-sized law firms. My current typing speed is 105 wpm from written form and 120 wpm from live dictation with the utmost accuracy. I am interested in the Litigation Secretary position advertised on your firm’s website.
I am currently working for a small civil litigation firm. However, after only 11 months in this position, the financial stability of the firm has significantly changed. Therefore I am seeking long-term tenure with a stable civil litigation firm.
Attached please find my resume and list of references. If you are interested in the professional skills and positive attributes I can contribute to your firm, please contact me at [phone number] at your convenience to schedule an interview.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Example #5: If you want to be dazzle the hiring manager with your qualifications.
Dear Recruiting Administrator:
Do you need a hardworking, creative and conscientious paralegal to meet your firm’s needs? If so, I can help you. The following is a summary of my qualifications:
- More than ten years of progressively responsible legal experience;
- Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Business Administration;
- Exceptional verbal, written and analytical skills;
- Advanced computer skills;
- Outgoing personality and “can-do” attitude.
I would like to meet with you to discuss how I might assist your firm in fulfilling its present needs. My resume is enclosed for your review. If you need someone who is highly motivated, eager to learn, and willing to work hard to succeed, please contact me at [phone] or via e-mail: [email].
Thank you for your time and consideration,
These examples are meant to be a starting point only – add your own voice, style and experience to make your own standout (or at least solid) email cover letter.
Categories: Career Advancement
September 18, 2013
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