Emailing Your Cover Letter and Resume
When sending your cover letter and resume electronically, try to find out if the employer would prefer them as attachments or in the body of your email. If you can't determine a preference, send them both ways in a single message.
Although not usually required, you may want to follow up the email with hard copies of your cover letter and resume, (unless specifically asked not to). When submitting copies by mail, it's preferable not to fold them. It's also a good idea to bring copies of your cover letter and resume to any interview.
Sending as Email Attachments
- Create your resume and cover letter in a common word processing program such as Microsoft Word, or in RTF (RichText Format), or as a PDF. (Increasingly, employers are specifying format.)
- Make the resume and cover letter separate attachments. Give them names the employer will associate with you once they are downloaded, for example: AustinJaneCvrLtr.doc, not CoverLetter.doc and AustinJaneResume.doc, not Resume.doc
- Be absolutely certain that your documents are free of viruses. Send them electronically to yourself and to a friend to make sure they're easy to open, the formatting stays correct, and they're virus-free.
- In the Subject line, put the name of the position for which you are applying. In your email message, briefly say why you are writing. Ask the employer to contact you about any trouble opening attachments. For example:
Dear Mr. Rogers:
I am applying for the position of Grant Writer at Friends of the Earth, which I saw posted recently on Idealist.org. I'm extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity and believe I am well qualified. My cover letter and resume appear below, and are also attached; please let me know if you have any trouble opening the attachments. Thank you for your consideration.
Sending in the Body of the Email
- Paste your cover letter a couple of spaces below your brief introduction. Set it up in Business (Block) Style, with everything justified to the left.
- A couple of spaces below the cover letter, paste in your resume.
- Your resume needs to be reformatted to send it in the body of an email message. Justify everything to the left; do not try to center text. Do not use bold, italics, underlining, bullets, fancy fonts, colored text, multiple columns. To highlight text, use such means as spacing, all capital letters (for headings), asterisks (*), plus signs (+), dashes.
- Send the email to yourself and to a friend, to check for problems before sending to an employer.
8 tips for better email cover letters
If you're emailing a resume, your cover letter will deliver the first impression. These eight tips will help you craft a better email cover letter.
Follow these tips for emailing a cover letter that will get you noticed.
As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. If you're doing a job search or resume submission via email, the first impression any employer will have is from your cover letter.
When you're asked to email your job application to a company, you can either copy and paste your cover letter into the body of your email, or you can attach it as a file, along with your resume. If you send your cover letter as an attachment, you can send it as either a PDF file or Word document. Here's what else you should you consider when crafting an email cover letter.
How should a cover letter look?
Some tips for writing a cover letter are standard, whether you're e-mailing or snail mailing: Be professional, with correct spelling and grammar, and—very important—do use them. (Here are some cover letter samples if you'd like to get a visual idea.) Other tips pertain only to the electronic medium, and when disregarded, could ruin your chances before your foot is in the door.
Don't waste your subject line
What you write in the subject line can determine whether your letter gets read, according to Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert and author of Manners That Sell. "Don't ever leave the subject line of your email blank, and don't waste it by just inserting the job number," Ramsey says. "The subject line should be clear and specific to the job you're looking for." An example: "Bilingual CPA seeks account manager position."
Use standard cover letter protocol
Write your letter as the body of the email and include a salutation (use the receiver's actual name if you know it) and a standard closing. ("Sincerely" or "Warm regards" work well.) Leave blank lines between paragraphs, and use appropriate signature and closing lines.
Include all the information in your signature line you would have on your business card, including snail mail address, phone number and email address. "Remember, your email address doesn't always automatically show up on the receiver's email program," Ramsey says.
Keep it short and dynamic
Managers and recruiters are busy. They want to get the gist of your pitch in 150 words or fewer. The first paragraph is crucial, according to Ramsey. "Hook the reader in the first paragraph by selling him or her your abilities," she says. "Use short paragraphs and short sentences to give a very brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them, and wrap it up in the second paragraph."
Keep it simple
If you write a cover letter in a word-processing program, strip away all formatting and save the file as plain text. The ideal line length is 40 characters. Some email packages automatically do word wrap for you, so your cover letter doesn't arrive in fragments.
Don't get cute. Save emoticons, abbreviations, and wild colors and fonts for your nonprofessional emails. The same goes for humor. Chances are, the reader won't think it's funny, and may even find it irritating.
Don't respond to an ad for a copywriter when you're really a graphic designer, says Diana Qasabian, talent director at Syndicatebleu. "It may be the tight job market, but we've been receiving more and more letters responding to a specific job from candidates who are not at all qualified for it," she says.
"We look for specifics in email cover letters, which means skills and abilities," she adds. "Embellishment and fluff are not necessary. It's not necessary to write, 'I'm a hard worker.' That goes without saying."
Keywords are key
Because many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSes) to find and screen candidates, skill-oriented keywords will boost your chance at being discovered, a recruiter at a large technology company says.
"ATS tools track keywords that identify skill sets," she says. "So even if you're not right for the job you're seeking, strong keywords improve the chance that your cover letter and resume will be retrieved in a future search or be selected for a more appropriate job."
Play by their rules
Take the time to learn the company guidelines for submitting resumes, and follow them. Many companies list these guidelines on their Web sites. Also, don't include attachments unless they are requested. Some companies block all emails with attachments to prevent viruses.
Check it again
Thoroughly spell-check and proofread your email letter. And remember, your email software's spell-checker won't catch grammar mistakes. Send it to a friend first and ask him to check it for content and style. If all your friends are tapped out, or even if they aren't, test your email cover letter by emailing it to yourself, and put yourself in the mindset of an employer when you read it.
Get recruiters' attention
Once your cover letter is polished and ready to go, make sure you get maximum use from it. After all, it'll do you no good just sitting on your computer. You need to get your cover letter in front of the people who are doing the hiring. Could you use some help getting their attention? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five resumes and cover letters—each tailored to the different kinds of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you.