Guest Author - Dianne Walker
With so many employers going electronic when it comes to hiring, it’s not a surprise that email cover letters are also becoming more popular. Email cover letters, however, have a totally different set of successes and failures when it comes to preparing the perfect document. Here are some tips to help you “get it right” without setting your cover letter up for an epic failure.
Include a subject line. Have you ever typed an email and just as your finger was lifting off the send button, you realize that you forgot the subject line? With the increased hacker scares and junk email, needless to say, the subject line has taken on a whole new importance. Make sure that your subject line is clear and succinct as to the job you are applying for. Don’t be cute, be specific. Hot Mom seeking Full-time position, is not the best idea. If you’re applying for a specific job ad, include the title of the position.
Keep it standard and professional. Now is not the time to add poems, song lyrics or quotes. Follow the standard template for a professional letter. Start with the proper salutation (a real name if you have one). Say what you need to say. Use one blank space between paragraphs. Be sure to include a signature line which contains contact information. Your contact information should include your name, address and telephone number. Include your email address, not everyone will necessarily want to hit “reply”. Make it simple.
Content is key! Just like an overly long letter, hiring managers do not want to keep scrolling down to read a never-ending email. The content should be about the position you are applying for. Don’t make it a list of your every skill. Reference the job and the skills the employer is looking for. Use key words. Many companies are using automated software to screen candidates. Make sure your email contains key words to improve the odds of your letter / resume being screened through.
Keep emotions out of it. Sometimes it’s so tempting to include cute little emoticons when sending an email. Remember this is a professional document. Resist the temptation.
It’s not about what you want to do, learn to follow directions. Often times an employer will specifically state not to attach documents, however, there will be candidates that think they know better. Really? Do you think that by attaching a PowerPoint presentation when it specifically states “no attachments” will help solidify your position? It won’t, you have just given an example of how you do not follow directions.
Leave it alone and then check it again. It happens all the time, you write what you believe to be a flawless document, only to go back and find errors. Once you’ve checked your draft a couple of times, get away from it for at least an hour. When you come back to the document, you will be looking at it with a fresh set of eyes.
Email cover letters have their own set of do’s and don’ts. Make sure your cover letter makes the grade.