Get your cover letter right.
There are several elements that need to be included in any cover letter. When you know how to write a cover letter properly, you will be able to do it again for any new job applications that you might make. Just follow these simple steps:
- Start with your name and postal address. These contact details should be in the top right-hand corner of the cover letter. Include your email address and telephone number as means of contacting you.
- Write the date of your letter underneath your contact details.
- Add the contact details of your addressee. Start these details on the next line of your cover letter, but on the left-hand side of the paper. Along with the job title, write down the name of the person you are writing to.
- Add the job title of the addressee.
- Add the company name and address. Again, this should be on the left-hand side of the page.
- Address your readers. Leave a line below the contact details then write, “Dear Mrs. Jones,” or whatever the right name might be. If this is unknown, then, “Dear Sir or Madam,” will suffice.
- Add the job reference. Before you start the body of the letter, add any reference that has been given for the job application, for example, “Re: Engineering Trainee, Eastern Division” or “ Ref – HR/004.”
- Introduce your CV in two or three short paragraphs.
- End and sign your letter. In most cases end with, “Yours faithfully” and then your name. Leave a big enough gap so that you can add your signature, whether it is electronic or hand-written.
- End your letter informally only in the case where you know the individual you are writing to, perhaps because you are making an internal application within your organisation. In these cases, you can sign off with, “Yours sincerely,”
What to include in a cover letter
- Say you are submitting your CV and application form in the main body of your cover letter.
- Don´t cover everything in your CV. This tends to create the unwanted impression that you are merely repeating yourself. It is best to highlight one or two points from your CV if they are especially pertinent to the job you are applying for.
- Keep the letter simple. One sentence is fine if you can say all that you want to in only a few words. If you need to progress to a second paragraph, include a line break. This avoids any large, lengthy text passages and makes the letter easier to read.
- Upload your cover letter with Monster.
Remember that your cover letter is the first thing that a potential employer will look at when considering your application. Dedicate the time and effort into getting it right and you will have taken your first step towards a new job!
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.