How To Write a Killer Email Cover Letter

A female candidate with wide-brimmed glasses listening to the interviewer

Overview

How To Write an Email Cover Letter That Will Grab a Recruiter’s Attention 

In the age of PLAGUE-19, applying for a job digitally has become the norm. Nothing surprising about that—it’s much more convenient doing it from the comfort of your home. 

You probably know that your resume goes as an attachment, but how do you email a cover letter? Should you type it out in the body of your email or attach it? Does it even matter?

How do you even format a cover letter in an email? Are there different sections?

While it sounds tricky, emailing a cover letter doesn’t have to take a lot of your time (or nerves).

If drafted with care, a cover letter gives you the chance to form the right kind of image in your potential employer’s mind. And an outstanding first impression can make all the difference in the candidate selection process.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Lensa will also provide you with two simple email cover letter samples you can use for reference.

Cover Letter Crash Course—What Is a Cover Letter, and Why Do You Need It?

Before you get to composing an email cover letter, you might want to know—does it even make a difference whether you send one or not?

It does. Recruiters do read them. A cover letter starts off your dialogue with a company. No matter how skilled you are, a recruiter can’t deduce your level of competency based only on your resume. Anyone can list out some skills and call it a day—but a cover letter helps you pitch your abilities and prior experiences in a more meaningful way.

You can use it to strike the right chord with a certain company by:

  • Showing the enthusiasm you have for a particular niche/industry
  • Displaying your willingness to contribute to their business
  • Explaining how your skills would be a great addition to their team
  • Emphasizing previous career accomplishments that make you the best candidate for the job

The main reason for writing a cover letter is being able to show your personality. You probably don’t want to end up working for an overly micro-managed company whose autocratic leadership believes that creating a positive work environment is all about plastering “our employees are our family” posters around the office.

And the company, from their side, is not interested in hiring brilliant jerks anymore (Gregory House wouldn’t have the easiest time keeping his job today). 

A cover letter allows you to present your character and see if it matches what the company is looking for. This way, recruiters get to know your preferences and character traits, not just the raw number of skills you have. 

A Black woman with curly hair working on her laptop outside of a coffee shop

Source: Andrea Piacquadio

How To Approach Emailing a Resume and Cover Letter

Emailing a cover letter along with your resume is a convenient way to apply for a job. As both of these documents are important for your application, you could be wondering—what is a proper way to submit them?

Your resume should be an attachment. As for the cover letter, there are two ways to turn it in:

  1. Include the cover letter in the body of your email
  2. Send your cover letter as an attachment

Note that these two methods aren’t always interchangeable—consult the job ad and follow the company’s specific instructions.

How To Write a Cover Letter in the Email Body

If you’re inexperienced at writing cover letters, you may wish to choose the first option. In this case, the cover letter should point the recruiter to your resume. It should still include your contact information, a short introduction, and some skills—but you must focus on intriguing the reader to open the resume you’ve attached.

Below is an example of a cover letter included in the main text of an email:

23/1/2022

Jane Doe,

XXX-XXX-XXXX,

janedoe123@gmail.com

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing you this email to convey my interest in the recent opening in your company for the position of a content writer. Having read your job description, I believe my writing skills, attention to detail, and considerable prior experience as a blog writer make me suitable for this role.

Being an English major, my education has provided me with the following skills:

  • Impeccable knowledge of spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Ability to conduct independent research on various topics
  • Great attention to detail 
  • Proofreading and fact-checking skills
  • Proficiency with MS Office tools

In addition, my long-standing experience in the content business has acquainted me with the best SEO practices in the industry.

If you wish to find out more about my competencies, I have attached my resume to this email. Thank you kindly in advance, and I look forward to the prospect of potential cooperation.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Write an Email With Cover Letter Attached

If you opt to send your cover letter as an attachment, copy the introductory part and insert it at the beginning of your email. You should then indicate that you’ve included both your resume and cover letter as attached documents. Thank the recruiter in advance for reviewing them and press Send.

Here is an outline of an email with the cover letter as an attachment:

23/1/2022

Jane Doe,

XXX-XXX-XXXX

janedoe123@gmail.com

Dear Recruiter,

After thoroughly reading your advertisement for the role of a content writer, I believe my qualifications and credentials perfectly match the job description you have provided. 

As per your instructions, I have included both my resume and cover letter as attachments to this email.

Thank you for your time, and I sincerely look forward to your feedback.

Best regards,

Jane Doe

The Basic Cover Letter Structure

Sending cover letters via email is not all that different from submitting them any other way. They are still formal documents that need to be crafted meticulously to grab the reader’s attention.

There are many tricks you can use to make your letter eye-catching. But before you get around to that, you need to get the basic outline right.

The most obvious aspect of a cover letter is its structure. It remains more or less the same regardless of how you apply for a job.

Most job seekers divide their cover letter into the following six parts:

  1. Heading
  2. Introduction
  3. Opening paragraph
  4. Main paragraph
  5. Ending paragraph
  6. Conclusion and signature

Bear in mind that some of these sections may overlap. This isn’t a big issue as the above-mentioned structure is a guideline—not an unbendable rule. If you’re going for brevity, feel free to exclude or shorten certain parts.

Provide Your Contact Info in the Heading

Your cover letter heading is the topmost part of the document. In it, you should write out essential information about yourself:

  1. First and last name
  2. Phone number
  3. Email address
  4. Date of submission

Some job seekers also like to add their personal addresses, but it’s not necessary. You should also avoid inserting an ID photo—this will just make your email cover letter look awkward.

Introduce Yourself Formally

After you’ve entered your contact information, it’s time to make a formal introduction. You can reliably use any conventional phrase, so long as it’s not informal or silly. Check out the following table to see which introductory sentences work:

UseDon’t Use
To Whom It May Concern,
Dear Recruiter.
Dear Hiring Manager,
Dear all,
Dear [Company Name],
Dear [Recruiter Name],
Dear Sir or Madam,
Hello,
Hi,
Hey,
Greetings,
Salutations,
Good day,
Nice to meet you,

When addressing a recruiter directly, don’t use only their first name—it’s too casual. You should write their full name or just last name.

Additionally, if you happen to know a recruiter is female, don’t use titles that imply their marital status, such as Mrs. and Miss. Stick to the more neutral-sounding Ms. instead.

Spark a Recruiter’s Interest in the Opening Paragraph

Once you’ve greeted the reader, write an opening sentence that will captivate them. Your cover letter should be interesting, not witty or profound. While humor may help you during the interview stage, the opening should be professional.

A good way to set the tone is by stating your interest in the company. Briefly explain how you’ve come across their job ad and why it drew your attention. Another good tactic is to include the title of the role you’re applying for. This will prove that:

  1. You’ve read the job description in the company’s ad—since that’s where they’ve stated the name of the role 
  2. You’re not mass-applying for thousands of other roles—since you specified the position that you’re applying for

It is also wise to reference the requirements of the position. Elaborate a bit on how you match the job description and whether you’re bringing something extra to the table. This will intrigue the recruiter to read the rest of your cover letter—not just skim through it.

Be as original as possible. There’s no one-size-fits-all cover letter, and being unique will increase your odds drastically.

Four colleagues in a meeting smiling as they discuss a project

Source: fauxels

Dazzle Them With Your Brilliance in the Main Paragraph

Regardless of whether you’re a recent graduate or a veteran who’s looking to switch jobs—the main paragraph is where you’ll display just how much value you’re able to provide to a company.

If you’ve got a long streak of notable achievements, it might seem alluring to list them all out. Don’t do that. The cover letter shouldn’t be your personal trophy stand, and bragging never sits well with employers. Include your accomplishments seamlessly as a logical extension of your capabilities.

As far as your skills go, you should state them in correlation with the responsibilities of the position. Don’t focus on how many you have, but how well you can translate them into the role you’re applying for. If you’ve got a particular knack for something that can be of value to the company—no matter how insignificant it seems—point it out.

It doesn’t hurt to mention soft skills, such as teamwork and cooperation. But don’t prioritize them unless you’re writing an entry-level cover letter.

Conclude Your Cover Letter on a Positive Note

You should wrap up your cover letter with a poignant call to action. Refer back to your main point—why you’d be a terrific asset to their business. Express interest in connecting with the company further.

No matter how qualified you are, don’t be snobbish by acting as if they’ve already picked you for the role. It’s much better to provide them with a short recap of your core values without speculating too much on the company’s inclination to hire you. 

Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, and conclude by stating how eagerly you await their reply.

Sign Off With a Brief Formal Phrase

At the bottom of the cover letter, you should write your full name and signature along with a short formal phrase, such as:

  • Kind regards,
  • Best regards,
  • Respectfully,
  • Sincerely,

Don’t use highly informal language. Recruiters will cringe at phrases like:

  • See you
  • Lookin’ forward to hearin’ from ya
  • ‘Till we hear from each other again
A candidate answers a hiring manager’s questions during an interview

Source: Sarah Pflug

How To Improve Your Email Cover Letter Format-Wise

Good structure alone isn’t enough to make an email cover letter fly—you need to tweak and adjust its format too. Why? Because a badly formatted cover letter won’t get past the company’s applicant tracking system (ATS). 

Even if they don’t have one in place, a human recruiter will have a hard time reading a chaotic document. And if they don’t read it, you have wasted your time with a carefully thought-out structure.

To improve readability and highlight the crucial aspects of your cover letter, take some cues from this table:

PropertyAdvice
FontUse a simple, easily readable sans-serif typeface, such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Helvetica, or Times New Roman. Keep the font size up to 12pt
AlignmentYou should align the text to the left. Justified text is somewhat stretched and harder for the eye to follow
MarginThe margin should be one inch to the left and right. You may increase or reduce it slightly depending on the length of your cover letter
SpacingUse single space when separating sentences and double space for demarcating paragraphs 
BoldingBold words that you want recruiters to pay particular attention to

Avoid These Common Mistakes

If you’ve searched for email cover letter templates online, you’ve probably found some that include these problematic elements:

  • Colored text
  • Lots of exclamations marks
  • Sentences in ALL CAPS
  • Pictures
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Text boxes

While these elements may make your cover letter look cool on the screen, they will only hinder its clarity. You have to strive for transparency, not complexity.

If you’re applying for multiple positions simultaneously, there are several other key factors you need to be careful about. Keen-sighted recruiters will immediately notice a templated email cover letter if you’ve forgotten to change:

  1. The date
  2. The name of the file
  3. The job title

To prevent such an oversight, review your cover letter thoroughly before sending it.

A young Asian female candidate being interviewed for a job

Source: Thirdman

Job Hunting Is Easier With Lensa

Scoring a job in today’s economic climate is no easy matter, regardless of how well you’ve composed your email cover letter. Lensa’s survey shows that almost 4,200,000 people were out of a job for longer than six months in 2021. More than 40% were willing to settle for a lower salary due to job scarcity.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics claims that the situation is getting better, but it is by no means ideal. In 2021, nearly 23% of people reported having to apply for 30 jobs before they finally got hired.

In such a grim situation, what can a single email cover letter change? 

The answer is—quite a lot! Studies show that 46% of employers prefer that a cover letter be delivered electronically, preferably by email. 

Having a killer cover letter is important, but signing up for Lensa can make your job hunt even smoother.

Lensa provides a simultaneous connection with a variety of major hiring platforms. It lets you make more informed decisions about your career and gives you job recommendations not only according to your skills and preferences but also your personality and cultural background.

By registering to Lensa, you’ll get:

  • A chance to receive SMS and email notifications for job vacancies
  • An option to customize your profile and find job ads according to your requirements
  • A possibility to receive personalized job recommendations based on your location, work style, and desired salary range
  • An opportunity to play the Workstyle Game, which lets you determine your professional strengths and weaknesses
A hiring manager and a candidate shaking hands as they conclude a job interview

Source: Thirdman

How To Sign Up for Lensa in No Time

To subscribe to Lensa, follow these brief steps:

  1. Visit our website
  2. State your desired role and press Search
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Press the Submit button

After you’re done with the registration, you can optimize your account further or play the Workstyle Game. To get the most bang for your buck, you can also:

  • Provide your education, qualifications, and any additional credentials
  • State your desired salary range
  • Enter your phone number to receive automated SMSs informing you about recent job openings
  • Upload your resume to use Lensa’s Company Reviews and Matching Companies features

Once you have set up your account, Lensa will send you job recommendations tailored to your skills, personality, and location. This way, you’ll save time while also increasing your chances of scoring that ideal job!

Source: MART PRODUCTION

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