How many times have you replied to a job ad via e-mail by shooting them a copy of your resume and cover letter? I’m going to venture a guess and say at least 20 (but more likely hundreds of times) if you’ve been searching for any significant length of time. Here are some of the most notorious mistakes we’ve seen—and what you can do to greatly improve your chances of being noticed.
Attaching the cover letter to the e-mail.
What’s wrong with that, you ask? Most hiring managers aren’t going to open the cover letter and read it. They’ll go straight to the resume instead. Want to ensure your cover letter gets read? Copy and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Whoever received the e-mail will be much more likely to read it if it’s already right there in front of their face.
Writing your whole life story in the body of the e-mail.
Don’t go overboard with details; keep it short. The hiring manager won’t be willing to invest a lot of time reading your e-mail. Keep it short and to the point.
Providing information that is not relevant to the position.
Here is a great example. When I want to bring an additional resume/cover letter writer on staff, I’m not looking for someone with technical writing expertise, article writing skills, or journalism savvy. Those forms of writing aren’t relevant to what we do here. I want a writer who has extensive expertise and certification in resume writing. If someone goes on and on in their cover letter (or in the body of the e-mail) about all their other writing experience, they will lose my interest. Instead, I want them to tell me about their most relevant experience as it relates to my needs. I want them to tell me about any resume writing experience they have. Give the hiring manager a brief overview of the most relevant experience you have, appropriate to the position they are trying to fill. This will pique their interest—rather than lose it.
Excluding information they’ve specifically asked you to include.
Depending on the position, the employer may ask you to submit a sample of your work, portfolio, hours of availability, or even salary requirements. Whatever it is they’ve asked you to include, make sure you include it in your cover letter. If not, you will most certainly be removed from consideration for failing to follow instructions. Following instructions and acknowledging everything the employer has asked you to address in the job ad not only saves the employer time but makes you look good. I can tell you this from experience because 9 out of 10 applicants will fail to address every stipulation the employer has listed. It happens to us all the time.
Not using a cover letter at all.
We’ve received e-mails from applicants, and the body of the e-mail provides either little or no information whatsoever. Some simply state, “Here is my resume for your review.” You are selling yourself short by not including at least a brief introduction. Especially if the employer outlines specific requirements. Take the time to write, “I see you need someone with availability to work nights and weekends; I would enjoy working these hours and am available to do so.” Or, “I have included a sample of my work for your consideration along with my resume. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
Forgetting to tell them why you’re the best fit.
Let me tell you about one of THE BEST cover letters I’ve ever seen: I could tell this person put effort into it—and she took the time to specifically and meticulously review our job requirements. She scrutinized our requirements and detailed in her cover letter how she had experience meeting those needs. It was applicable, relevant, and attention getting. It was probably one of the only cover letters that actually made us want to read the corresponding resume.
Using a boring closing statement.
Instead of using the same old boring line, spice it up a bit. One of the more daring cover letter closings I have read closed with, “Call today, don’t delay.” I applauded her boldness and had to call her. The closing was confident, feisty, and it certainly grabbed my attention. Not to mention the entire cover letter addressed everything she brought to the table as a potential employee and how these elements were relevant to meeting our needs.
What I am trying to get you to see is that boring the hiring manager with details not relevant to the opening—or not making the most of the space and time you’re getting is really to your detriment. Instead, take the time to write something catchy, relevant, and targeted to the position for which you are applying. Sure, it may take a few extra minutes—but in the end, if you get the interview, won’t it be worth it?
For a free resume analysis submit your resume via e-mail to . You can also view professional and executive resume samples at http://www.greatresumesfast.com/Samples.htm.
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Tips and Samples for Sending Email Cover Letters
How to Send an Email Cover Letter and Resume
An email cover letter is a document sent with your resume to provide additional information on your expertise. It is written to provide information on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for and to explain the reasons for your interest in the company.
When you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume.
You need to make sure that your email cover letters are written as well as any other correspondence you send.
Even though it's quick and easy to send an email, it doesn't mean that you should write anything less than a detailed cover letter focused on why you are a good match for the job you are applying for.
Tips for Sending Email Cover Letters
1. Sending Email Cover Letters as Attachments
- If the job posting says to include your cover letter and resume as an attachment, attach Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files to your email message. Here's a step-by-step guide to sending your resume and cover letter as an attachment.
- Save the files with your name, so they don't get mixed up with other applicant's materials i.e. alisondoyleresume.doc, alisondoylecover.doc.
2. Sending Email Cover Letters Without Attachments
- Some employers do not accept attachments. In these cases, paste your resume into your email message.
- Use a simple font and remove the fancy formatting. Don't use HTML. You don't know what email client the employer is using, so, simple is best because the employer may not see a formatted message the same way you do.
3. Don't Forget the Details for Your Email Cover Letter
- How to Address an Email Cover Letter: Here's how to address a cover letter sent in an email message including what to use when you have a contact person and how to address it if you don't.
- The Subject Line of Your Message: Make sure you list the position you are applying for in the Subject Line of your email address, so the employer is clear as to what job you are applying for. For example: Subject: Alison Doyle, Social Media Manager Position.
- Include Your Signature: Include a signature with your contact information, including name, address, email address, and telephone number so it's easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you.
4. Double-Check Your Letter for Spelling and Grammar
Make sure you spellcheck and check your grammar and capitalization. They are just as important in an email cover letter as in paper cover letters.
5. Send a Test Message to Yourself
Send the message to yourself first to test that the formatting and attachments work. If everything looks good, resend to the employer.
Sample Email Cover Letter
Subject: Administrative Assistant/Receptionist – Roger Smith
Dear Ms. Cole,
I was excited to see your listing for the position of administrative assistant/receptionist at ABC Market Corp. I believe that my five years of experience in office administration and my passion for your products make me an ideal candidate for this role.
You specify that you’re looking for an administrative assistant with experience scheduling appointments, maintaining records, ordering supplies, and greeting customers.
I’m currently employed as an administrative assistance at XYZ company, where I have spent the past five years honing these skills.
I’m adept at using all the usual administrative and collaboration software packages, from Microsoft Office and SharePoint to Google Docs and Drive. I’m a fast learner, and flexible, while always maintaining the good cheer that you’d want from the first person visitors see when they interact with the company.
I have attached my resume, and will call within the next week to see if we might arrange a time to speak.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.