An email cover letter includes all the essential elements of a hard copy cover letter and serves the same purpose: to impress the hiring manager and convince them to bring you in for an interview.
It’s essential to follow the employer's instructions so that you don’t wind up bounced from contention because of a technicality. You might be asked to send your cover letter in the body of the email or as an attachment, or to add a specific subject line, or to send it as a specific file type, e.g., a Word document or PDF.
What to Include in Your Email
Cover Letter Salutation
It’s best to address your letter to a specific person, instead of using a generic salutation like "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam." These can look unprofessional and like you didn't make an effort.
Cover Letter Body
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow up. This section of your cover letter includes:
- First paragraph: Why you are writing. It is "the grab," your chance to grasp your reader by the collar and get his attention. Offer some specific, focused information regarding the job you're seeking and a few core strengths that demonstrate suitability for the position.
- Second paragraph: What you have to offer the employer. It is your hook where you highlight examples of the work you’ve performed and the results you’ve achieved. Draw on your key competencies from your resume, though don't copy it word for word. Bullet points in this paragraph are effective in drawing your reader's eye to your successes.
- Third paragraph: Your knowledge of the company. Show that you did your research and know something about the business and how you can contribute to its mission.
- Fourth paragraph: Your closing. Summarize what you would bring to the position and suggest next steps by requesting a meeting or suggesting a call.
How to Format an Email Cover Letter
- Address an Email Cover Letter: Make sure your cover letter and other materials get to the right place – and make a good impression when they get there.
- Email Cover Letter Subject Line Examples: The subject line is the first thing a hiring manager will see when they look at your email. Make yours count.
- Email Cover Letter Salutation Examples: Confused about how formal or informal to be in your salutation? These tips will help.
- Email Cover Letter Closing Examples: Keep it professional all the way through, with these cover-letter ready closers.
Email Cover Letter Examples
Most cover letters follow the same basic format, but the contents will be very different, depending on your goals and circumstances. These templates cover a wide range of situations, from a cold email inquiring about job openings to an internal job promotion cover letter to a job transfer request.
- Email Cover Letter Sample
- Sample Email Cover Letter Inquiring About Job Openings
- Sample Email Cover Letter - Part-Time Job
- Sample Cover Letter - Referred by a Contact
- Sample Cover Letter - Referred by Someone
- Sample Email Cover Letter - Summer Job
- Sample Email Message - Volunteer Position
- Sample Formatted Email Cover Letter Message
- Job Promotion Cover Letter
- Job Transfer Request Email Message
- Job Transfer Request Email Message - Relocation
Cover Letter Articles and Advice
Whether you’re looking for your very first job or making a career change to something new and different, there are certain guidelines that can help you create a cover letter that sells your experience. For example:
- Write a customized cover letter for every job opening. You may develop your own cover letter template to help you get started, but be sure to tweak it every time so that it’s a perfect fit for the role’s requirements.
- Include keywords in your cover letter. Analyze the job listing, looking for keywords that describe the job duties and the experience and skills required to fulfill them. Then, use those words in your cover letter and resume. It will help you get past the applicant tracking system and to a real human being who can call you for an interview.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Pay special attention to the name of the hiring manager and the company and its products. Then, ask an eagle-eyed friend to give your cover letter one last review before hitting “send.”