A good cover letter might mean the difference between getting the interview … and having your resume quietly moved to the “no” pile.
Crafting an effective cover letter is tricky: in a limited amount of space, you need to catch the hiring manager’s attention, make a case for why you’re the best candidate for the job, and inspire them to contact you for more information. It’s a sales pitch, which means that you have to get in, get them interested, and then get out while they still want to know more.
If you’re like most job seekers, you don’t write many letters these days, which makes cover letter writing even tougher. Cover letter templates take the guesswork out of structuring your message, while also ensuring that keep your message concise and to the point.
Use this email cover letter template as a guideline to create customized cover letters for potential employers. Then review a formatted email cover letter example, cover letter samples, and email message examples to get ideas on writing your own cover letter.
Email Cover Letter Template
If the employer asks for the subject line to delineate specific information, follow those directions exactly or your email may be automatically discarded.
Salutation: It's critical to write to a specific person rather than falling back on Dear Sir/Madam, which looks lackadaisical, as though you didn't make an effort (and that doesn't reflect well on how much effort you'll put in on the job!). Do your research to determine the proper contact name.
Body of Email Cover Letter: 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.
First Paragraph: The first paragraph states why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and include the name of the contact if you have one. This 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.
Convince the reader that he should grant the interview or appointment you're requesting. Be clear and concise regarding your request.
Middle Paragraphs: The second paragraph describes what you have to offer the employer. This is your hook where you highlight examples of the work performed and achieved results.
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. Make strong connections between your abilities and their needs. Mention specifically how your skills and experience match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are highlighting your resume, not repeating it.
The third paragraph details your knowledge of the company. Show that you did you your research and understand something about the business and the ways in which you can contribute to its mission.
Conclusion: This is your closing. Summarize what you would bring to the position and suggest next steps by requesting a meeting or suggesting a call. Mention that your resume is attached if that's the case, and conclude by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include details on how you will follow-up.
Signature: Include your name, full address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn Profile URL, if you have one.
Sample Email Cover Letter (Text Version)
Subject: Sales Manager - Robert Sierra
Dear Mr. Brooks:
My colleague Kathy White suggested that I contact you regarding the position of sales manager you have open at ABC Publishing. She and I worked together in domestic sales at XYZ Communications, and she encouraged me to contact you as she feels that my talents would make an excellent addition to your team.
My skill set in sales is comprehensive and proven over my years of experience. My communications ability, organization, outgoing personality and attention to detail have all contributed to my success, and I would bring the following to your team:
• 10 years of domestic sales experience with a solid client base
• Leadership in strategic sales techniques, with experience in mentoring and managing successful groups
• Track record of exceeding goals and influencing the growth of client base
• Experience in marketing and social media
• Ready to help promote digital and print publications in an expanding company
ABC Publishing has been a well-established leader in the industry for many years, and through its innovative initiatives has had a positive influence on local communities as well. I look forward to discussing the ways that I can contribute to these goals as well, through your youth outreach and literacy programs.
I appreciate your time and consideration in reviewing my attached resume, and considering me for the position of sales manager. My experience, skills, and goals are well matched for the position, and I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to talk about how I can help ABC continue successfully into the future.
Cover Letter Writing Tips
- Don’t Duplicate Your resume. The purpose of your cover letter is to get the hiring manager interested in reviewing your resume; it shouldn’t be a rehash of all the information in your CV.
- Include keywords from the job description, especially if you’re submitting your application materials online. Using keywords will help your materials make it through the applicant tracking system and to a real person.
- Write a custom cover letter for each job application.
- Be concise, and write clearly. Don’t fall into the trap of using 50-cent words to demonstrate your intelligence and skill. Let your experience speak for you.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person, whenever possible.
- Proofread and double-check the spellings of names, companies, etc. Ask a trusted friend to review your cover letter as well, to make sure you’re not missing any typos or misspellings.