Email cover letters

Two facing laptops with an arm emerging from each screen and shaking hands on a white background
Image courtesy of Garfield Anderssen/flickr.com

Imagine screening hundreds of resumes, searching for the one that will make your job easier. Pressed for time and bleary-eyed, all you want is for the right words and phrases to pop out and yell, Here I am – the one you’ve been looking for.

A well-written cover letter can help both the candidate and hiring manager because it serves as a quick snapshot of a potential match. If written poorly, it will make the screener’s job easier, but not in a good way.

An impactful cover letter focuses on the reader’s objectives rather than the writer’s agenda. Here are a few ideas to accomplish that.

1. Avoid using “I” throughout the letter. This is tricky because, of course, your purpose is to pursue an opportunity; however, the letter needs to convey what the candidate brings to the organization to fill their need.

Example: Rather than I am very interested in this position, state As a graduate of _____ College with a ______ Degree, my knowledge and skills closely align to the requirements of this position.

2. Extract the components, action words and phrases from your resume that highlight your qualifications to the targeted position/ industry. Use bullet points.

Example:

  • Expertise in _________

  • Knowledge of ________

  • Proficiency in ________

  • Experience with ______

3. Structure the letter around three essential components:

Source: How did you hear about the position?

Qualifications: What school/work experience have you had that fills the company’s need?

Call to action: Include multiple ways to contact you.

4. Methodically check for grammatical and spelling errors. Don’t rely on the spell-check function as it does not pick up everything. A correctly spelled word may not make contextual sense.

5. Proofread carefully, being mindful that the letter is more than a cover for the resume. It is a demonstration of your email communication skills and attention to detail. Texting may have replaced email socially, but in the corporate world email is alive and well.

6. Close with an emphasis on your desire to apply your knowledge and skills to make a contribution to the organization.

Example: The opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills to support your organization’s goals would be an exciting challenge.

 

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