Writing emails and cover letters to land that interview you want can at first seem like a difficult task. What do you say? How do you catch their attention?
Here are some tips to get you started on writing an email or cover letter that captures the recipient’s attention:
1. Keep it short and simple. When writing an email or cover letter, you want to be concise, on topic, and remain simplistic in expressing your message to the reader. Cover letters can be a bit longer than emails, but you want to stay in a three-to-four short paragraph range. When writing emails, it’s best to get you message across sooner rather than later. People don’t like reading lengthy emails, so the quicker you convey your message, the more likely someone will read it and get back to you.
2. Capture attention in the email subject line. The company you’re interested in interviewing for probably receives dozens of emails every day. If you want your email to stand out and not be overlooked, be intentional in your word choice. Why are you writing this email? Who is your audience? Write a subject line that pertains to those two aspects, so you have a greater chance of your email being opened and read so you can receive a response.
3. Reference your resume in the cover letter. You can reference experiences listed in your resume in more depth in the cover letter. It’s good to choose experiences that relate to the job posting your applying for, or if you don’t have an experience that directly relates to the position you’re trying to land, explain what transferable skills you’ve gained from previous jobs. This is your chance to go beyond the resume and explain your qualifications.
4. Use language you’ve seen in the job posting. A lot of companies like to see the key words they’ve mentioned in their postings in your communication with them. This lets them know you’re paying attention and have the necessary qualifications they’re looking for. Use their own language in communication with them, whether through email or in a cover letter.
5. Personalize. You can address the recipient of the email or cover letter with “Good morning,” “Hello,” etc., but think about personalizing your communication. If you know who’s going to be reviewing your cover letter or who your email will reach, address them by name. When signing off, “Sincerely,” is a go-to, but try something else, like “Warmly,” “Kind regards,” or “Looking forward to talking to you,” when signing your name. It adds an extra touch.
6. Avoid grammatical errors. You want to come across as professional. Avoiding spelling and punctation mistakes, as well as the misuse of any words, is a great way to make a lasting first impression.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’re much more likely to capture the recipient’s attention to land that interview you want in which you get to really shine and share more about yourself!