Email Cover Letter Format
Formatting Tips for Email Cover Letters
It's most common to send cover letters by email or as an attachment with your resume instead of snail mail. Much of the format of the cover letter remains precisely the same, regardless of how the letter is being delivered. In all cases, you need to include a salutation and a polite close, observe all the standard formalities, and proofread carefully. With an email, you'll also need to include a clear subject line as well.
How to Format an Email Cover Letter
The following email cover letter format shows how to put together a document containing the information necessary to get the hiring manager’s attention.
Use the email cover letter format as a guideline to create personalized email cover letters to send to employers.
Email Cover Letter Format
Subject Line: Job Title - Your Name
Be sure to list the job you are applying for in the subject line of your email message, so the employer is clear as to what job you are interested in. For example, your subject line might be "Marketing Coordinator - Bob Martins." This also helps to keep all your information handy for the hiring manager, and easily identified.
Dear Mr./Ms. Lastname or Dear Hiring Manager (only if you don't have a contact person). Follow the person's name with a comma or colon. Then, skip a line.
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.
The body consists of the first paragraph, middle paragraph, and conclusion. Here are some ideas for what is included in each of these sections.
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for and how you found the job posting.
If you were referred by a contact, mention the person in this part of your cover letter.
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Don’t just copy the information on your resume, instead, make a connection between your abilities and the qualifications listed in the job posting. Mention specifically how your skills and experience match the job you are applying for.
Provide action examples where you can. Instead of saying, "I'm very organized" explain, "During my first six months at ABC Company, I instituted quick Monday morning check-in meetings and transformed the project management calendar. These two changes helped everyone to stay on top of deadlines — and cut our costs on last minute temp help due to scheduling errors."
If you have attached your resume, mention it in this paragraph. You can also mention how you plan to follow up. Then conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position.
Include a polite sign-off and then skip a space and write your name.
Include your name, full address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn Profile URL, if you have one, so it is easy for hiring managers, recruiters, and contacts to get in touch.
City, State, Zip
Email Cover Letter Example
Subject: Marketing Manager - Mary Cody
Dear Ms. Lastname,
I am writing in regards to the position of marketing manager at XYZ Enterprises advertised on Monster.com. Susan Smith recommended that I write directly to you, as we worked together at ABC Inc. for several years, and she thought that this position would be a good fit for me.
With ABC, I was a direct report to Susan, and I was able to increase my department’s sales by 15% over the three years we worked together. This exceeded the industry standard by 10% during a nearly stagnant period of time. Given XYZ’s position in the market, and my experience with increasing market share, I feel that I can help to bring even more success to your company.
I have attached my resume and list of references for your consideration.
I will follow up next week to provide any additional information you may be interested in. Thank you very much for taking the time to review my resume.
123 Green Street
Anytown, USA 11111
Completing Your Application
When you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your application, and to make sure that your documents are written as well as any other business correspondence. Sending a professional looking application package is the first step to getting an interview.
More About Cover Letters: How to Write a Cover Letter | Email Cover Letters | Sample Cover Letters
How to open and close your cover letter
On a cover letter, formality is rarely a bad thing.
Write your cover letter opening and closing with these tips.
In a tight job market flooded with resumes and cover letters, it’s a given that your documents and messages need to be error-free. So how else can you distinguish your communications? Appropriate openings and closings that convey professionalism and polish.
Use our tips below on how to start your cover letter with a proper greeting and sign off with a polished signature. And if you need additional writing tips, join Monster today, so the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service can help you impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter.
Cover letter openings
Write a formal greeting, such as Dear Ms. Alvis or Dear Mr. Yang. If you're unsure of the person’s gender and can’t find out, write the full name, as in Dear Chu Li or Dear Chris Beltran.
While it is increasingly common to see greetings without the "Dear" in business, it is less formal. When applying for a job, sometimes you want to start off formally, even though you may take a less formal tone in subsequent written exchanges.
If you’re unfamiliar with someone’s name, be sure you don’t confuse the first name with the family name, which can easily happen in today’s global business environment, depending in part on the languages you know. For example, the CEO of Lenovo is Yang Yuanqing. His surname is Yang and his first name is Yuanqing (in Mandarin, the family name is written first), so if you are addressing him, you would write Dear Mr. Yang and not Dear Mr. Yuanqing.
A final comment on people’s names: be sure to spell them correctly. That is one typo no recipient will miss.
What if you cannot track down a contact name for your cover email? Use a generic salutation, such as Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiting Manager or Dear Human Resources Professional. (Avoid To Whom It May Concern; it is antiquated.) Another option is to write Greetings, which is somewhat informal but polite. You could also dispense with the opening greeting altogether and start with your first sentence, although some recipients might find that approach to be abrupt.
In all openings, be sure to capitalize the first letter of every noun and follow your greeting with punctuation. Use either a colon (Dear Mr. Yang:) or a comma (Dear Recruiting Manager,).
Cover letter closings
End your message with a formal closing, such as Sincerely, Regards or Best regards. If your closing contains more than one word, capitalize only the first word, as in Best regards or Sincerely yours. And be sure to put a comma after your closing. A common error in business communications is the omission of that comma.
Your full name goes on the next line. No need for the extra space that used to go on letters for the signature. Write your telephone number and email address on separate lines after your name. Although this contact information is on your resume (and your email address is on your email), including it with your cover message makes life easier for the recipient.
This post is by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene, authors of The Business Style Handbook, An A-to-Z Guide for Effective Writing on the Job