First Impressions: How to write an email cover letter that will help you to stand out from the very start

Posted by | 8th January 2017 | Tutorial

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First Impressions: How to write an email cover letter that will help you to stand out from the very start

First impressions are important in so many aspects of our lives and it is arguably no more important than when you are applying for a new job.

You’re cover letter/email will be your chance to make a good first impression on your potential future employer.  The challenge of the email cover letter is to sell yourself and get the employer to take action and read your attached cv.

So many people get this wrong, I see some cringeworthy email cover letters every day and to be painfully honest if I was recruiting and receiving emails like this…

“I am interested in part time work, my cv is attached”

Or

“Please consider me for your current vacancy, I have attached my cv”

Or

“I am looking for full time work, please contact me with more details of your vacancy”

then I would just click on the delete button and I would never know just how good that candidate would be for our vacancy.  Why would I employ someone who can not follow a simple instruction? The instruction being to write a “cover letter” and attach your cv, not just state that you are looking for work.

It is crucial to get this part of the process right and make that first impression, you are competing with many other people for the same position so you have to make yourself stand out throughout the whole process.  This post will hopefully help you get it right from the very start

1 – Write a creative header

If you want to grab the hiring manager’s attention then this is your chance to sell yourself in one sentence.  He or she will receive lots of emails that just state a job id number or say “applying for ……”.   Instead of doing the same thing that the majority of people will do try something like “Admin Assistant with 10 years experience, awesome with Word and Excel and seeking a new opportunity”  In one sentence you are telling the employer that you have the right skills for their vacancy, he or she will then have to take the next step and open the email to read more.

2 – The first paragraph, The job you are applying for.

After the general salutations of “Dear ….” the opening paragraph should be short and to the point. Explain what job it is you are applying for and where you found the vacancy.

Always mention where you saw the job vacancy (e.g. ‘as advertised on proper-jobs.co.uk’) or, if someone referred you for the position then mention their name in this section.

Example: 
I would like to apply for the role of Office Administrator, currently being advertised on proper-jobs.co.uk. Please find attached my CV for your consideration.

3 – The second paragraph, why you are suitable for the position.

Briefly describe the relevant experience, skills, qualifications or personal attributes that make you suitable for the vacancy (ensure you refer to some of the skills listed in the job description).

Example:
As you will see from my attached CV, I have 10 year’s experience as an office administrator, I am organised and very confident using Microsoft tools such as word, excel, PowerPoint and outlook.

4 – The third paragraph, what you can bring to the team.

To get an idea of what to write here thoroughly read the job description, a good job description will tell you exactly what they are looking for. Use practical examples to emphasise what you can do for the company. You might be repeating some of your duties and responsibilities from your cv but it will let the hiring manager know what you can bring to the team, don’t put all of your duties just the main ones, it will give the hiring manager a reason to look at your cv for more information.

Example:
In my current role as Office Administrator for ……… I am responsible for the collection and processing of incoming mail, the scanning, storing and filing of documents, taking accurate telephone messages and dealing with telephone enquiries and assisting with other general administrative duties.   I feel that the skills I have gained from my current employer will help me hit the ground running within your team.

5 – The closing paragraph, thanks and sign off.

All you need to do here is thank the employer for their time and indicate that you would like to meet with the employer for an interview to discuss your application in my detail.

Sign off your email cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ (if you know the name of the hiring manager)/’Yours faithfully’ (if you do not), and your name.

Example:
Thank you for your time and consideration, I hope to meet with you soon to discuss my application in more detail.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

Conclusion

Remember: This is just a guide, not a ready-made email cover letter. Without research into the organisation advertising the position, and without tailoring the contents of your email to the role, it will lack the impact with which an email cover letter can drastically improve your chances of reaching the interview stage.

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