With many job postings, now requiring candidates have to to apply via email, first impressions are made not with a handshake but with words on a computer screen.
To avoid sabotaging your job search, here are some tips to follow when sending cover letters by email:
- Forget what Instant Messenger has taught you.
Job recruiters report that young professionals are the applicants most likely to send too-casual emails.
When using Instant Messenger with friends and acquaintances, it's acceptable to use abbreviations and incomplete sentences and to forgo capital letters and punctuation. In business correspondence, however, stick to the rules your English teacher taught you.
- Don't be cute.
Your adorable email background of puppies snuggling with kittens has got to go. Experts recommends plain-vanilla fonts, such as Times New Roman and Arial, and black text on a white background.
If you leave your cellphone number as a contact number, make sure your voicemail message is appropriate, and that means it shouldn't include music.
- Customize your cover letter to the job.
Change your cover letter according to the job requirement every time you send. You should use part of the job description they feel matches their skills or experience to explain why they'd be good for the position.
- Don't ramble.
Get to the point. Messages should be straightforward and concise.
Recruiters often have only seconds to devote to each cover letter they receive, and many are looking for just three things: the titles of the positions you've held, the companies you've worked for and your educational background. Anything else, such as a long story about yourself, can get in the way.
- If attaching a cover letter, write a brief note in your email.
There's no rule about whether a formal cover letter should be attached to an email or whether the email itself can serve as a cover letter.
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