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Executive Job Applications - How to Craft the Perfect Electronic Cover Letter

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Executive Job Applications - How to Craft the Perfect Electronic Cover Letter

Could you please offer insight and guidance regarding an effective e-mail introductory letter to use when sending my resume electronically?

Elizabeth Rubin, Career Advisor, explains how to craft the perfect introductory electronic cover letter:

"Electronic cover letters should follow the basic format for cover letters:
  • Paragraph 1 - Opening: State your objective, mention a personal referral, or the immediate benefit to the person, or refer to the employer's job posting if relevant.
  • Paragraph 2 - Introduce yourself and present your key accomplishments - whenever possible, link them to the specific needs of the company and specific requirements of the position.
  • Paragraph 3 - Close: Discuss follow-up steps, make clear how they would benefit by meeting you.
The objective of a cover letter is to entice the reader to look at your resume. You can encourage this by not only including your resume as an attachment, but also copying and pasting the text of your resume into the body of the email, below your cover letter. However, that alone does not guarantee that your resume will be read, so be sure your cover letter highlights the reasons your background and experience would be of interest to the person.

Particularly in the current economic climate, recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with emails and resumes. Have an answer to the question: “what is unique about you"?

If you are contacting a recruiter, you should clearly communicate why the person would benefit from contacting you. As previously mentioned, if you are interested in a specific job, make clear the fit between your skills and background and the requirements of the role. Regardless, be clear about how the relationship could be mutually beneficial. For example, if you have a strong network in the recruiter's area of specialty, let the person know that you would be willing to introduce them to clients who are hiring or candidates for roles that are not a fit for you.

If you are contacting an employer directly, highlight what the employer may find unique about you, perhaps depth of experience or knowledge within the industry, or experience working for one of the industry's most well regarded companies. Do you have a common link? You may want to research the person through professional networking sites to find any shared background or contacts.

Don't be afraid to show a little personality and find a balance between a formal business letter and a more personal communication. A clever, well crafted cover letter can be an impressive marketing tool. I know a recruiter who once said, "I didn't have a job for the candidate but called him because his cover letter was so good!". Be creative and stand out from the competition to get a good response!

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