How to write better emails and cover letters

Posted November 03, 2015 by
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Melinda Osteen

Because there are so many people looking for jobs, standing out is quite difficult these days. The hiring environment has changed, and candidates have to persuade employers without even meeting them in person.

The internet has interfered with the job market, too, and now the main tools of job seekers are resumes and cover letters. The basic rules of successful submissions are the same as the ones for traditional paper writing – no mistakes at all, clear structure, uniqueness, originality, and 100% professionalism. Along with these, there are other aspects that must be taken into consideration when applying online for a job.

Here are several essential guidelines regarding e-mails and cover letters that will raise your chances of being contacted by employers.

Wisely use the subject line

The subject line is decisive when it comes to reading or ignoring someone’s e-mail. As a consequence, this must be catchy, but decent at the same time. Don’t just insert the job number or name. Choose to be more personal and write something that directly addresses to the recipient. For instance, you could say: Experienced writer applying for your X position.

A great idea is to test the subject line on yourself – send the e-mail to your address first. How does the subject line appear: Does it have the right length? Is it attractive enough? If not, modify it accordingly.

Don’t get into details

HR representatives and managers are always on the run. They have tons of work to do, and time is very precious to them. As a result, the cover letter must be short and right to the subject. Add dynamism by employing short sentences. Start with your best skills and then mention how you could contribute to the company’s success. Additionally, briefly note your experience and education.

Stay simple and elegant

Cover letters don’t have to get complicated with formatting and special writing fonts. The reader must focus on the content. So help him do this by simplifying the text as much as possible. Just choose a default style and eliminate any additional elements. You can also use a free tool like WiseStamp for making accurate signatures.

Proofread everything

Details make the difference between careless and hard-working candidates. Create a good first impression with flawless texts by proofreading them before hitting the send button. If you need help, try free applications like Proofreadbot or Plagtracker to eliminate any possible misspellings or grammar errors.

Stay professional

Remember NOT to use things like emoticons in official e-mails and documents. Also, abbreviations are out of question. Stay away from bright colors and funny fonts. Humor is also not well regarded in these contexts.

Gain some professional experience through freelance platforms

There are some freelance communities out there, which are open to talented young employees without experience. The essential goal of these platforms is to connect clients with people who are ready for creative and well-paid work. The list of the freelance platforms for students include:

1. Studentfreelance.
2. FreelancerCareers.
3. Studentsthatfreelance.
4. Freelancer.
5. Guru.

Apply to appropriate jobs for your expertise

Because there are a small number of jobs on the market and tons of unemployed people, the situation gets out of hand. Individuals are becoming desperate, and they apply to posts without even being qualified for them. But this method won’t bring you any success – employers filter applications very carefully. They only select the candidates fit for interviews.

So apply to jobs from your field and add efficient cover letters. Stick to specific skills and abilities and forget about stuffing like I’m a serious and hard working person.

Respect the submission rules

Some companies post jobs on specific platforms, but they don’t allow you to apply there. Instead, employers indicate candidates to go to the company’s website, create an account and submit the application there. Sure, this process takes more time than applying with a single click. But if you want to be taken into consideration, you must follow the rules.

Some businesses go even further – they don’t accept attached resumes, but require filling in online forms on their platform. This is really time consuming, but it may be worth the effort.

Run a final check

Better safe than sorry, remember? After finishing all the previous processes, read everything once again. Spell-check programs don’t catch all grammar mistakes, so it is up to you to eliminate them.

Have a friend nearby or a relative? Ask for their opinion on a fresh reading of the text. A new pair of eyes will for sure spot some tiny errors. Additionally, they can tell in an instant if the style is appropriate or not. Practically use their criticism and make the necessary changes until the cover letter is nothing less than perfect.

Melinda Osteen is a writer and an editor who features the latest writing and studying trends in her articles and intends to share her knowledge with young specialists. She works as a writing expert and an editor at Papersgear writing service.

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