As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. If you're doing a job search or resume submission via email, the first impression any employer will have is from your cover letter.
Some tips for creating successful email cover letters are the same as for paper cover letters: Be professional, with correct spelling and grammar, and -- very important -- do use them. Other tips pertain only to the electronic medium, and when disregarded, could ruin your chances before your foot is in the door.
Here's what you should you consider when crafting an email cover letter.
Don't Waste Your Subject Line
What you write in the subject line can determine whether your letter gets read, according to Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert and author of Manners That Sell. "Don't ever leave the subject line of your email blank and don't waste it by just inserting the job number," Ramsey says. "The subject line should be clear and specific to the job you're looking for." An example: "Bilingual CPA seeks account manager position."
Use Standard Cover Letter Protocol
Write your letter as the body of the email and include a salutation (use the receiver's actual name if you know it) and a standard closing. ("Sincerely" or "Warm regards" work well.) Leave blank lines between paragraphs, and use appropriate signature and closing lines. Include all the information in your signature line you would have on your business card, including snail mail address, phone number and email address. "Remember, your email address doesn't always automatically show up on the receiver's email program," Ramsey says.
Keep It Short and Dynamic
Managers and recruiters are busy. They want to get the gist of your pitch in 150 words or fewer. The first paragraph is crucial, according to Ramsey. "Hook the reader in the first paragraph by selling him or her your abilities," she says. "Use short paragraphs and short sentences to give a very brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them, and wrap it up in the second paragraph."