Congratulations! You’re about to send a job application email, which means you’ve actually gotten a hold of the email address for the hiring manager or recruiter of a job you’d like. This puts you ahead of others who are job searching but didn’t do their homework on LinkedIn or work their connections to get to the hiring manager or recruiter you’re trying to reach.
But now that you’ve gotten access to the right email inbox, how do you actually stand out? And why should you take time to craft an email in the first place? Why not just write “Resume and cover letter attached” and cut to the chase? The below examples speak for themselves.
So what’s an example of a good email job application? Here is one that certainly got my attention from the get-go:
Hi fives for describing the perfect fit for this role as someone who would be able to break someone out of a 3rd world prison. My friends and past colleagues have described me as the person they'd want to be stuck with in a zombie/ alien attack.
I'm great at bringing 0 to X. In my last role, I owned and launched 3 major public- private partnerships ($XXXM each): XXXX, XXXX, XXXX. In each city, these hubs were a 1 stop shop for all the tech and startup information. It was my job to understand each city's startup ecosystem and communicate and convey the information externally. As the sole non-developer, it was an employee #1 role, where I worked on both strategy and execution, working in the cross section of content, user acquisition, marketing, business development, community and product.
As a XXX minor, I spend a lot of time thinking about unconscious biases, gender roles, diversity efforts in the workforce and society. Specifically, I'm interested in FairyGodBoss because there's so much potential to alter women's career paths and happiness. Transparency is so important, and this mission aligns with my view of an ideal world.
My resume is attached. Let's chat!
And what about a waste of an email job application?
I am pleased to apply for the position of XXXXXXX. I have attached my resume, a short letter of interest and two writing samples showcasing two of the many different styles I am familiar with writing and editing.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Any guesses on whose resume attachment I ended up opening?
It’s always best to address the hiring manager or interviewer by name. Begin with Mr., Mrs. or Ms. And always include a last name if possible. Also, to emphasize formality, begin with “Dear X.” If you don’t know their name, use Sir or Madam. And always address the reason you are writing within the first sentence of your email, such as, "I am writing in regard to X position."
Always send your resume in either a PDF or Word document. This will ensure the receiver will be able to open the document with ease.
Make sure you include information that the recipient won't know from a quick glance at your resume. Tell an anecdote, or offer the details about particular experiences. Show your personality, while keeping your cover letter professional.
Sign off with a closing remark, such as "I look forward to hearing from you about this position." End with a formal "Sincerely" and your full name.
While every recruiter and hiring manager is different, in my opinion, you should never waste an opportunity to make a better impression—and an email is the first impression you’re going to make. Since by definition someone has to at least open your email before they can download your attached cover letter or resume, they will see right away whether you have the ability to write clearly and communicate effectively.
Even if someone is merely skimming your email (which is most likely the case), your personality has a chance to shine. I’ve read emails that made me smile and laugh, and human nature is such that when that happens, I actually slow down and read more carefully. I’m also much more likely to actually open any attachments, whether they be resumes or cover letters.
Conversely, I’ve seen emails that start off so badly that no matter how good a resume attachment might look, the sad truth is that I’m turned off from reading any further. Many times this email has spelling errors or grammar mistakes or simply goes on for much too long about who they are rather than getting to the point I really want to hear as a hiring manager: why should I hire this person? If I’ve skimmed 3 to 4 first sentences and the answer isn’t apparent, I immediately stop reading and move on. I’m definitely not going to be opening any attachments.
Other people might have more time or more patience, but for me, an opening email is a pretty important part of a job application. Explain why you’re a good fit for the role and include why you’re interested in it right away, in the most compelling way possible.
Every job and person is different, so figuring out and conveying what makes you compelling for it actually requires some thought. Trust me: the thought will be apparent, and so will your personality.
Of course, this will be a lot easier if you actually have a good story to tell. But even if you have little background or experience, everyone has equal access to the ability to say something that demonstrates relevant job qualities or personality characteristics. Examples that are relevant or at least parallel to what you think is required of the open position can be powerful material to include in an email job application. While you could, of course, explain the same thing in a cover letter, if you can’t do it succinctly in an email, you probably need to rehearse it a bit more, anyway.
To learn more about effectively applying for jobs and the hiring process, read:
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