How To Lay Out A Cover Letter Email Casual

When you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume, and to make sure that your email cover letters are written as well as any other correspondence you send. Even though it's quick and easy to send an email, it doesn't mean that you should write anything less than a detailed cover letter focused on why you are a good match for the job you are applying. Above all, when you email an employer, you must demonstrate the same respect and courtesy as you would if you were meeting that employer face to face.So, it is extremely important to show proper manners, or etiquette, through your writing.
How do I compose an email to someone I don't know?
There are a few important points to remember when composing email, particularly when the email's recipient is a superior and/or someone who does not know you.
  • Be sure to include a meaningful subject line;
  • Just like a written business letter, be sure to use address your audience with the proper formality.
  • Begin your email with a salutation, or greeting:
    • Dear Dr. Jones, or
    • Ms. Smith:
  • Use standard spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
    • Do not use text language
  • Do not, under any circumstance, use emoticons:
    • It is forbidden to use anything like J or L
  • Write clear, short paragraphs and be direct and to the point.
    • Employers see their email accounts as business. Don't write unnecessarily long emails or otherwise waste the employer's time
  • Be friendly and cordial, but don't try to joke around
    • witty remarks may be uncalled for and, more commonly, may not come off appropriately in email
  • Include your cover letter and resume as instructed by the employer
    • As separate attachments, or
    • As pasted into the body of your email

The Subject Line of Your Message

Make sure you list the position you are applying for in the subject line of your email address, so the employer is clear as to what job you are applying for. This helps clarify what your message is about and may also help the employer prioritize reading your email.Be sure to include the job code if one was given in the job posting.

The level of formality you write with should be determined by the expectations of your audience and your purpose. For example, if you are writing a cover letter for a job, you would write in a formal style. If you are writing a letter to a friend, writing something personal, you would use a more informal style.

Here is an example:

Formal (Written to an unknown audience):

I am applying for the customer service associate position advertised in the Denver Post. I am an excellent candidate for the job because of my significant retail experience, my good language skills, and my sense of courtesy and respect. I have attached a cover letter and a resume as you requested in your job posting.

Informal (Incorrect):

Hi!!!!!! J I like read that u was lookin for a associate or whatever. I think that i’m good for that job cuz i've done stuff like that b4, am good with words, and am good at not disrespectin people and stuff. Text me if u want 2 c my rez. Thx!!!! J

Emailing a cover letter

There are two main ways employers like to receive resumes and cover letters:

  • pasted into the body of an email and
  • as separate attachments

Sending separate attachments

Unless an employer specifically asks for you to include your cover letter and your resume in the body of your email, send them as separate email attachments.You should always write a real cover letter and attach it to the email. Your letter may be passed around from one manager to the next, and a printed or photocopied email used in that situation looks unprofessional; it looks as if you didn't bother to write a letter.

Send your cover letter and resume as separate PDFs or separate Word documents, because those two forms of electronic documents are the most common.

Pasting a cover letter and resume in the body of an email

Some employers do not accept email attachments. In these cases, paste your resume into your email message. Use a simple font and remove the fancy formatting. Don't use HTML. You don't know what email program the employer is using, so keep your message simple, because the employer may not see a formatted message the same way you do.

But how, then, should you use the email?

Your email should give enough information about you and about the goal of your communication so that you could be contacted – even without the attachments.

  • Always use an informative signature when you apply for a job. Use a signature that is informative.Include your name, address, phone, and a professional looking email address.

For example

Mr. Smith:

I am a recent graduate of McLain Community High School applying for a customer service position with your store. I have attached the resume, cover letter and transcript that you requested to this email. If you have questions or need more information, you may reach me through the phone number or email below.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Your name
Your address
Your phone

Your email

Send a Test Message
Send the message to yourself first to test that the formatting works. If everything looks good, resend to the employer.

Double Check Your Letter
Make sure you spell check and check your grammar and capitalization. They are just as important in an email cover letter as in paper cover letters.

What sorts of information shouldn't be sent via email?

Most people do not realize that email is not as private as it may seem. Without additional setup, email is not encrypted; meaning that your email is "open" and could possibly be read by an unintended person as it is sent to your reader. With that in mind, never send the following information over email:

  • Usernames and passwords
  • Credit card or other account information

Additionally, avoid sensitive information, complaints, or gossip that could be potentially damaging to someone's career and/or reputation, including your own. Beyond email's general lack of security and confidentiality, your recipient can always accidentally hit the Forward button, leave her email account open on a computer, or print and forget that she's printed a copy of your email.

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For a long time, I dreaded seeing those five words at the end of an amazing job listing: “Please include a cover letter.”

I absolutely hated cover letters. I found them unnecessary, boring, and anxiety-inducing. After all, if I didn’t write them perfectly, wouldn’t that completely stop me from getting a job, even if everything else checked out?

As I began to write more and more cover letters, I realized something crucial: there’s an incredibly obvious pattern to writing these in a way that doesn’t come across as robotic or awkward. In fact, after I figured out the formula, cover letter writing became the easiest part of putting together a job application—yes, really!

At this point, I’ve written hundreds of cover letters and have helped dozens of people with their own, and I’ve got crafting them down to a science. Whether you’re writing a more casual cover email to a small tech startup or writing a formal cover letter to a huge tech corporation, here’s the step-by-step guide to writing a rockstar message that gets you hired.

Header: Keep in Line With the Industry

When starting your cover letter, the big question is, should you provide any information in your header? In a cover email, it’s not necessary (after all, it’d look awkward to have random personal contact information at the top of a post), but with formal cover letters, it becomes trickier.

A general rule of thumb: Usually larger companies or those in more formal industries require a header for your cover letter; smaller companies or startups usually don’t.

What should go into your header if you need one? First, put the date you’re writing the letter, followed by your name, address, phone number, and email address. Then, skip a line on the page and include the name of the person your cover letter is addressing, that person’s title within the company, and the company’s address.

If you’ve tried to find the name of the person who will be reviewing your application and have had no luck, or if you know that a non-descript group will be looking at it (for example the “Tech Fellowship Selection Committee”), feel free to put that in the header instead of the name of the person.

“To” Line: Establish a Rapport

As noted above, figuring out to whom you should address your cover email or letter is tricky business, especially if the company you’re applying to gives zero indication of who that could be.

If you really want to dazzle a company by personally addressing someone, feel free to shoot a quick email to the company’s support line, or if you know someone who’s definitely involved in the hiring person, reach out to a specific employee within the company. Didn’t get a clear response or just got radio silence? There are other approaches you can take.

If you’re sending a cover email, you have the ability to be a little more informal. Drop the “To Whom It May Concern” entirely, and opt for a simple “Hi there…” or “Hi [Company] team…”

If you’re writing a more formal cover letter, you can still avoid the dreaded “To Whom It May Concern.” If you want to keep it broad, feel free to address it “To [Company’s] Tech Fellowship Panel” or “Dear [Company] team.”

Sentence 1: Introduce Yourself in an Interesting Way

Regardless of if you’re using a cover email or cover letter, the first sentence of your email should have more oomph than using the tired “I’m applying for X role…” or “My name is…”

Why should you avoid these situations? First, chances are the hiring manager already knows what you’re applying for from all of your other application materials. Additionally, you name is elsewhere in your message (for instance, your header or in the sender line of the email), so including that information is redundant.

So how can you open with something that’ll grab someone’s attention and take your message seriously? Here are some of my favorites (that have helped me get hired!):

  • Use a quote that best describes you. There’s a reason why so many great speeches and messages start off with quotes from others: They’re effective.
  • Include your personal tagline. Some professionals have created a tagline or personal motto for themselves. If you’ve thought of one and it shows why you would be great at the job you’re applying for, use it.
  • Write a (very) short anecdote. If there’s a striking way to show your most important professional attribute in a sentence or two, use it!


Paragraph 1: Explain Why You’re Excited About This Role

Once you’ve caught a hiring manager’s attention, it’s time to finish up your first paragraph by explaining why you’re excited about the role.

This “paragraph” should be short (only two or three sentences) to briefly explain who you are (what’s your education background and current role?) and why you love the company and want to work there.

Regardless of if you’re writing a cover email or formal cover letter, be sure that your reasons relate back to the job listing in some way. Steer clear of vague language that isn’t descriptive or thought-provoking (“I’m excited to work with a cool team!”).

Think of it this way: If you could swap out the name of the company for another organization and your reasons for loving the company still make sense, you need to get more specific.

Paragraph 2: Hone in on the Company’s Pain Point

Once you’ve briefly but effectively established why you love that specific company and your potential role, it’s time to turn your attention to the second paragraph.

The biggest question you need to ask yourself: What is this company’s pain point? In other words, what is the main objective for the company to be hiring this role? Obviously, they wouldn’t create a listing and find money in the budget unless they needed someone, so focus on the main problem they would solve by hiring you.

Once you’ve established that you understand a company’s pain point, it’s time for you to shine by answering this crucial question: Why are you uniquely qualified to take on that position and fix that pain point over other people?

To do that, give one or two short and specific examples based on your past experience. Want to keep your anecdotes from dragging on? Here’s my favorite formula for keeping it short, sweet, and effective:

  • Sentence 1: Briefly introduce the skill or ability.
  • Sentence 2: Explain a scenario where you showcased this skill.
  • Sentence 3: Give the result. If you can do so with numbers or other tangible data, that’s ideal.

This section is also a good time to quickly mention (in one or two sentences) anything that a hiring manager may have questions about after reading your resume and other materials (for instance, an obvious two-year employment gap). Feel free to explain you’re willing to further elaborate in an interview or through any follow-up.

Paragraph 3: Wrap It Up

Your wrap-up should be short (only two or three sentences) to reiterate the following:

  • Your excitement about this role.
  • Your appreciation for the company taking the time to read your materials.
  • Where the company can contact you with any further questions.
  • Call-outs to any attachments (if you include them in a cover email) or relevant links (if you include them in a cover letter).

That’s it! Don’t drag on the end of your email or letter.

The Sign-Off

Your sign-off may differ based on if you’re writing a cover email or cover letter, so here’s how to tackle each of those.

For your cover email, feel free to sign off with “Best” or “Thank you” and then your name. You can add your email address, phone number, personal website, or portfolio below if you want, but definitely steer clear of having too many links after your name.

For your cover letter, it’s fine to sign off with just your name, especially since all of your contact information is at the beginning of your message. If you really want to add something, feel free to include the easiest mode of contact (like an email address).

Armed with this formula, you’ll never spend hours tearing your hair out over cover letters again. Trust me!

Get Our FREE Guide to the Perfect Email Cover Letter

Learn how to write a cover letter that gets you interviews with our FREE 30+ page ebook.

You can unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. We won't use your email address for anything else, promise!

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