Best cover letter/e-mail intro

Today, I received the best e-mail cover letter ever. Sometimes the ones designed to jump out at recruiters are more flash than substance. What I liked  about this one:

-no goofy salutation (Dearest Heather, Mr. Hamilton, Mrs. Hamilton, Dear Heath, Mr. Ham, Sirs, etc.). Incidentally, if you contact me and need to use a salutation, “Hi Heather” is perfectly fine. I’m neither a man nor married and my old e-mail address is an uncomfortable contraction of my first and last names.

-He anticipated questions about relocation and work authorization and answered them early in the e-mail

-One short paragraph highlighted the level of work he is looking for, years of experience and highlight companies on his resumes

-He highlighted results. He happened to be a sales candidate, so he gave a percentage of quota (I forwarded it along to the sales recruiting team…I know they appreciate the same kind of info as I)

-The text was in the body of the e-mail

-It was short

This might sound bad to people looking for a position (it’s reality though), but recruiters don’t want to spend much time reading a cover letter (cover letters aren’t a substitute for building a relationship…I’d try to do that over the phone though). They want to spend a little bit of time to get a few key pieces of info and if you can be brief and provide that info, recruiters will notice. I do not recommend attaching a cover letter in a separate document (probably won’t get read). I would also recommend keeping your e-mail intro well above the fold in the e-mail. Don’t feel like you have to comply with cover letter standards of the past (you know, like making it look pretty on an 8.5 x 11 page…please, don’t bother). Here’s the way to think of it: would you rather that the recruiter spends time reading a long cover letter or spends that time finding you a position?

Brevity rules.

Comments (9)

  1. PatriotB says:

    For those of us who apply online using the Resume Builder, should we somewhere put something in resembling a "cover letter"? Or is just using the Resume Builder how it is good enough?

  2. Andrei Ignat says:

    Can you post the letter ( without, of course, the name of the person ) ?

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Nope-all candidate e-mails I receive are in confidence. Can’t post that without the person’s permission and I don’t want to make him feel like he has to give me permission.

    Trust me, it was nothing magical…just really straight forward and concise.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    I forgot to answer PatriotB (sorry). I fyou use resume builder, it goes directly into the system so no cover letter necessary. I have to admit though that I am not a big fan of the resume builder resumes. It doens’t impact the keyword search funcitonality of our database at all, but format-wise, I thikn it’s less compelling. Having said that, if you already submitted via the resume builder, you can always submit another "cut and paste" version (definitely not held against folks to have 2 different kinds of resumes in the system).

  5. Vignes says:

    Wow! An insight from an industry expert. I really liked the blog. Incidentally I was searching the web on how to write a good cover letter. Your comments are pretty straight forward & honest. Thanks!

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    I’m not sure about "expert" but I sure have an opinion on all of this stuff!

  7. Mari Miller says:

    If  you are applying for a position at a music company should you attach a sample of your music if they did not ask in the ad?

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    I would but consider the size of the file. Perhaps you can send them a link to the music?

  9. Laura Paris says:

    Wow, what a fantastic article. This is really interesting and excellent post. Thanks very much

    If anyone is interested, there is more info on cover letters here