How To Send an Email Cover Letter (With Steps, Tips and Example)
Updated July 31, 2023
In today's business world, including a cover letter as an attachment is the norm—whether as part of an online job application or in an email. Cover letter emails highlight your accomplishments and motivate the hiring manager to read your resume and set up an interview.
In this article, we offer advice on the best ways to prepare an email cover letter, the important steps you should take before sending it, and an example cover letter.
Save your cover letter in an easy-to-read format such as a .pdf or .doc/.docx.
Write an informative, concise subject line such as “Greg Washington - Accounting Associate Cover Letter.”
Use a professional, neutral greeting like, “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Stacy Small.”
Follow the employer's instructions to decide how to attach your file.
"Cover Letter Format" is the title of this infographic that shows an image of an example email.
On the left side of the infographic, a numbered list identifies each section of the cover letter:
Date and contact information
Salutation or greeting
Letter ending and signature
The cover letter reads:
January 23, 20XX
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to be applying for the web developer position at [Company Name]. I’ve been programming websites and using CSS to create user-friendly experiences since I was in middle school, so it’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve also been intrigued by your company since it won Most Innovative at the National Web Development Awards two years ago. I strive to stay on the cutting edge of web design and development, so when I saw this job posting, I knew I had to apply.
During my previous role at [Company Name], I built a website completely from scratch for a recently rebranded business both ahead of schedule and within budget. I started by gathering requirements for my clients and holding a focus group to perform user research. My favorite part of web design is building a solution that impresses the client and meets the needs of users and customers. My new website was responsive, extremely fast, and included the latest e-commerce features. After launch, I continued to lead optimization efforts. Through AB testing, I improved the click-through rate by 10% and reduced the bounce rate on the website’s landing page by 35%. As your web developer, I would bring the skills to develop websites that exceed the expectations of clients and customers and drive real business results.
Sincerely, Anne Galindo
How to email a cover letter
Follow these instructions when emailing your cover letter:
1. Follow company instructions
Email cover letters can generally be sent in one of two ways: as an email attachment or as the body of your email. Before sending your cover letter, check the company’s job application guidelines. Some companies prefer attachments, while others prefer them to be in the body of your email message. Keep in mind that if you don’t follow the employer’s instructions, your application may not be considered.
2. Use a professional email address
When submitting a cover letter via email, your email address matters. Use a professional email address made up of your first and last name: email@example.com. If your full name is already taken, try using a combination of your name and initials (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org). Avoid using nicknames or numbers.
3. Add an informative subject line
A straightforward, informative subject line increases the chances that the recruiter or hiring manager will open your email. Since employers may be hiring for several positions, it’s important that they can immediately identify which role you’re applying for before they open the email.
In less than 60 characters, include your full name and the job title. Possible ways to structure your email subject line include:
Cover Letter – Job Title – Your Name
Cover Letter: Your Name for Job Title
Your Name Cover Letter: Job Title
Related: How To Write a Professional Email
4. Send your cover letter as an email attachment
Attach your cover letter to the email only if the job posting specifically requests it, especially since some companies automatically block emails with attachments to prevent computer viruses.
5. Save your file correctly
Save your file as a .doc or .pdf to preserve the original appearance of your cover letter. Additionally, change the file name to First Name-Last Name-Cover-Letter (e.g. Alice-Smith-Cover-Letter.doc) to make it easier for the hiring manager to view your cover letter once they’ve downloaded it from the email.
6. Attach your cover letter to the email
To attach your cover letter, create a new email message in your email program and choose the paperclip icon. Browse through the files on your computer to find your cover letter and click to attach it to the email.
7. Include a brief email message
Write a simple message in the body of the email to let the hiring manager know you’ve attached your cover letter. Never leave the email message blank, since it can confuse whoever opens it. Your short email message might look like this:
Dear Ms. Garcia,
Please see my attached resume and cover letter for the [Job Title] position.
Let me know if you would like any more information.
Thank you for your consideration!
8. Send your cover letter as the body of an email
If the employer does not accept attachments—or they do not specify how to send your cover letter—it’s best to simply copy and paste your cover letter into the body of the email. This way, the hiring manager will see your cover letter as soon as they open your email, instead of having to download an attachment to view it.
Once you’ve pasted your cover letter into the email body, remove the date and contact information from the top left-hand corner. Double-check that your email displays properly since sometimes copying and pasting content from a Word or PDF document can skew email formatting. Use the default font and styling of your email program.
9. Include an email signature
Don’t forget to add the proper email signature to close your email and make it easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you. Your email signature might look something like this:
First Name Last Name
10. Send yourself a test email
Before you click send, make sure your attachments are working properly by sending yourself a test message. Download the attachment from your test email to ensure it’s the correct file and double-check your spelling, grammar, and formatting before sending your final cover letter email to the hiring manager.
Email cover letter example
Subject Line: Christine Johnson Cover Letter: Customer Service Manager
Dear Mr. Harrison,
In the last year alone, I’ve built a customer service team from the ground up, reduced the average customer representative call time by 2 minutes, and decreased customer churn by nearly 10% with an improved customer follow-up system. These experiences have prepared me for the role of Customer Service Manager at Company XYZ.
In my current role at ABC Inc., I oversee the day-to-day activities of a 30-person support team, using data to establish clear goals and objectives. I provide coaching and training to nurture a high-performance team. I’ve created a comprehensive customer service training manual to reduce the new-hire onboarding process from one month to two weeks. While managing the team, I also engage directly with customers. I resolve an average of 50+ escalated customer service issues per week and implement automation to make customer service processes faster and more efficient.
I am a great match for this role because I am both data-driven and customer-focused. I am passionate about motivating employees to achieve sales goals, and I am skilled at uncovering actionable insights with data to drive customer loyalty and provide outstanding customer care. As the Customer Service Manager at your company, I would dedicate myself to growing and empowering the support team to effectively solve customer pain points.
Thank you for your consideration. I’m excited to learn more about this opportunity from you.
Frequently asked questions
What's the purpose of an email cover letter?
When you send an email cover letter to a hiring manager, they can read through the document to learn more about you as a candidate. They can discover why you want to work for the company and how your current skills can help you contribute to the hiring organization's success. An email cover letter may supplement a job application or resume that you provide to the hiring manager.
Can I use my personal email address to send an email cover letter?
If you have an email address with an unprofessional handle, consider creating a new email account. Ensure your new email account contains some version of your first and last name. Use this email account to send your application materials, including a cover letter, for all future positions to which you want to apply.
Can I email my cover letter in a file format other than the .pdf or .docx format?
The .pdf and .docx file formats are some of the most common file formats, so consider only using these formats for emailing your cover letter. This can prevent potential challenges with opening your cover letter or other application materials. If you can't attach either file format, consider copying and pasting the plain text into the email's body. Adjust the spacing accordingly to create a final product that's easy for the hiring manager to read.
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