How to Write E-Mail Cover Notes to Introduce Resumes

Use an e-mail cover note to introduce your resume when you need to quickly send out digital copies of your resume. An e-mail cover note isn't the same thing as a cover letter. E-mail cover notes are very short — usually one to three brief paragraphs. You typically send it as a body of text and not as an attachment. Your resume may follow in text or be attached in an MS Word or PDF document.

When you need to do a more persuasive job of self-marketing than a few brief paragraphs allow, follow an e-mail cover note with a cover letter and a resume attached in a single Word or PDF doc, or in separate docs. When you do send two attachments, one for your cover letter and the second for your resume, add a message like this:

Two documents are attached — my cover letter and my resume. Please review. Thank you.

This request, although terse, may put pressure on recruiters to open and look at the e-mail’s attachments.

Here are a few tips for writing your e-mail cover notes:

  • Use a subject line that grabs attention. The subject line of your e-mail sparks a reading of your cover note, which sparks a reading of your resume. Power each one with a sales message that causes the reviewer to keep on scrolling.

  • Mention any connections you have. Use names of mutual friends or other connections in your e-mail cover note to help ensure that your resume gets noticed.

  • List matching qualifications to job requirements. Let the recipient know that you already have the qualifications needed for the job.

  • Try for fresh, eye-catching phrasing. This applies for most positions, unless you’re applying for serious work like buttoned-down banking or brain surgeon jobs.

  • Practice writing your note and keep it short. Send your finished work to yourself and read it over the next day to judge whether it’s still as brilliant as it was the day you wrote it.

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