As the world transitions from paper copies to electronic forms, so does the job market. A lot of offers and scholarships that appear on websites such as Monster.com or Craigslist.org only accept electronic submissions. You should always follow the employer's instructions when it comes to sending in a cover letter and resume, but there are a few key differences between the two forms that you should be aware of before you begin.
Use email when responding to online offers, or when you need to convey a cover letter to someone quickly rather than formally. It is not recommended for any academic requests unless you know the recipient well. Email tends to come off as less important or formal and can be easily lost in the sheer amount of correspondence that most people get every day.
When writing an email cover letter:
- You need a subject line. Cover letters with blank subject lines will be ignored or deleted. Make it relevant and to the point. If you are applying to be a fourth grade teacher, put "4th Grade Teacher Position" as well as your name so that the recipient can easily find your email at a later point.
- Start with the salutation.
- You don't need to put the date on top. Your email will be tagged with both the date and the time that you sent it.
- You don't need the recipient's information block on top.
- Your information block (address, email, phone number) does not go at the top. It goes underneath your name.
- You don't need to leave as much space between "sincerely" and your name, because you're not actually signing the letter.
- You don't need to include your home or office address in an email, unless you want or expect the recipient to send you a hard copy of something. Once you've established electronic correspondence most people don't switch to hardcopy.
- In your "signature block" under your name, include your name, phone number, email address and (optionally) your LinkedIn profile if you believe it will help.
Use hardcopy when you are replying to a job advertisement in the newspaper, from a flyer, or when requesting a recommendation or referral. Always use it for academic requests. It is formal and therefore more eye-catching, but it is also slower than email and more easily lost or misplaced.
When writing a hardcopy cover letter:
- Start with the information block. List your address, phone number and email address.
- Put the date.
- Put the recipient's name, title, company, address.
- Then put in the salutation.
- At the end, leave three blank lines between "sincerely" and your name so you can add your signature.
- Optionally, write [enc: resume] beneath your name if it applies.
Index of Cover Letter Examples