03/06/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Don’t Neglect the Cover Letter’s Cover

Blue send button on a computer keyboard

Keeping track of all the documents necessary in applying to a new position can be overwhelming. You’ve got all the documents that compose your CS&A file—personal statement, resume, recommendations—and, in most cases, it’s also necessary to draft a targeted cover letter specific to each school and position to which you apply. A cover letter is an important and necessary document—it should succinctly express to a school why you are the candidate who will meet its specific needs. While a personal statement can riff a bit on your interests and philosophy, a cover letter should provide a road map for how you can solve a school’s problems and meet its needs.

After pouring energy and strategy into your cover letter, you may find that you inadvertently neglect the very first interaction a school will have with you—the email introducing yourself and attaching your cover letter. No matter how brilliant the content it contains, if your introductory email is sub-par, riddled with typos, or unprofessional, then it may taint your initial connection with a hiring contact.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when drafting that initial email.

1. Make sure your email address is professional.

This seems intuitive, but it’s an important point: your email address should be a representation of your professional self. If your personal address is cutesy or jocular, consider creating an email account solely for job-related communication.

2. Triple-check names and spelling.

The last thing you’ll want to do is alienate a hiring contact before the process has even begun. Double- and triple-check the spelling of both the contact and the school—you don’t want a typo to preclude you from a great opportunity.

3. Keep it short and simple.

It’s important for you to express who you are and why you’re writing, but there’s no need to do much more than that—let your cover letter and the documents you’ve submitted through CS&A do most of the talking. In your email, identify who you are and the position to which you’re applying, then note that you’ve included a cover letter and state that you’re a CS&A candidate. Include a respectful signature, and send it off.

Put your best foot forward right away in your job search.

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