what-to-write-in-email-when-sending-resume-and-cover-letter
28 February

What to write in email when sending resume and cover letter

Improve your job application emails
Table of contents
  1. Cover letters have a big impact
  2. Expert insights for the perfect email and cover letter
  3. The perfect job application email
  4. Wrapping up
1.
Cover letters have a big impact

I know how stressful and time consuming a job search is. In fact, I've been through it more than once over the past few years. For those in the midst of this pursuit, don’t just submit your resume on job search sites without further action. Instead, include a few introductory words about yourself in a cover letter. Now more than ever, it's crucial to make both your resume and cover letter stand out from other candidates. 

To tackle this challenge, I consulted experts who know exactly what recruiters are looking for. I spoke with hiring representatives across various industries and gathered insider tips and tricks to help you land your dream job — from crafting an attention-grabbing subject line to designing an email that underscores your qualifications.

Cover letters have a big impact

  • 83% of HR pros believe that cover letters boost interview chances (even if your resume isn’t great), but only 35% of candidates submit them
  • 61% of recruiters require cover letters for vacancies advertised through automated online tools, such as job boards and career sites;
  • 77% of recruiters will give preference to candidates who submit a cover letter, even when it is optional;
  • 61% of hiring managers believe that a resume and cover letter should be customized for each specific vacancy and company;
  • 58% of candidates are likely to be rejected if typos are found in their cover letter or resume.

Expert insights for the perfect email and cover letter

Subject lines that stand out

It is known that 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line. I asked our experts which subject lines immediately grab their attention and encourage them to open an email. Here are their responses.

Expert

Valeriia Samoilova,
Valeriia Samoilova,
Head of Recruitment at Stripo.

What would get my attention? 

  1. Being addressed personally. That is personalization. 
  2. If someone outlines how they can be of service to the company and the areas they can assist in, this can be an excellent method to address the company's challenges, making their resume appealing.
  3. Be creative, but don't forget that this is still business correspondence. Once, I took a course for recruiters where they talked about how to attract the attention of a candidate. There was a subject line called "pick-up." First, you make a joke, and then you write to the point. It looks funny, but there is a high risk of making a bad joke. So maybe you should focus on some "decorations" like emojis. I'm more impressed when the subject line matches the content of the email.
  4. Alternatively, add the main criteria from the vacancy to the subject line, showing that your experience matches the company's vacancy. 
  5. If you have been recommended by a company employee, mention them in the subject line.

Expert

Anna Lutsenko,
Talent Acquisition Specialist.

A good subject line from a candidate that grabs my attention right away should be personal, mention the job they want, and quickly highlight what makes them special or excited. For example, "Application for Marketing Manager: Ready to achieve great results." This is clear and makes me want to read more because it shows what the email is about and what the candidate offers.

Expert

Julia Voronina,
Senior Talent Acquisition at SkyUp Airlines.

The subject line should be short, clear, and attractive. For example: "I am interested in your vacancy: I have experience in tourism and marketing" or "I am ready to join your team as a Marketing Manager." I want the subject line to make me realize that this candidate might be a good fit for a particular position.

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Dos and don'ts for an effective cover letter

Next, we discuss what words, phrases, or elements in a cover letter attract or repel hiring managers.

Expert

Valeriia Samoilova,
Valeriia Samoilova,
Head of Recruitment at Stripo.

Avoid:

  • spelling and grammatical errors: Errors that go beyond the occasional typo and suggest a deeper lack of proficiency are particularly concerning;
  • overuse of generic phrases: Phrases like "stress-resistant," "sociable," and "responsible" are too vague and contribute little to understanding a candidate's unique qualities;
  • mentioning negative experiences: Although interesting, candidly discussing past negative experiences, such as being fired for theft, can significantly detract from a candidate's appeal. Similarly, detailed explanations about dismissals at each past job, especially with negative comments about former employers, can create a negative impression;
  • aggressive self-presentation: A confrontational tone or overly demanding language in application materials can be off-putting. While confidence is key, there's a fine line between asserting one's qualifications and seeming presumptuous;
  • excessively long text: Be concise, don't describe your entire life story 🙂;
  • unsubstantiated claims: Terms like "unique," "unsurpassed," and "the best" trigger skepticism unless backed by concrete evidence.

Use:

  • specific results and achievements: Applications that quantify achievements and results are highly regarded; emphasizing personal and team accomplishments demonstrates capability and leadership;
  • relevance to the vacancy: Tailoring the presentation of skills and experience to the job's specific requirements shows a candidate's potential value to the organization directly;
  • personalized cover letters: Customizing a cover letter to reflect the company's values, the specifics of the job description, or notable aspects of the company's work demonstrates genuine interest;
  • error-free and polite tone: Attention to detail, evidenced by an error-free application, and maintaining a friendly and professional tone throughout are essential;
  • emphasis on self-development: For positions ranging from intern to mid-level, highlighting ongoing self-improvement efforts, such as reading relevant books or taking courses, can be very appealing.

Expert

Kateryna Siroshenko,
Senior IT Recruiter at EPAM Systems.

I agree that you need to be concise. For me, it is enough to simply point out a few things about yourself and why you are suitable for the position.

Expert

Anna Lutsenko,
Talent Acquisition Specialist.

Avoid:

  • cliches and overly general statements: Statements like "hard working" or "detail oriented" should be backed up with specific examples or avoided if they are not supported by evidence;
  • inappropriate content: Phrases like "looking for a job to pay the bills" can be seen as insincere and inappropriate;
  • overuse of buzzwords: Using buzzwords without providing meaningful context or examples can be off-putting;
  • lack of personalization to the company or role: This can be seen to indicate a lack of genuine interest;
  • negative language or self-criticism: Focus on your strengths and how you can contribute to the company rather than dwelling on negatives.

Use:

  • enthusiasm: Show genuine interest in the industry, field, or role you are applying for. Example phrase: "passionate about (industry/field)";
  • relevant skills: Clearly state how your skills and achievements align with the job requirements. Example phrase: "proven track record of (relevant skills or achievements)";
  • alignment with company values and mission: Mention how you can contribute to specific aspects of the company or role. Example phrase: "happy to contribute to (a specific aspect of the company/role)";
  • eagerness to learn and grow: Indicate your willingness to develop professionally within the company. Example phrase: "eager to learn and grow";
  • effective communication: Mention your strong communication skills and ability to work well in a team. Example phrases: "strong communication skills," "team player";
  • ability to be innovative and results oriented: Highlight your ability to think outside the box and focus on achieving tangible outcomes. Example phrases: "innovative thinker," "results oriented."

Expert

Julia Voronina,
Senior Talent Acquisition at SkyUp Airlines.

A recruiter always has a list of skills and abilities that a candidate should possess for a specific vacancy. Therefore, I am interested in emails that provide a concise and clear description of work experience or expertise relevant to the industry or position. It will be an added advantage if the candidate specifies which skills align with the job requirements.

Based on my experience as a recruiter, I find certain words or expressions to be off-putting, such as:

  • general or vague statements without specific examples or achievements;
  • overly long or complex sentences that make it difficult to understand the message;
  • an unstructured presentation of thoughts, which may give the impression of inefficient communication skills.

In summary, an effective cover letter should emphasize the candidate's passion, relevant skills, and genuine interest in the company and role, while avoiding generalities, insincerity, and irrelevant information.

Real-life success stories

I also asked the experts to share their memorable experiences of candidate emails that left a lasting impression.

Expert

Valeriia Samoilova,
Valeriia Samoilova,
Head of Recruitment at Stripo.

One story sticks in my mind. It's about a compassionate recruiter and a dedicated developer. We had an opening for an Intern/Junior Java Developer. Candidates did not necessarily have to have commercial development experience, but a completed higher technical education was one of the key requirements.

I received an application from a young man who had dropped out of his third year of study due to family circumstances. Despite the overwhelming number of applications for this position, I couldn't just dismiss him. His message was sincere and passionate, demonstrating a keen interest in development, so I decided to advocate for him and convinced the hiring manager to give him a chance.

Five years on, he has become a Senior Java Developer in our company, playing a pivotal role in a major logistics project with a client in the UK.

Expert

Kateryna Siroshenko,
Senior IT Recruiter at EPAM Systems.

I can't provide a specific example, but when someone writes personally and not from a template, you want to respond to such a person first and foremost. You might even want to offer advice or assistance in some way, even if there are currently no vacancies in their field.

Expert

Anna Lutsenko,
Talent Acquisition Specialist

One inspiring case from my practice involved a candidate who, despite initial rejections, persevered in improving his skills. Eventually, he landed a position that met his goals through active networking and continuous self-improvement. This story emphasizes the importance of resilience, perseverance, and strategic networking in the job search process.

Expert

Julia Voronina,
Senior Talent Acquisition at SkyUp Airlines.

I recently spoke with a candidate from Poland. Since I do not speak Polish, I communicate with such candidates in English. He noticed my Ukrainian phone number in the contacts and asked, "Can I answer in our language?". It turned out he was Ukrainian. This story exemplifies how paying attention to small details can reveal something in common and build positive feelings towards each other.

By the way, if you are a recruiter who has stumbled upon this article, we recommend reviewing the guidelines on how to optimize your interview assignment emails.

The perfect job application email

So, having taken into account all the tips and tricks from our experts, I decided to create a good job application email with Stripo editor. I selected two designs: one colorful and the other calm.

Cover letter example for creative specialists

(Source: Stripo template)

Perhaps the design of a job application email may not be crucial in all industries. But if you are a creative professional, you should definitely pay attention to it. Among Stripo's ready-made templates, you will find a lot of bright solutions that take only a few minutes to work with and do not require any coding skills.

A simple cover letter example

(Source: Stripo template)

It's worth noting that you can save all elements with important information as modules, and then mix and add them to your other emails.

And, as our experts have already noted, in such important emails, proofreading is a must. You can easily check the text for errors right in the Stripo editor with built-in GenAI.

Proofreading with Stripo editor

(Source: Stripo editor)

Review of text and design by recruiters

Expert

Valeriia Samoilova,
Valeriia Samoilova,
Head of Recruitment at Stripo.

The text is excellent; it includes a general description of your experience, emphasizes the "features" of the company to which you are sending your resume, and also presents skill sets along with a description of your successes that should further interest the employer.

Regarding the design, I think the second option will be used more frequently because it is as "neutral" as possible. However, purple will most likely be chosen by designers, salespeople, or marketers. This is just my speculation. If I were to choose, I would opt for the first design, but in a different color, for example, pale blue—not so bright.

Expert

Kateryna Siroshenko,
Senior IT Recruiter at EPAM Systems.

The text is good; perhaps I would make it a bit shorter, but that's not crucial. Regarding the color and font, I prefer the more minimalist version.

Expert

Julia Voronina,
Senior Talent Acquisition at SkyUp Airlines.

Regarding the text, I really like it! I also loved the icons with links to Behance, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as they allow immediate access to social media profiles. Concerning the design, in the initial few seconds, the vibrant colors tend to divert my attention away from the text. However, after 10 seconds, I adjusted to it and began focusing on the text. So, perhaps I would opt for a simpler design. But that colorful design will indeed attract attention, especially if the candidate is in a design-related profession. It will immediately indicate to the hiring manager the type of professional they are considering. Designers can quickly gauge each other's level based on the visuals they see.

Considering the feedback, I have decided to create another version of the email containing my resume and cover letter, this time using more subdued colors.

Cover letter example with a neutral design

(Source: Stripo template)

By the way, we offer a wide selection of email templates for freelancers tailored to various client interaction scenarios.

Email signatures

I also want to emphasize the importance of including a detailed email signature in your job applications to enhance your professionalism and visibility. Ensure your signature contains your name, career focus, contact information, LinkedIn profile, and links to your portfolio or projects. This helps potential employers to better understand your skills and fit for their team. 

Adding a signature to your emails can also help prevent them from being marked as spam, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful delivery. This, in turn, improves your chances of gaining attention.

Email signature example

(Source: Stripo signature generator)

I specifically did not include a photo in this example because, in some countries, it's believed that including a photo with a job application can be distracting. However, should you require it, our editor allows for the easy addition of a photo either within the email design or in the signature, depending on your preference.

Would you like to create your own signature design in a couple of minutes? Use Stripo's signature generator for free.

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Wrapping up

Through this guide, we've equipped you with recommendations from expert recruiters, showcased examples of emails that are not just effective but also aesthetically pleasing, and demonstrated how you can leverage Stripo's services to create professional-looking emails and signatures in mere minutes. These tools and insights are designed to set you apart in a competitive job market, ensuring your application captures the attention and admiration of recruiters.

Whether you're actively searching for a new opportunity or considering a career change, by applying the strategies and tools we've discussed, you're not just sending an application: you're making a statement about your professionalism, attention to detail, and dedication to your career aspirations. We wish you success on your career path!

Improve your job application emails with Stripo
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