QUESTION: How do I submit a cover letter now that we don’t mail them anymore? And how long should it be?
There ARE situations for mailing. If responding to an ad, follow its guidelines. Use a clear short subject line. Title your attachment properly. Save so the formatting isn’t compromised. If the guidelines do not request an attached file, include it in the body of your email in plain text. Don’t repeat your resume. Explain the rationale for you to be considered for the position. Length varies.
When emailing your resume, add an e-note into the body of the email, which may be few statements or a couple of brief paragraphs of significance to the hiring manager. When applying online, one ATS may allow uploading a cover letter. Another ATS may have an “Additional Information” section where you may copy and paste the content. Pay attention to the word count / character limits.
You would submit a cover letter in the same manner that you submit the resume. If emailing, the cover letter would be a separate attachment labeled “Cover Letter.” Or, you can include the cover letter in the body of the email with the resume as the only attachment. You may have a better chance of having your cover letter read with this strategy. Cover letters should be no longer than one page.
Read and follow provided instructions; most online applications will allow you to upload more than one document. In that case, upload your resume and cover letter, labeling both correctly. The strongest cover letters are concise and entice the recruiter to read the resume. I aim for 250 – 275 words and highlight the key points from the resume without repeating the information word for word.
A cover letter should highlight your value proposition for your potential employer in approximately 250 words. It can be sent in PDF format in a separate file from your résumé if you are sending both documents by email to a recruiter or hiring manager. If you are applying online, I suggest that you follow the system’s instructions about how many files you can include and the formats accepted.
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