by Denise Rutledge -

Times have changed. You are just as likely to submit a cover letter via email as by post. What is standard for one form of communication isn’t standard for the other. To make the best first impression, you need to know the formatting differences between email and traditional letters.

If you are sending your cover letter by email, move your personal address block to the bottom of your letter. Because you can’t sign an email, your name in the address block replaces the position your signature would fall in a traditional letter.

When sending a cover letter by mail you may choose to have just your name at the top of the letter and place your address, phone and email at the bottom of the letter. Or you can use the more traditional “letterhead” style where all of this information is at the top of the letter.

In either case, be sure you include the following four important details. Include your name, your mailing address, your phone and your email.

Traditional cover letters always include an employer address block, while emails omit this feature. If you don’t include an employer address block in a snail-mail letter, you will look unprofessional and lazy.

Subject lines may be optional in traditional cover letters, even if they do make a good impression. They are essential in the email version. Identify the position you are applying for as the subject of your email. If you have been given a contact person, but are sending the email to an info@*.com address, then include the name of the contact person to your subject. For example: To John Doe regarding Regional Sales Supervisor position.

Certain words in the subject line can trigger spam blockers. Avoid the following trigger terms: Please read. Don’t Delete. Work at Home. Free. Never used quotation marks, question marks or exclamation points.

When you send out a traditional printed cover, it is important to make sure you put a date below the employer address block. If you have also included a subject line, then place the date below that. You need to leave at least one space between the employer address block, one space between the subject line if used and one space between the date and the salutation.

The salutation is your initial greeting. It makes the first impression. Dear Sir or Madam in the absence of a real contact is the safest choice. To Whom It May Concern is also acceptable. Hi is too informal. Hello is gaining acceptance but needs to used carefully.

The body of an email or a traditional letter is essentially the same. Other articles are available on how to make sure you include the right information in your letter.

How you close an email or traditional printed cover is also essentially the same. Choose a complimentary closing that reflects your unique personality. Don’t be chatty, and don’t use anything that could seem personal.

As mentioned already, you will close an email cover letter with an address block. For the print version, you need to leave about four spaces between your complimentary closing and your name, so you have space to sign your name. Be sure to sign your cover letter before you post it. It shows you pay attention to details.

Denise Rutledge has provided resume and cover letter writing services for over three years through WritingasaGhost. Her clients have said things like: “I’ve always gotten an interview when Denise has written my cover letter.” R.F. “You are the best money I have ever spent.” K.S. She shares this information to empower others to write their own resumes and cover letters for successful job search results.

Related posts:

  1. 10 Tips for a Better Cover Letter
  2. Cover Letters Are Your First Impression – How to Write a Great Job Application Cover Letter

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