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how to write formal email job application

How to Write a Formal Email for a Job Applications

Today communication is fast and diverse. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to communicating in writing in both our personal and professional lives, from Facebook Messenger and LinkedIn Messaging to text messages, email and more. It’s not always necessary to be formal so you may have developed a habit of writing quickly and casually, after all time is precious, but when it comes to sending a cover letter via email, you need to write professionally.

This written professionalism is not exclusive to email communication either; it’s essential that you maintain formality across all platforms, including LinkedIn Messaging. This professional social media platform is a powerful tool for interacting and networking with potential employers, but don’t be fooled by the social nature of LinkedIn – the key word is ‘professional.’

We spoke to Nina Mapson Bone, of recruitment firm Beaumont People, who enlightens us on what’s expected in the email cover letter.


5 Tips for Writing an Email Cover Letter

 1. Personalise Your Cover Email

If you’re tempted to rehash your last application letter, don’t, as time-strapped recruiters and prospective employers will notice this sneaky corner cutting and won’t be impressed. Instead, make sure your email cover letter is adapted specifically for the role and hiring company. Nina says, do not, under any circumstances, use a generic email that you have sent before.

It’s also important that your email cover letter is addressed to the individual doing the hiring, says Nina. You may have to do a bit of research by calling the company or LinkedIn stalking for details, but people love the sound of their own name, so it’s worth the effort to make a personal and professional first impression.

2. Address Selection Criteria – Be Specific

The keywords in the job advertisement, or the criteria in a job description, should be addressed with specific examples of how you have displayed those traits – but keep it snappy- address no more than three criteria in your cover letter email.

You can go into greater detail in your resume but cover emails should be specific and punctual. Make sure you edit your work to cut out as many unnecessary words as possible. If you can say it in few, do!

3. Do Not Repeat Your Resume

The cover letter allows you to display your personality and a few detailed examples of your achievements, it shouldn’t just repeat your what you have on your resume. Remember, these documents are sent together, and unnecessary repetition will only bore or frustrate a hiring manager or recruiter.

4. Make Your Contact Details Easy to Find

If you’ve sparked an employer’s interest you want it to be easy for them to reach you. Don’t forget, the person reading through applications will be time-poor, so any obstacle that’s put up will be enough to move on to the next applicant.

You could include your contact details after your name at the end of your cover letter. This way, the hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t need to click on a search through your attachments to find your phone number.

5. Re-Read Before You Hit Send

As with any important document, make sure you check for typos – both grammar and spelling. Good written communication skills are necessary in almost all roles, and this is your first test. You don’t want to fail in the first five minutes, so check and double check your work.

Don’t just rely on spellchecker either, as these programs are notorious for missing errors that are not necessarily incorrect but are wrong in the context of your message. You should have at least one other person read your email cover letter and application to ensure its one-hundred percent perfect before you hit send.


More Important Tips

  • Do not use an unprofessional email address. If you’re sending an email that says [email protected] you’re not sending the best impression, for obvious reasons. Make sure you open a new account with a professional email address to apply for jobs.
  • Do not use emoticons! Your smiley face won’t put a smile on the face of the hiring manager or recruiter; it will only make your application seem frivolous and unprofessional.
  • Do not use images. Unless you are applying for a job that depends on your appearance, such as acting or modelling, the person receiving your application doesn’t need to know what you look like; save that for the interview, which is a covered in the blog The Colour You Must Wear to Your Next Interview.


Example of an Email Cover Letter

Dear Hiring Manager (or name, if you know it)

In applying for position of (insert job title) I’d like to highlight my skills and why I’m suitable for this role.

With regards to (insert trait a) my experience is (insert specific example) and is summarised by

  • Insert specific example of trait in action
  • Insert specific example of trait in action
  • Insert specific example of trait in action

In relation to my exposure to (insert trait b) I have the following achievements:

  • Insert specific achievements
  • Insert specific achievements
  • Insert specific achievements

I would welcome the chance to discuss this position with you in person to find out more if I am a good fit for your organisation. I can be contacted on 04xx xxx xxx.


Kind regards,


Your name.

Your contact details.