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Referral Cover Letter Email Enclosure

email cover letters are not just for executives; they are appropriate for every job seeker and every company recipient in this world bombarded by tweets, emails and information from all directions.  email cover letters have two common characteristics: they are short; and they have influence.

Communication has evolved over the years due to technological and other changes in our society.  How we write letters is a great example.  In the mid 1900s, letters got shorter and less long-winded, however still tended to be very detailed.

In the second decade of the 21st century, today’s six-figure executive is likely to email his/her materials to the board, search committee, hiring director or recruiter. Typically, it will be a resume and a very brief letter—as short as a few sentences—highlighting only a select notable successes. Details are few. The point is to whet the reader’s appetite to take the next step. The other point is that people are busy, and appreciate cut-to-the-chase documents.

email Cover Letter: Characteristics

There are several characteristics of an email cover letter:

  • Brevity
  • To-the-point approach and manner
  • Written in brief paragraphs or a bullet-style format
  • Typically written to an advertised opening or to either a networking or recruiter contact

Like other ad-response letters, email cover letters must highlight the specific qualifications, experiences, skills and successes you offer as they relate to the position. The challenge is to do this quickly! Immediately present them, and then ask for the interview! In a networking electronic letter, you have a bit more flexibility because you’re writing at the suggestion of a referral. However, these recipients are busy too. Keep it simple. Tell the reader just enough: who you are, why you are writing and what to expect (phone call is the most likely).

email Cover Letter: Tips

Use the e-mail subject line to tell recipients your reason for contacting them, and lessen the chances of being ignored or deleted. If you’re applying to an opening, state that position in the subject line. If you’re writing to a networking contact, list who referred you in the subject line.

Do not include the recipient’s full mailing address as you would in a “paper” cover letter. Use only the salutation line, i.e. “Dear Mr. Jones”.

As with any other ad-response letters, make sure you address requests for information stated in the posting, i.e. salary requirements, ability to relocate, technology skills, citizenship status, etc.

email Cover Letter:  Sample Ad-Response Electronic Letter to a Company

email Cover Letter:  Sample Network-Contact Electronic Letter

Cover Letters: More Tips

More Cover Letter Tips . . .

Sample: Cover Letter Based on a Referral
Michael Ram, MSW, LCSW, C-ACYFSW

525 Tops Road
Chicago, IL 50221

March 8, 2009

Ahmad Abu-Taa, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
Social Work Department
St. Mary’s Treatment Center
854 Bell Road
Dallas, Texas  66524

Dear Mr. Abu-Taa:

Suzanne Patel, Director of the Family Center in Chicago, suggested that I contact you regarding your opening for a social worker in day treatment. I am currently working at the Family Center where Ms. Patel is my supervisor, but in May, I will be returning to Dallas where I used to live. I’m looking for opportunities to work with at-risk youth and families and would like to be considered for the position.

In addition to holding an MSW degree, I have training and experience in day treatment, pediatric social work, and women’s and children’s services. At the day treatment program for the Family Center in Chicago, I have spent the past five years working in a culturally diverse setting, handling assessments, participating in treatment delivery, and providing therapy for at-risk youth and their families. Prior to this, I was Volunteer Service and Children’s Program Coordinator for the Women’s Shelter in Dallas

Ms. Patel highly recommended the Day Treatment Center and said she believes my skills and background make me an excellent fit for the organization. It is also my understanding that your staff has initiated several programs that are considered models for working with culturally diverse populations. I am committed to working with culturally and underserved populations and welcome the opportunity to do so at St. Mary’s Treatment Center.

Enclosed is my résumé for your review. I will call your office within the next week to schedule an interview. If you prefer to contact me, I can be reached at 863-767-2498 or by email at Thank you for your consideration.


Michael Ram, MSW, LCSW, C-ACYFSW

Copyrighted material reprinted with permission from the NASW Press.

The Social Work Career Development: A Handbook for Job Hunting and Career Planning book is available through the NASW Press.