Just because you are applying online, it doesn’t mean that your cover letter should be any less formal than if you were preparing a print copy. The method of delivery may be different, but the importance of the message is still the same.
Applying online is becoming the norm for job seekers. Many sites offer the ability to fill out resumes and cover letters within their application to allow ease of transition. Through this system, some employers are also able to search your resume, so keep this in mind if you are job seeking confidentially.
Also, if you have a profile on social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook, remember that potential employers can also search your profile. If your profile could be considered inappropriate, it is best to delete inappropriate information or set it to private.
There are websites specifically designed to help professionals network within their field. LinkedIn.com allows you to create a profile designed to highlight your career accomplishments. For the healthcare industry, HealthCareerWeb.com includes a healthcare professional network for members of the healthcare community.
Beware of E-mail Etiquette:
Make sure your e-mail address is generically professional and does not contain anything that might be considered offensive. Never leave the subject line blank. Stand out from the crowd by putting something
interesting in the subject line, not just the job number (if there is one). A statement like, “experienced technician for supervisor position” is much more eye-catching than “job #06718.” Do not type anything in uppercase letters; it gives the appearance you are shouting at the reader. Send your e-mail in plain, unformatted text. Do not use large fonts, add graphics, bullet points or add color. Use a black font, normal in size and typeface (10 point, Arial or Times New Roman). Make sure your lines are short–no more than 60 characters. This will ensure that your lines don’t wrap, making your cover letter appear fragmented.
Be Cautious of Attachments:
For security reasons, many companies do not accept e-mails that have attachments. Do not attach your resume unless you are asked to do so. If the employer asks for your resume to be sent via an attachment, it’s recommended that you save your resume as a Word document or PDF. Give the attachment a professional and appropriate name. For example, “SS Resume 01_2010” or “SSmith Resume” would be appropriate as it ensures that the employer is viewing the correct file when there are numerous applicants.
Check and Double-Check Content:
Do not fill in the address of the recipient until you have finished writing and proof-reading the document. This will prevent any chance of hitting “send” by mistake. Run a spelling and grammar check to make sure nothing is missed. Try sending the finished document to yourself or a friend to make sure it comes out on the other side in the correct format.
Once you have sent the e-mail, you may want to follow-up by sending a hard copy of your cover letter and resume to the hiring manager via regular mail, referencing your e-mail.