Drafting that Email

In applying for internships or employment opportunities, many go through the ‘not so challenging’ but yet daunting task of drafting a mail to which one may attach a CV and cover letter for the consideration of the prospective employer.

The following are a few hints to take in drafting a brief but concise mail body to capture the attention of that potential employer.;

  • Structure of the Mail

A draft mail should contain three parts; an introductory paragraph, the main body and a brief conclusion with the style of writing being that of a formal letter. No matter how much of a personal relationship you have with a partner at the firm or an employee, this mail must remain formal. The introductory paragraph like the name implies is to introduce oneself to the reader. Who are you; name, qualification (e.g a 500 level student). It may also include your reference. That is, through whom, if any, you were aware of the opportunity.

The body should be kept short as well, as there will still be a cover letter attached to the mail. The body should contain a specific reason for the application as well as highlight a few key positions/ experiences already garnered by the applicant which makes such mail attractive.

The conclusion should mention that a CV and cover letter has also been attached and a favorable response is looked forward to. The mail should be closed with a salutation; ‘Yours Faithfully’, ‘Cheers’, Warm/Kind Regards’, followed by your name.

  • Attaching a CV and cover letter

It is normal practice to attach (and mention in the concluding part of the mail that same has been attached) a CV which contains a person’s qualifications and past experiences. A common practice amongst students is to copy the contents of the cover letter to the body of mail and attach only a CV. This is not necessarily wrong. However, some law firms prefer that apart from the mail, a standard cover letter be attached along with the CV. Thus, I would advise that the cover letter be attached to the mail rather than its contents being the body of the mail.

Also, try to avoid excessive repetitions between the mail and cover letter as it removes an element of originality in such application.

  • Salutations

It is important to do your research before applying for a job or internship opening. This would help in knowing your target audience or reader. However, one cannot be certain of whom the mail will be delivered to. Thus, it is important to address the mail to no specific person. Rather take an impersonal approach with; Dear Sir/Ma. You can also employ the use of ‘Dear Recruiting/Hiring Manager’

  • Follow up Mail

    The main point here is to remain polite. The purpose of this sort of mail is to give a gentle reminder of your previous application and to inquire as to whether it is still in consideration. It is important to remain formal and polite no matter how long it has taken to receive a reply from the target firm. Keep this short simple and straight to the point. There is no need to repeat details already sent in your previous mail to the firm.

With the following steps taken into consideration and practiced, one should be able to draft a proper mail body.

Ginika Ikechukwu,
Content Provider, Legal Pages.