Outreach to organizations is done via email and your message needs to be short and on-point. You know the old saying, “I would have made this shorter, but I didn’t have the time.” Well, please MAKE the time! It is harder to edit your message down to its most salient points, but it is imperative that you take the time. Don’t repeat items that are in your email header or on your resume. Get to the point.
For the Silicon Valley Program, we have coined the phrase “cover email” to take place of what traditionally would be a cover letter accompanied by a resume placed in an envelope, with a stamp affixed. If you did that, you’d be laughed out of Silicon Valley. The cover email is a brief, yet effective, electronic tool designed to convey your interest in a company and/or a position.
Cover Email Template
Your cover email will be three short paragraphs:
- Introductory paragraph describing why you’re writing;
- Email body describing how you can add value to the target organization; and
- Close, or a specific call to action with a statement that your resume is attached.
You will always attach your most recent resume, making sure that it is picture-perfect and ready for prime time (for more on resumes, please see the resume page). Typically, this is the ONLY item that you will attach. There may be a job description or an article you want them to read, or some other item, but keep that to a minimum.
Before You Click Send
- Proofread your cover email once more.
- Copy yourself by placing your email address in the BCC section.
- Include a subject line that clearly defines what is in the message, something like, “Jane Doe Requests a Phone Meeting to Discuss SVP Internship Ideas.”
- Include a Signature Block at the bottom of your message that includes:
- Your Name
- Your Cell Phone Number (should match your resume)
- Your Email Address (this may be redundant given they will have your address if they just click “reply” but it’s good practice)
- Proofread your cover email one last time.
- Click “Send.”
No doubt, you will need to deploy all of these communications for each person whom you contact, sometimes more than once. Please click on each for a sample.
- Cover Email
- Follow-Up Message
- Thank-You Message