One hygienist recently asked if it’s okay to use the e-mail message as a substitute for a dental hygiene cover letter. Yes, you can do that (and many do), but it’s not a best practice.
There’s two reasons: first, it’s not as professional and second, it may be a missed opportunity.
A traditional cover letter sends the message that you are a dental hygienist that goes the extra mile – you’ve decided that you are going to stand out and be different than others. Employers like that for obvious reasons!
But just as important, the person receiving e-mails for job openings isn’t always the person making the decision and they may not think to print your beautifully-written e-mail to accompany your resume. So the intended audience never even sees it!
Even if they did print the e-mail – it doesn’t look as professional as a nicely formatted cover letter.
With that aside, you still have to type something in your e-mail message, right? So here are five tips for sending a great e-mail.
Evaluate Your Address
I wrote about the importance of a strong e-mail address a few months ago. Make sure you have an address that represents you well, and you can see several tips on that if you click on the link.
Keep Your E-mail Short
How short? Shorter than your cover letter – something like a couple paragraphs consisting of a couple sentences. Here are a two examples:
All Smiles Dental,
I would like formally apply for your open dental hygiene position posted on DentalJobs.net. Please confirm you have received my attached cover letter and resume. I look forward to sharing with you how I can be a great addition to your office.
All Smiles Dental,
Please confirm you have received my attached cover letter, resume, and testimonial sheet as application for the dental hygiene opening you have posted on DentalJobs.net.
I look forward to sharing with you all the great experiences I have had helping patients re-discover their beautiful smiles.
Strengthen the Signature Line
Surprisingly, most people don’t really use signature lines. They put their name at the bottom and call it good. I recommend four things on a signature line:
- Your name with RDH behind it (e.g. Emily Walker, RDH)
- Your phone number (preferably cell number)
- A link to one online profile (LinkedIn profile, your website)
- A very short (3-10 words) by someone that inspires you, or that says something about you.
People love to click on links, especially if it will give them more information about you. Your own personal website, in particular, is extremely compelling and is almost guaranteed to get clicked.
And everyone loves a good quick dose of inspiration, but it’s got to be short or they won’t read it.
PDF Files Only
Attach your resume, cover letter, testimonial sheet, and CAR sheet (latter two are optional but very effective) in PDF format only. Don’t mess with sending Word or other types of documents as they can change in appearance depending on what they try to open the file with. PDF files are easy to create, will preserve your fonts and design, and are universally acceptable.
The Powerful P.S.
Post Scriptum, or “PS” as it is commonly referred to, is a term used to describe an added message after your signature line. Believe it or not, this is an extremely powerful tool for how poorly positioned it is. Studies show, people will skim e-mails, but they read the PS line.
So use it to your advantage. I would suggest adding a quick sentence about some connection you have to the office (someone you know that they might know – patient, friend in common) or, use it to show that you have already done some homework on the office. Here are a couple examples:
PS – My friend, Linda, is a patient at your office and says you guys are the best!
PS – I was on your website and love your approach to helping patients who are especially anxious!