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What should an email application look like?

Question from email: What if an employer doesn't ask for an e-mail cover letter, or I am writing a "cold" letter. Should I attach a cover letter? Or should my email message be a short, transmittal note? Or does the cover letter belong in the e-mail itself?

Answer: Because your documents will be printed out and handed around, you want to send something that you know will look perfect. The attachments should be in pdf and Word, as a backup. Attachments could be a resume, complete cover letter, transcript, writing sample, and/or a complete grade explanation. While pdf is a wonderful thing, every employer may not have your version of pdf, so sending a Word.doc may be a sensible backup. Everyone has Word. If you have a MAC, make sure that you can convert and send Word.docs as long as you are applying to traditional legal employers. Ad agencies may use MACs, but law firms tend not to.

The email message itself should have enough identifying information so that the recipient can identify and contact your on the off chance that the attachments are missing or unreadable.

For example: I am a third year law student from the University of Minnesota Law Schooll interested in your litigation practice. I am on a law journal, and I have real courtroom experience through my [clinic, Student Practice Rule work, etc.]

And this is KEY: Every candidate must have an informative, professional signature block with name, address and phone number. This is not the place for jokes, famous phrases, blog links or any other extraneous material -- just the facts that will allow a prospective employer to contact you.