The Difference Between an E-Note and a Cover Letter

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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Photo credit: © Sergiogen

To follow up on my last posting entitled Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing A Cover Letter, (, I’m a huge advocate for creating a separate, customized and targeted cover letter to accompany the resume submission. There is, however, a trend of acceptance for an e-note letter format so in today’s blog I shall touch upon the similarities and differences between an e-note and a traditional cover letter.

Both documents serve 5 key purposes:

  1. Introduce you to a specific person or target employer.
  2. Market and position your candidacy above other job seekers.
  3. Promote your unique promise of value.
  4. Highlight achievements, education and other attributes pertinent to the job.
  5. Initiate a call to action: ideally, a request for an interview.

Unlike a traditional full page cover letter, an e-note is shorter (think 1/3 to 1/2 of a page) but still captures the essence of your career success. E-notes are either contained in the body of an email or uploaded onto job boards (and should not be confused with a digital notepad).

Due to the brevity of e-notes, clear and concise writing is a must. After reviewing a job posting or conducting due diligence on the company to uncover how you may be of value, write your e-note focusing on a finite topic relaying your top 3 or 4 assets or a short career story validating your expertise in that topic.

Here’s a guideline to structuring your e-note:

  • Make the subject line specific and compelling (Example A).
  • Write a short one or two sentence opening paragraph (Example B).
  • Include bullet points or short paragraphs in the body of the email sharing additional value-add information (Example C).
  • Close with a short concluding statement and informative signature block (Example D).

(Example A)

Subject: Director of Operations, Turnaround Expert, MBA

(Example B)

Under my leadership, operations boosted output by 300%, decreased scrap by 95% and increased uptime by 150%.

(Example C)

  • Resurrected lagging revenue, surpassing targets by 120% for last 4 quarters.
  • Exploded staff engagement, achieving unprecedented employee satisfaction scores of 92% in 2013 and 98% in 2014 after 5 years of ratings peaking at 75%.

(Example D)

The pillars of my success have been my aptitude for leading people and ability to champion change across the business. I would welcome the opportunity to elaborate on my fit for this position and hope to hear from you shortly. If not, I’ll follow up in a week with a quick call or email.


Joe Jobseeker


Toronto, Ontario

555-123-4567 | Skype: joejobseeker

[email protected]


E-notes may be advantageous when the posting only requests a resume; when uploading your file to a job board or other online platform; or to display your knowledge of being on trend versus typecast as outdated. Stick to a traditional cover letter when requested in a job posting; for committee-based hiring; and when an individual at an organization has specifically requested a copy of your resume.

Bottom line: never send both an e-note and a cover letter. Pick the appropriate format then write a compelling and persuasive document aligned to the company and target role.



Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at:

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