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A couple of weeks ago I met this person who had come to our institute for an invited talk. Her domain of work was same as my area of research. Later I discussed with her some of the topics and asked her if there are any openings in her company (she is in the industry as an R&D head). She responded: "Send me your CV, I will look into it."

Now I want to write to her. How do I begin with that? Should I send my CV in the first mail itself? If so should I also include a cover letter? What's the best way to introduce myself?

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Do you have a website with your cv? Having one is a good idea and can avoid dealing with such requests. –  Lev Reyzin Feb 18 at 21:34
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Since any potential job is apparently outside of academia, you might want to ask on workplace.stackexchange.com –  Relaxed Feb 19 at 11:00

4 Answers 4

Well... there are lot of important variables not mentioned, but this is how I will generally draft it:

Dear Madam Give-me-a-job,

It was great talking to you after your talk on Jan 17th, 2014 at My-Little-Institute. I found your experience and nature of your job fascinating. In our conversation about pursuing a career in Whatever-you-are-working-in, you were so kind to offer giving comments to my CV. And if you don't mind, I would love to take up your generous offer.

Attached please find my CV. I would love to follow up with you in two weeks and set up a phone conversation to discuss how I can strengthen my profile so that I can be a more competitive candidate in this job market. Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your invaluable critiques and suggestions.

Sincerely yours,

Penguin Knight

My approach:

  1. Don't treat it like a lead to a job. She might just say that to be nice. If I come off too pushy, I may not even get a chance listening to her comments. For that reason, I will not attach a cover letter that details my experience, research interest, and why I am suitable for the position. There isn't even a job, a catch-all cover letter is difficult to write and hard to be made impressive.
  2. Ask for follow up and act on it. A lot of the "send me your CV" didn't get follow up because the candidate really just "sent the CV" and that's the end of it. I specifically tweaked it as wanting advices from her, making it easier for both parties to engage in another conversation.
  3. No need to worry about "what if she really just gives me comments?" She probably knows and remembers. If my CV is really good, she will mention the availability of openings. If there isn't or I am not good enough, then I can use this chance to flush out weaknesses and improve them.
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I don't understand your answer: "I will not attach a cover letter" what is the thing in yellow if not the cover letter? –  cbeleites Feb 18 at 19:58
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@cbeleites, you can call that e-mail a cover letter. The cover letter in my mind (the one that I will not send) was a separate letter detailing my research experience, interests, and why I am suitable for the posted job. I revised the answer to clarify. –  Penguin_Knight Feb 18 at 19:59
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All jobs I have applied for (via email), which to be honest isn't very many, I have written a brief, courteous email introducing the proper cover letter and CV as PDF attachments. For a number of reasons (formatting, ease of distribution, professionalism etc), I think it's a bad idea to make the email itself a cover letter. –  Moriarty Feb 18 at 20:15
    
@Moriarty OK for formatting (though not much is needed) but why is making me have to open two files in an external program more professional or easier to distribute? –  terdon Feb 19 at 19:35
    
@terdon Because there is a potential for formatting to get messed up on different devices through forwarded emails. Nothing wrong with combining the CV and cover letter into one PDF - many job ads request that specifically. –  Moriarty Feb 19 at 19:56

I wouldn't make a big deal of it:

FirstName,

Good to meet you the other day. Interesting presentation.

Attached is my CV as discussed.

Best wishes, Your full name

Most people are busy and they're not going to read more than a couple of sentences anyway.

Also, the longer the email, the more desperate and obsequious your tone; save time and your dignity - keep it brief.

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While shorter is better, especially in industry, too short can come across as lack of interest and that is usually a turn-off. –  earthling Feb 19 at 5:03
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If you want to save your dignity, I recommend writing in complete sentences. –  Ben Webster Feb 19 at 12:47
    
I agree with the notion of keeping it short, although @BenWebster has a very valid point ;) –  posdef Feb 19 at 13:23
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Try with a Haiku: Was good to meet you / Here attached is my CV / Best wishes Your name. –  Federico Poloni Feb 19 at 22:46
    
Indeed, if I received this note, I'd bit-bucket it because there's no evidence the sender is actually interested. Brief is fine, but this is too brief. –  Reid Jun 2 at 17:44

Hello (Speaker-name),

We spoke on (date here) when you came to our institution and presented on (topic here). I very much enjoyed your speech and our discussion afterwards on (a few words on what you talked about) and possible openings in your company. As discussed, I've attached my cover letter and resume for your consideration.

Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing back from you!

Sincerely,

(Your name here)

My post is making the email a bit less formal, as I assume you talked to her in an informal way. By bringing up where you guys were, when you met, and what you talked about, you're likely sparking her memory (unless she gave two talks and had identical conversations that day, which is unlikely). I'd also keep the email relatively concise, because your intent is to seek jobs, not make a new friend.

Personally, I would attach my cover letter, because the cover letter gives a better indication on not only what your skills and past experience is, but also on what your desired position is. It also gives the employer a bit more indication into what you're like as a person, and whether or not they'd want to hire you.

This is all, of course, assuming you're emailing her and not mailing it. If you mail it, I would put a shorter version of this email into the cover letter and only send the cover letter and resume.

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CV and cover letter in an email and maybe send physical copies as well. Just a friendly brief email with the attachments in the companies preferred format. Make sure to mention the sort of position you are looking for in the cover letter.

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