Some job postings ask you to email your resume to the employer, rather than apply through a portal or applicant tracking system. In these cases, you have more things to think about than simply uploading a few documents. In this article, we’ll show you how to email your resume to an employer without making any mistakes.
If you’re sending your resume in response to a job posting, it’s important to follow the instructions exactly. The post may ask for specific file format, contact details, additional application materials, or a specific subject line. Follow all instructions to the letter. If you can’t follow these instructions, the employer won’t be impressed with you no matter how strong your application is otherwise.
If the job posting requests your resume in a specific file type, you should of course use that one. If not, you should attach your resume as either a PDF or Word document (.doc or .docx). These are the most common formats, and the ones employers will be expecting.
Using a PDF is a good choice, as a PDF guarantees that the document will look the same on any computer. A Word document could look different if the employer uses a different operating system or different word processing software. If you want to ensure that your resume template looks great on an employer’s machine, we recommend a PDF.
Your cover letter can be attached to the email as well. Make sure that it uses the same file type as your resume, and have the formatting match the resume as well as possible. If you attach your cover letter as a document, use the body of the email to briefly introduce yourself and your application.
You can also simply use the email itself as a cover letter. This way, you can attach one less document and ensure that your cover letter is the first thing the employer sees when they open your email. If you do this by copying and pasting text from a different cover letter, make sure that the formatting still looks good in the email.
The documents you send to the employer must have clear filenames that include your name. Generic filenames like Resume1.pdf or resume-2020.docx will be difficult for the employer to find and refer to, as they don’t include your name or any information about your candidacy. Your files will be lost in the folder with everyone else who forgot to give their resume document a clear title.
Giving your resume a readable title with your name, such as john-smith-resume.pdf, will ensure that the employer can find your resume easily.
The subject line of your email should be clear and concise. It should include your name and the job title you are applying to so that it’s obvious what your email is about.
Something like “Customer Service Manager Application - John Smith” makes it clear what the email is about, and makes it easy for the employer to search for it in their inbox. If the job posting notes any other requirements for the subject line, such as a reference number, include that as well.
Though your resume, cover letter, and other application materials will be doing most of the work, it’s important that the email message itself is professional and polite. It can be brief, but as this is still a business interaction, formality is expected.
Make sure that your email address is appropriate, ideally a variation on your name, and that the body of your email demonstrates clear and professional communication skills.
Much like a resume, you should customize your email to suit the position you are applying to. Hiring managers can smell a form letter from a mile away. Even though your email will be short, your personality and enthusiasm for that specific job should come through.
If possible, address the hiring manager by name, and note the position title and company name in the body of your email so it’s completely clear what you are applying for. The company may have several positions open, so you should make it as clear as possible which role you are interested in.
End your email with a sign-off that includes all of your contact information. Your email address and phone number are the most important, but links to online profiles, like LinkedIn or an online portfolio, are also useful.
This information should all be in your resume and cover letter, and the employer could simply reply to the email in order to contact you, but even so, it’s important to make yourself as accessible as possible. The employer should be able to use their preferred mode of communication to get in touch.
Before finally hitting “Send”, double check the email and all attached files for mistakes. Proofread everything, and make sure you are following the directions in the job posting. You won’t likely get a second chance, so be sure that all requested materials are attached, that you are using the right file type, and that your filenames and subject line are formatted properly.
Once everything has been proofread and double-checked, send the email to yourself or to a friend so you can see what everything looks like on the other end. This will give you a better idea of what employers will see when they receive the email.
Dear hiring manager,
My name is Sam Johnson. I am writing to apply for the Lead Merchandising Specialist position listed on indeed.com. My experience in retail and inventory management make me an ideal fit for this role.
My resume and cover letter are attached. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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