Best Practices for Emailing a Resume & Cover Letter

Tips for How to Email a Resume

When you apply to your next job, you might be emailing the hirer directly. Maybe you’ve met them in person, or you were referred to them by someone you know, or the directions for the job you’re applying for ask you to do so.

This personal way to apply presents some opportunities to make a great impression on the hirer and connect with them so you stand out. It also presents some pitfalls, since something like a spelling error or wrong tone of voice could hurt your chances before they even open up your resume.

If you’re sending a resume by email, use these tips for crafting a email that’s professional and moves you along the hiring pipeline.

Use a Professional Email Address

Make sure you create a professional email address from which to send the email. Generally, one that has your first and last name in it is best. If an email address with just your first and last name is unavailable, it’s OK to add a number or two, but try to avoid putting in your full birthday with the year you were born to avoid age bias.

Do not send an email from any address with vulgar or unprofessional language in it. Make sure you have the log-in details for your professional email address so it’s easy to check any communications you receive back.

Read the Directions

The person you’re emailing your resume to may request that it’s sent as an attachment. Or, they might want you to copy and paste a resume and/or a cover letter into the body of the email.

The directions might include specific notes what for to include in the subject line, how to label your resume attachment and how to create a heading, including the exact order you should list your name and contact information in.

Following any directions you’re given for emailing your resume is the first important step to advancing your candidacy. If you send an email without all the elements that are needed, the employer may take that as a bad sign that you won’t follow directions on the job.

Use Attachment Best Practices

If there’s no note to copy and paste the resume content into the email, then send it as an attachment. Typically, a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) and PDF file are the most commonly accepted file formats. You can find tips for saving PDF files here.

Label the file so it’s easily recognizable as your resume. If there aren’t specific directions for how to save the file, use your full name and “Resume” in the label. You might also want to add the name of the company to personal what you’re sending, so something like, “First name_Last name_Resume_Company.”

Follow these same best practices with a cover letter. First see if the employer prefers you paste the cover letter contents into the email or add it as an attachment. If you’re attaching it, save it as a Word doc or PDF and label it accordingly.

Email Contents

If there are no directions about what to include in the subject line or body of the email, and you’re sending your other materials as attachments, tailor the email to the job and company you’re applying to and keep it simple.

For the subject line, start with the position you’re applying for, add your first and last name and the word “Resume.” For example:

[Position] – [your full name] – Resume

In the body of the email, address the hiring manager with a professional salutation if you know their name. For example, “Dear Ms. Smith.” If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, “Dear Hiring Manager” works.

Start the email stating the position you’re applying for. If you were referred to the hiring manager through a personal contact, or you’ve already met the hiring manager, you may add a note explaining the connection. You may also add a note about what makes you qualified, but keep it brief and distinguish it from language that’s in a cover letter.

Then explain what you’re attaching or pasting into the email. Offer to follow up with additional materials if needed. For example:

I’m very interested in applying for the [position] at [company name]. I’m grateful to [referral name] for connecting us. My objective is to leverage the [number of years] of experience as a [job title] to help [company you’re applying for] achieve its goals.

I’ve attached my resume and cover letter. Please let me know if you’d like me to send additional materials or information.

Then, thank the hiring manager for looking over your materials. Add a call to action to advance the conversation.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Close out the email with a professional salutation. “Best” or “Sincerely” work well. After your name, list your contact information.

[Your full name]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
[Your LinkedIn profile, if applicable]

Before You Hit Send

Run the contents of your email subject line and the body of the email, as well as your resume and cover letter, through a spelling and grammar check. In addition to using the Word document spelling and grammar feature, you can run everything through a free tool like Grammarly to get more feedback on spelling and grammar issues.

Remember that everything you create for an employer, from an email subject line to an email greeting, may be evaluated as a reflection of how you’d perform on the job. You want to make sure what you send is professional and error-free.

Send yourself a test run first to make sure everything reads well and is formatted correctly. You’ll also want to make sure the attachments open without an issue. You might want to send a test email to someone else to see how everything looks on their email client.

Once you’ve proofread your email, tested it and corrected any errors (test again if you make fixes), send it off.

Want to ensure your resume, cover letter and email are all good to go before sending? Contact HiConsulting Services online or at 623-738-4470. We can help.