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How To Email a Resume and Cover Letter Attachment

resume attach cover letter

Ashley Nicole DeLeon / The Balance

Depending on the job for which you're applying, you may need to email your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. That's often the case with smaller employers. For other employers, you'll apply online or via a job board.

What's the easiest way to attach your resume and cover letter to an email message? When you're asked to send a resume or cover letter via email, follow these steps to ensure you have correctly attached your documents, written an email explaining what you are sending and why, added your signature to the email, and included a subject line that will get your message opened and read by the recipient.

Key Takeaways

  • Most employers request a Microsoft Word document or a PDF file of your resume. 
  • It's easy to save your documents in the file format requested by an employer.
  • When saving your documents, use your name as the file name.
  • Include a subject line that states who you are and what job you are applying for in the email message.

Check the Employer's Instructions

When you apply for jobs via email , the employer may require you to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment to an email message. It's important to send your attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is opened and read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview.

What's most important is to follow the employer's instructions and send exactly what they have asked for in the format it's requested. If you don't, your message may end up in a spam or trash folder.

Save Your Cover Letter and Resume

When sending your cover letter and resume attachments, the first step is to save your resume as a PDF or a Word document . The job posting should specify how to send the attachment. This way, the receiver will get a copy of the resume in the original format.

If there aren't instructions on how to send your documents, submit your resume as either a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or as a PDF file. These are the formats most commonly preferred by employers, and it's easy to save the documents and add them as attachments to your email message.

You can either save your cover letter in document format or write it directly in the email message.

Save as a Word Document

If you have word processing software other than Microsoft Word, save your resume as a Word (.doc or .docx) document. File > Save As , should be an option in your program.

Save a Google Doc as a Word Document

If you don't have Microsoft Word, you can save a Word (.docx) version of a Google Doc. Select File > Download and choose Word Document (.docx).

How to Save as a PDF

Whether the employer requests a PDF file or you opt to send a PDF, here's how to convert a document file.

To save a Word document as a PDF:

  • Select  File > Save As  in Microsoft Word.
  • Select  PDF  from the  Format  drop-down menu.

To save a Google Doc as a PDF:

  • Select  File > Download and choose  PDF Document .

Choose a Unique File Name

When saving your document, use your name as the file name , so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is, i.e., janedoeresume.doc and janedoecoverletter.doc.

Don't use "resume" as a file name, because it will be hard to differentiate your resume from those of the other applicants.

Include a Subject in the Email Message

The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages you send to apply for jobs. If you don't include one, your message may not even get opened. 

Your email message must include a subject line, and it should explain to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for. Be specific, so the recipient knows what he or she is receiving. Employers often hire for many positions at the same time, so include both your name and the job title.

Add a subject to the email message before you start writing it. That way, you won't forget to include it afterward.

Here's what to write:

Subject: Your Name - Job Title

If the employer requests additional information, like a job ID number, be sure to include that too.

Write an Email Message to Send With Your Resume

Once you have saved your resume and cover letter and they are ready to send, the next step is to write an email message to send with your documents.

First, open your email account. Then click on Message at the top left of the screen or click on File > New > Message .

You can either write your cover letter as part of the email message or send it as an attachment. Here's how:

Write Directly in the Email

You can either type your cover letter directly into the email message , copy and paste it from a word processing document, or if the company requests an attachment, send your cover letter and resume with the email message. So, your choices are to send a cover letter attachment or to use the email message as your cover letter.

If you are attaching a cover letter, your email message can be brief. Simply state that your resume and cover letter are attached. Offer to provide additional information and let the reader know how you can be contacted.

Be sure to follow the directions in the job posting for how to apply when sending your cover letter and resume or your application may not be considered.

Adding Your Signature To the Email

It is important to include an email signature with your contact information, so it's easy for hiring managers and recruiters to get in touch with you.

Include your full name, your email address, and your phone number in your email signature, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, how to contact you. If you have a LinkedIn profile , include it in your signature. Do the same with any other social media accounts you use for career and business purposes.

Sample Email Signature

Jared Harshbarner jared.harshbarner@email.com 617-123-3790 linkedin.com/in/jared.harshbarner

How To Add Your Signature

To add your signature to your email message, click on File > Insert > Signature , if you have a signature saved that you use for job searching. If you haven't created an email signature, type your contact information (name, email address, phone, LinkedIn) at the bottom of your message.

Attach Your Resume and Cover Letter to an Email Message

Once your email message is ready to send, you need to attach your resume and cover letter to your message:

Click on Insert > Attach File. Your email client will display a list of files in the default file folder of your computer. If your resume and cover letter are stored in a different folder, click on the appropriate folder.

Click to select the file you want to add to your email message , and then click on Insert to attach the document to your email message. Take the time to carefully proofread the message before you send it.

Before you click Send , send the message to yourself to be sure all the attachments come through, and your email message is perfect.

Send a copy of the message to yourself, as well as to the company, so you have a copy for your records. Add yourself as a Bcc (blind carbon copy) by clicking Bcc and adding your email address.

Then click Send , and your cover letter and your resume will be on their way to the employer.

Review a Sample Email Message

Here's a sample email message sent with resume and cover letter attachments to apply for a job.

Subject: Sarah Smith – Museum Docent

Dear Ms. Cooper,

I’m writing to apply for the summer docent program at the Museum of Local History.

I have extensive docent experience, having volunteered at both the Harbor Museum and ABC Art, and have led tours both as a student leader and a member of the town historical society. In addition, I’m a lifelong town resident and an enthusiastic amateur historian.

I’ve attached my cover letter and resume for your review. I hope you’ll contact me at your convenience to discuss the program and arrange an interview. Thank you for your time.

Sarah Smith sarah.smith@email.com 555-555-1234 linkedin.com/in/sarahsmith

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it better to send a word document or a pdf to apply for a job.

A PDF file retains the format of your resume and letter, so the recipient will see them as you wrote them when they open the file(s) you send. A Word document is easily read by the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that employers use to manage job applications. What's most important is to follow the company's application guidelines.

How can I be sure my documents are formatted correctly?

Send a test message, and email your resume and cover letter to yourself before you send it to the employer. That way, you'll know your documents are formatted and attached correctly.

ZipJob. “ Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 ."

Google. " Create, View, or Download a File ."

Microsoft. " Save or Convert to PDF or XPS in Office Desktop Apps ."

Adobe. " How to Convert a Google Doc to a PDF ."

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