You may think you know how to email a resume to a potential employer. But consider this, if the email with your resume is constantly filtered out or ignored, your chances of being considered for the job are gone.
How to Email Your Resume Professionally (Quick Guide)
Employers often receive hundreds of resumes in response to a single ad. Resumes are often sorted (and eliminated) by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before they ever reach a human. That’s why it’s important to know how to email your resume in a way that gets it in front of a hiring manager.
There are steps you can take to make your resume email stand out from the rest. In this article, we’ll explore emailing a resume for a job in depth. We’ll look at every aspect of the process, including what to say when emailing a resume and how to properly attach a resume to an email.
1. Create a Professional Resume & Cover Letter
How your resume and cover letter looks is important. An attractive design can mean the difference between a resume that gets a second look and a resume that’s passed over. This is especially true if you know a human will be reviewing your resume.
Get a Pro Resume Template
The fastest way to get a professional looking resume that’s sure to make a good first impression is to use a professionally-designed resume template and matching cover letter. With a resume template, the design work is already done. All you need to do is plug in your information and it’s ready to use.
You may wonder where to find a professionally designed resume template and cover letter. At GraphicRiver you’ll find a good selection of professional resume templates or browse through this curated list:
Gather All Your Information
Once you’ve selected a resume template, you’re ready to begin the resume-writing process. This tutorial explains what you’ll need to get started:
Some of the specific information you’ll need includes past job titles, past employers, and years employed, as well as records of any education programs you’ve completed. Once you’ve gathered the information you need, you’re ready to put it into the resume template.
Consider Your Resume Length
Resume length is a controversial subject. Most resume experts agree that a resume should be kept short. Unless you’ve got many years of work experience, one page is probably long enough.
While you may be tempted to list complete details for every position you’ve ever held, keep in mind that most HR professionals decide very quickly whether to move your application forward in the hiring process. It’s in your best interest to edit out any irrelevant details.
For a complete discussion of resume length, read this ThemeKeeper Tuts+ tutorial:
2. Customize Your Resume and Cover Letter
A common resume mistake is to send the exact same resume and cover letter with every job application. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, tailor your resume to each position you’re applying to.
How Do You Tailor Your Resume to a Position?
Start by reading the job description carefully. Then, look at your own experience and find the parts of your experience that match the job description. The matching experience is what you want to highlight in your resume.
For example, you’re applying to be a web designer. Your previous job was as an administrative assistant at a web design company. In that job, you answered phone calls and sent out invoices. But, you were also responsible for making updates to current clients’ websites. In addition, your employer paid for you to take web design classes. The parts of your experience you’d focus on from your current job would be that you updated client websites and completed web design classes.
It also helps if you’re specific. So, if you can, provide numbers and details of your experience.
When applying for the web design position, you might describe your former position like this:
Administrative Assistant. Anytown Consulting
(2014 to present). Responsibilities included updating 42 client websites
monthly. Completed six web design classes at ABC University.
In contrast, if you were applying for another administrative assistant positions, you would focus more on the administrative aspect of your current position. The description of your former position might look something like this:
Administrative Assistant. Anytown Consulting
(2014 to present). Responsibilities included supporting six full-time web
designers in a busy office. Also updated client sites as needed. Completed web
design classes at ABC University.
Be Sure to Customize Your Cover Letter as Well
Follow through with the customization in your cover letter. Think of your cover letter as another chance to explain why your experience is relevant to the job. Again, use the job description as a guide.
Here’s a sample of what to write in an email when sending a resume. This example explains why the administrative assistant position is relevant to the web design job:
In my administrative assistant role at Anytown Consulting, I
became familiar with the field of web design. I learned to update client
websites. I also enrolled in and completed web design classes at ABC
University. I believe my experience at Anytown Consulting, in combination with
my education, has prepared me for a full-time role as a web designer with your
For even more effective cover letter samples, review this tutorial:
3. Double-Check Your Resume
Mistakes in your resume make you look bad. So, double-check your resume carefully to avoid the following:
- Spelling Errors. Any spelling error is bad, but be especially careful about the
spelling of company names. Using the wrong name for a company may make it hard
to check your information.
- Grammar Errors. Poor grammar makes your resume and cover letter look sloppy. If
grammar isn’t your thing, consider having someone proofread them for you.
- Inaccurate Information. Make sure your years of employment and graduation dates are
If your authoring tool has a built-in spell check tool, use it. But don’t stop there. While spell check tools catch some mistakes, many of them fail to catch improper word usage. So, be sure to read through your resume and cover letter carefully.
Typos can really derail a resume. For example, I remember reviewing a resume for a writer. They had listed 1897 as their college graduation date, when it should’ve been 1997. Naturally, the mistake in the date made the writer look careless.
4. Avoid the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
The sad truth is that many resumes never make it to a human. They’re weeded out by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). You can improve your chances of making it through the ATS by using keywords and key phrases and by formatting your resume specifically for the ATS. Learn more in these tutorials:
ResumesBest Resume Format: The Ultimate Guide to PDF vs WordLaura Spencer
ResumesHow to Make Your Resume Better With Keywords & PhrasesCharley Mendoza
But, the best way to make sure a human sees your resume is to give it directly to a human. This tactic bypasses the ATS and can ensure that your resume gets the attention it deserves.
Send Your Resume to a Company Contact
To give your resume to a human, start by looking for a contact who works in the company where you’re applying. A good place to look for contacts is in your LinkedIn profile. If you find a contact within the company, you can use LinkedIn’s own messaging system to ask them if they would be willing to deliver your resume to the hiring manager.
Your note could look something like this:
Hi Jane Doe,
Remember when we both worked at Anytown consulting? It’s
been a few years, but I’ll never forget your work on the NOP project. That was
quite a project.
I notice that you now work at XYZ consulting. I’m applying
for a position as an associate there and I was wondering if you would be
willing to recommend me for the position and deliver my resume to the hiring
If you could help me, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve
attached my current resume to this email.
Note: Some companies offer a referral bonus to employees for qualified candidates they refer. So not only are they doing you a favor by referring you, you could also be doing them a favor as well.
Finding Company Contacts on LInkedIn
If you don’t know a contact within the company, you still may be able to find the name of the hiring manager on LinkedIn. Once you’ve got a name, invite them to be a connection first—this lets them see your profile and acquaint themselves with your qualifications.
Meanwhile, apply for the position through the conventional means, then send the hiring manager a short note (remember, these people are busy) mentioning your interest in working for the company. Quickly explain that you applied for the position and why you feel you’re qualified.
With any luck, the hiring manager will respond and start a conversation with you. If your LinkedIn profile looks good, they may search for your resume in the pool of applicants or ask you to send it directly to them. Either way, you’ve met your goal of getting your resume in front of a real person.
For guidance on how to set up a professional LinkedIn profile, study this article:
5. Use a Professional Email Address
The email address you use for job applications and to send out your resume can make a bad impression. If you’re like many of us, you may have created an email years ago when you were in school. Unfortunately, some of those student usernames may give a potential employer the wrong impression.
The best email addresses use a well-known email service (such as Gmail) and a variation of your first and last name. Alternately, if you’ve got a personal professional website, it’s acceptable to use that email. Again, use your first and last name as the user name.
Here’s are examples of professional and unprofessional email addresses.
Unprofessional Email Address
Professional Email Address
6. How to Attach a Resume to Email
Now that you’ve created a professional resume, you’re ready to submit it to a company. If you’re responding to a job posting, follow the instructions carefully. If you’re sending the resume to an individual, you’ll likely be using email.
Be careful about the time you choose to send your resume email. An email sent on a Friday, or late in the day (just before closing) is less likely to be read.
Most email services make it easy to attach a document. Here’s how to attach a resume to email using two common email service providers:
How to Attach a Resume With Gmail
Here’s how to email cover letter and resume in Gmail:
1. Start a new email by clicking the Compose button.
2. Type the email, including the recipient’s email address and subject line.
3. Click the Attach Files icon (it looks like a paper clip) on the bottom of the screen.
4. From the File Upload screen, attach the file that contains your resume and cover letter.
5. Click the Open button at the bottom of the File Upload screen. The resume is attached to the email.
6. Click the Send button in the left of your message to send the email with your resume.
Learn more about getting started working with Gmail:
How to Attach a Resume With MS Outlook
Here’s how to email cover letter and resume in MS Outlook:
1. Click the New Email button in the upper left corner to start a new email.
2. Type the email, including the recipient’s email address and subject line.
3. Click the Attach File icon (it looks like a paper clip) on the top of the screen.
4. Click the Browse this PC option and navigate to where you’ve got your resume file stored.
5. Click the Open button at the bottom of the Insert File screen. The resume is attached to the email.
6. Click the Send button in the top left of your message to send it.
Learn more about whether Gmail or Outlook is better to use:
7. Follow Up
Once you’ve sent your resume via email, it’s important to follow up. If you haven’t heard from your contact after a day or two, send a follow up email. It’s possible they never received your emailed resume, or they may have questions for you.
If all goes well, you may find yourself negotiating a salary for your new position. If that happens, you’ll need the information in this tutorial:
You’ve just learned how to email a resume so that the hiring manager notices. Your chances of finding employment are much better when you use your professional network to direct your resume to the right person.
We’ve also discussed some techniques that’ll keep you from making a bad first impression, such as using a professional resume template and sending your information from a professional email address.
To learn even more about creating a standout resume, study our series of tutorials on resumes, How to Create a Great Resume (Ultimate Guide).
Good luck in your job search and landing a great position!