Looking for a job can be overwhelming. There are more people than ever before competing for the same positions. For that reason, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you make an excellent first impression. Of course, your resume will almost always be your first impression. But different companies collect resumes in different ways. If a company asks specifically for applicants to email their resumes, it’s important to know how to do so elegantly. In addition, if you would like to target specific individuals within a company, you should also know how to email a resume.
First, we will go over the easy part. How to email a resume if you’ve been specifically asked to do so.
After that, we’ll dive into the harder part. How to reach out to hiring managers within a company you’re targeting in your job search, without any prior communication.
How to email a resume for a job listing
You’ve been asked to submit your resume via email. How do you do that in the most professional manner?
Make sure your email address is professional
Sending a resume with an unprofessional email address will disqualify you from job contention. This is true across the board. It shows both a lack of effort and being totally uninformed about the professional world.
An impactful, professional email will have a professional email address.
Ditch the old email@example.com for something more refined.
If you’re not sure what to use for the new address, keep in mind that simplicity is key. The best option is usually something like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you’re scared you may accidently forget about or miss emails to your new address, set up email forwarding. Here are some links to forwarding instructions for the most popular email services today:
Make sure your email subject line is perfect
After your email address, the subject line is the first thing the hiring manager will see. A subject line will often be the determining factor as to whether the email will be opened. Why?
Hiring managers receive hundreds of emails. So much that they often sort them using a search function. If they search “software engineer” when looking for applications for that open position and your resume doesn’t show up, you’ve pretty much lost your chance.
According to a study by Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients open emails based solely on the subject line. That’s insane! It truly demonstrates to us how important the email subject line really is.
Some employers will give you specific instructions for constructing your email subject line. If they don’t, include the following:
- Job Title
- Job ID (if available)
- Your name
The format will look something like this:
Software Engineer, Job ID# 3399 – John Smith
That’s it! It’s really that simple and straightforward.
For more information and a more in-depth look at email subject lines in different scenarios, check out our blog post on the best subject lines when sending a resume.
Name and save your resume/cover letter files appropriately
Don’t name your resume “resume”. Don’t name your cover letter “cover letter”. Hiring managers receive dozens, if not hundreds of applications for the same position. When sorting through the resume files later, vaguely named files must be renamed.
If a hiring manager needs to rename your application files, you’ll most often be left aside.
No reason to make it complicated. Just put your first and last name in the file name.
For example, “John Smith Resume” or “Jane Smith Cover Letter”.
Irresponsibly naming your resume is a big turnoff to hiring managers. It demonstrates a lack of critical thinking and organization. So, make sure you name it correctly, it’s super easy!
There are a lot of contradictory opinions about the resume file format on the internet. It can get really confusing!
Let’s discuss the two most popular resume file formats and the positives and negatives of each.
– Microsoft Word (.doc OR .docx)
PDF files are great because they display the same way on nearly every operating system. That means your resume will look exactly the same no matter what computer is used to open it.
That is a major plus.
The problems are:
PDFs are more difficult to edit or take notes on.
Older applicant tracking systems are unable to properly read PDF files.
In short, PDF is a great format to use in most cases. It will always display beautifully. The biggest issue to keep in mind is the ATS readability. There will be a small percentage of companies (usually the big boys) that still use old ATS systems that will be unable to read your PDF resume.
Word files are the most popular. First, they can be properly scanned by every applicant tracking system. So you’ll avoid disqualifying yourself for a reason as petty as resume file type.
Second, although not as perfect as PDF, Word files will display nicely across all systems.
Overall, both file types are fine. You should judge which type to use on a company by company basis. Large companies should always get a .doc file. Small companies can go either way.
If you want to choose just one, go with Word. Don’t be afraid to send both! (just make it clear in the body of the email to avoid confusion)
Check out our blog for more details on choosing a resume file type.
The body of the email
You’ve taken care of all the technicalities, now it’s time to write the body of the email.
It’s easy to shrug off this part of the process. After all, you already attached a cover letter. What more do you have to write?
Well, you want to stand out. Your email will NOT stand out even if the rest of your email is formatted perfectly and the body says something like:
Do Not write this:
The above email body is way too generic. It will not make your email pop or help the hiring manager remember you. More likely, it will put you in the same pile as the rest of the candidates with bland emails.
Remember, communication skills are highly valued across all industries. You want to demonstrate your adeptness at communication at every given chance.
You can keep it short and simple, just don’t forgo formal language. Here is a great example of a formal resume email body from Monster:
Instead, try this:
As you can see, the content of this resume email isn’t much more detailed than the first example. But, it is written very formally and conveys a professionalism that is lacking in the first example.
A resume email similar to this will be perfect in nearly every scenario. However, if you’d like to put a bit more detail, that’s great too and can even help improve your chances.
Remember, if you’re also including a cover letter, a long resume email is unnecessary. Summarizing and reiterating points from your formal cover letter is all you need to do.
CsuiteAssistants provided a very good example:
For more detail, this example is perfect:
The above example can be used to replace a cover letter or even to supplement it by reiterating its key points.
Your signature is what you put after the “Sincerely,”. It’s important because it makes it easier to get in contact with you. It can also look very professional if put together correctly.
The format is pretty simple. All you really need to do is place each bit of information directly under the last.
What information should you include?
- Phone Number
- Address (OPTIONAL, check out our blog on resume addresses)
- Social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter etc. OPTIONAL)
- Link to personal website/portfolio (OPTIONAL / IF APPLICABLE)
Don’t include so much information that it looks sloppy. You want a crisp signature that conveys just the right amount of information. Check out this example:
OK, so now you understand how to reply to a job listing asking for an emailed resume.
But, what if there is no job listing and you want to target a specific company? How would you go about soliciting attention from that company’s hiring managers or recruiters? We’re covering that in the next section…
But, what if there is no job listing and you want to target a specific company. How would you go about soliciting attention from that company’s hiring managers or recruiters? We’re covering that in the next section…
How to email a resume without prior correspondence
This is a totally different ball game people. Instead of shooting off your resume into the abyss and competing with (probably) hundreds of other applicants, you can do a little research and email the hiring manager directly. The benefits of this go without saying.
Of course, this approach is a lot more difficult. It requires research and grit to find the relevant email addresses that you’re going to need to be successful. But, it’s totally doable. And if you do it right, you’ll have a huge leg up on the competition.
According to uptowork.com, nearly 80% of Americans start their job search on job boards. The problem is, just sending out blind resumes to dozens of listings will only get you placed in the pile with the hundreds of other applicants.
In addition, a study by Jobvite estimates that 39.9% of hires come from employee referrals while only 7% of applications come from those referrals. That’s a HUGE increase in your chances of landing the job!
Let us show you how to avoid blending in with the rest of the 80% and get yourself into the 7%.
Don’t wait for a job opening to send your first email
If there are specific companies that you would like to work for, don’t wait. Find a contact within the company and start emailing them right away. By doing this, you’ll be putting yourself in a great position. When an opportunity opens up, you’ll be on the front of the hiring manager’s mind.
Reach out to the hiring manager (or anyone else in the company)
If you are connected to the hiring manager, perfect. If not, find a way to make the connection.
Start reaching out to friends, colleagues, fellow alumni etc. You never know who will know who. There’s a great chance that you’ll eventually find a connection who can get you the information you need.
A great resource for finding mutual connections is LinkedIn. Search for your target company on LinkedIn and browse the employee list. More likely than not, you’ll see at least a few 2nd-degree connections. That’s an awesome start!
Send a personalized message to those connections and start the dialogue there.
Uptowork provided a great example for a LinkedIn “break-the-ice” message:
Short, simple and to the point.
Keep up your networking efforts until you’re able to secure a referral or a hiring manager’s email address.
Alternative methods of securing email addresses
Instead of scouring through LinkedIn making connection after connection, you can take another approach.
There are a variety of techniques and online applications that can give you solid guesses at an individual’s email address.
As long as you have the name of the hiring manager and the name of the company, you’ll be able to make an educated guess.
First off, there is an awesome Chrome extension that guesses email addresses based on linked in profiles. It gives you a confidence meter and a few different options. It’s called Email Hunter and you should definitely check it out.
A guy named Rob Ousbey from Distilled.net put together an awesome email permutator.
You just put in the individual’s name and company and the program will respond with a massive set of possible email addresses.
You can also make good guesses at email addresses using Google. Searching for “*@companyemail.com” will bring back a list of that company’s email addresses. While you probably won’t be able to directly identify the hiring manager’s email, you should be able to find out how they format their email address.
Knowing the format by which the company assigns email addresses, along with the hiring manager’s name will give you an awesome idea of what the email address is likely to be.
If you have a few good possible addresses, test them out! MailTester is a very easy to use website that allows you to check if an email address is currently active.
Reaching out via email
Now that you’ve secured the relevant information, it’s time to send the email. Much of the rules we covered above stay the same. To quickly review, that includes:
- Professional email address
- Resume and cover letter file names includes your name
- Subject line
- Email body
The first two should remain identical to those in the standard job application. It’s the subject line and email body that need to be a little different.
Email subject line
Since this isn’t an actual job application, the subject line should be different from that discussed above for emails directly regarding job listings.
You want the email subject line to be an interesting and engaging call for discussion.
Both are attention grabbing and speak to your strengths. Use your imagination and come up with something that emphasizes your strengths and makes you pop out.
The body of the email must be detailed. Explain who you are, why you are emailing and why you want to work for the company. Attach your resume.
This time, instead of directly asking for a job opportunity, tread lightly. Ask for a conversation. See if you can get a good idea of what the company is looking for.
Most importantly, express a deep interest in the company. Your goal is to put your name on the hiring manager’s mind. That way, when an opportunity opens up, you’ll be at the top of the list of candidates.
Sometimes, it can be months before a new position opens up. Keep in touch with the hiring manager. Send out friendly emails every month or so. These emails should be light. Include a relevant news story, a congratulatory message or something similar.
One thing that remains the same regardless of the context: if you are attaching a file to the email, mention it in the body of the email.
Final Thoughts & Summary
There are 2 basic scenarios in which you’ll find yourself needing to email a resume:
- A job listing specifically asks for it.
- You are targeting a specific company for employment.
In the first scenario, emailing a resume and/or cover letter in response to a job listing, follow our 5 steps to really stand out from the crowd.
- Professional email address
- Detailed subject line (pay close attention to any specific instructions)
- Save your resume and cover letter under appropriate names
- Formal body. Even a detailed one if you’re using it to replace the cover letter
- Signature. Your name, number and websites
In the second scenario, we discussed finding ways of targeting specific companies, obtaining hiring manager email addresses, and making connections with the company. How do you get in contact with these people? We discussed a few creative ways:
- Applications and permutations
- Email validity checker
After you’ve obtained the email, the reaching out process is a bit different than that of an invited resume. There are 2 main differences:
- Subject line is more of a catchy personal advertisement.
- The body is more detailed and less aggressive.
By now, you’re an expert in using email effectively during a job search. Never again should you wonder how to email a resume. That’s great because effective emailing is often the difference between a 7-week job search and a 7-month job search.
Thanks for reading and happy job hunting!
Want to see if the resume you’re sending is in good shape? We offer a free resume review here.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if that hiring manager you spent all that time chasing read your email? Thankfully, you can. Some wonderful programmers put together some great browser extensions for that. Here are some good ones: