Should I Send My Cover Letter and Resume In The Body of The Email Or As An Attachment?
I get many questions from people about resume writing. One question that’ve heard several times goes something like this:
[blockquote] “When applying over email, is it better to include a cover letter and resume in the body of email, or attach them and refer to the attachment in the text of the email? Or both?” [/blockquote]
It’s a really valid question — and a tough one to answer.
But, tough as it is, digging deep into the answer helps us discover a lot of great new methods for getting your resume into the right hands.
Let’s look at a really common scenario.
You start by emailing your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager/decision maker. (Kudos to you, you’re already ahead of many). But you immediately run into obstacle number one: A lot of emails don’t ever get opened. A lot of opened emails don’t ever get read.
On top of that, if you are sending your resume and cover letter to a larger company, chances are the person opening your email is the secretary of the decision maker, meaning that he/she never actually gets the email in the first place!
Yuck! That makes your chances of getting seen pretty slim … even with a fantastic resume and cover letter!
Ok, let’s continue the scenario and assume you’re lucky. Your email makes it to the decision maker and he actually reads it all. Whets next?
Well, it probably gets forwarded to HR, which starts the process over again. The chances that your resume and cover letter will even be opened, much less read and passed on again are not exactly in your favor.
Even if they do take the time to read through your email, keep in mind that HR’s job is to pick out just a few candidates from stacks and stacks ( an average of 250 resumes per opening) of faceless digital competitors.
And that’s not the only reason it’s difficult to get your resume and cover letter to be seen. Every time someone looking at your email has to click the mouse to see more, the less likely they are to follow through. Opening an attachment is one of those things that, face it, people are just too lazy to do if they aren’t totally sold in the first few lines.
So, let’s get back to the question at hand: “Is it better to include a cover letter in the body of email, or attach it to the email”.
See, if you really want the best chances of getting your resume and cover letter seen by the right people, you’re going to have to
try something different.
Like what? Well, you are going to have to make it really, really easy for the reader to see the documents and really try to entice them to take a good
It’s obvious that recruiters, hiring managers, and employers don’t want to get just a short, impersonal email that says “here’s my cover letter and resume, thanks!” either. There has to be something of value in the text of the email, too. Something that grabs their attention enough to “click” the attachment and open your resume and cover letter.
So here’s what I suggest that you do:
1. Write an email that is a warm, brief note that sells them on opening your document.
You can use a little of the text from your cover letter, but please don’t copy and paste. You don’t want the person reading the email to have to read the same thing twice. Big turnoff! Remember: The point of the email should be to get your resume and cover letter opened and read.
2. Make the entire process as few steps as possible.
Of course do this short of including the resume in the text of your email. One good way to do this is to merge both the cover letter and resume in one document so the
recipients only have to open one.
3. Be sure the attachment is a PDF file.
A PDF is the most professional way to include your document, because it is an unchangeable format that looks finished and polished.
4. Expert’s tip:
You can use http://www.pdfmerge.com/ to combine the two PDF’s into one document so that the recipients don’t have to open separate docs, which once again minimized the numbers of steps that need to be taken for the reader to access the info, thus making it more likely that they will see the information.
Starting to get the idea?
By including nice and concise content in the body of the email, the attachments are more likely be read. This ensures that the reader has content to read
without having to open the attachment, but it also includes the professional look of a well-done cover letter and resume.
So get out there and do it!
By the way, if you find that answer somewhat unsatisfactory, then believe it or not, you’re probably on the right track.
While I firmly believe that the above answer is the best option given that you are most definitely committed to emailing the hiring manager, I think there is a better way.
See, in the ideal world, you’re not just going to want to send an email.
You’re going to want to put your resume right in front of the hiring manager’s nose. You know, something as apparent as a FedEx package delivered to their door.
Hmmm … That actually isn’t a bad idea at all.
Before I get off track and go into a different topic entirely, I’ll just say this. If you want a more in-depth analysis on ways to really capture the employer’s attention (and a lot more on this “Fed-Ex” idea), you’ve got to check out the post I wrote called “Why aren’t employers calling me back? My resume is AMAZING!” … It’s pretty darn good and the ideas contained have been worth many thousands of dollars for professional resume clients. I guarantee it is well worth your time.