5. How to Send Resume and Cover Letter by Email

Send It, Computer

In this section you will...

  • learn how to title your files
  • learn which file types are acceptable
  • learn when to attach your files
  • learn what to put in the subject of the email
  • learn what to put in the body of the email for an email cover letter
  • learn what to review before you click “Send”



Step 1: What to Call Your Files

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Your email cover letter and email resume should be sent as separate documents—NOT as one document—unless specifically asked to do so by an employer.

Before you send your resume and cover letter to an employer, make sure you title them appropriately like so:

[Your Name] [Resume / Cover Letter], [Month.Day.Year]

Always attach the cover letter first, then attach the resume. This will ensure that the cover letter will be read first and have the intended effect.


Step 2: What Types of Files You Should Use

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The only acceptable files for email resumes and email cover letters that you should use are .doc for a Microsoft Word document, a .pdf for Adobe Acrobat reader, or a .rtf for Rich Text Format. However, always read the job posting carefully for specific instructions. If the employer requests a certain file type, or a preference for a certain file type, obviously go with that one. If the employer does NOT request a specific type, use one of the following types:

  • .pdf
  • .doc
  • .rtf

Step 3: When to Attach Your Files

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Attach your files—email cover letter first, then email resume—unless the employer specifically states NO ATTACHMENTS. If the employer states NO ATTACHMENTS in the job posting, then copy and paste your cover letter and resume (in that order) into the body of the email. No further work is necessary if that is the case. Click send.

Step 4: What Goes in the Subject of the Email

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First, always check the job posting to see if the employer had any specific instructions for attaching files. Employers like to to weed out candidates who “can’t follow directions.” The subject of the email should be almost identical to the name you gave your resume and cover letter. The format is as follows:

[Your Name], [Job Title] Job Application, [Month.Day.Year]

Arthur's Subject Line to Lionheart


Step 5: What Goes in the Body of the Email

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In the body of the email, do your research (make a phone call if you have to) and greet the employer with a specific name. Then, below the greeting, write a brief 30 Second Commercial, thank the employer for their time, and say you look forward to hearing from them. Then sign off with “Best wishes” or “Best regards” or “Sincerely,” and put your name, phone number, and email.

Arthur's Email to Lionheart

Step 6: Review Carefully Before You Click the Send Button

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Before you send, review the following checklist:

  • Are the files I’m sending actually my correct email cover letter and email resume?
  • Are the files I’m sending a .pdf, .doc, or .rtf?
  • Is the resume and cover letter written specifically for the job?
  • Are the keywords from the job posting inserted into the SKILLS section of my resume?
  • Have I had at least 3 smart friends or Giraffe Resume look over my application?
  • Does my cover letter convey professional research and show interest in the company?

Then click “Send.”


  • Title your files using: [Name] [Resume or Cover Letter], [Job Title] Job Application, [Month.Day.Year]
  • Only the .doc, .pdf, or .rtf are acceptable file types unless stated otherwise by an employer
  • Always attach the email cover letter first and then the email resume— and attach them as separate documents
  • In the subject of the email, put your [Name], [Job Title] Job Application, [Month.Day.Year]
  • Research and find a specific name to greet the employer with
  • Put a brief 30 Second Commercial in the body of the email
  • Review everything carefully before you click “Send”






Previous: How to Write a Cover Letter                                                                                      Next: How to Interview Well Under Pressure




Send your cover letter and resume as separate files unless an employer asks you to do otherwise.



Personally we prefer using .pdf files because it prevents any formatting issues from happening when you open a file with different computers. All .pdf files look exactly the same on any type of computer. Go with that type unless asked otherwise.





Make sure you save your files as a .rtf before copying and pasting them into the body of the email. This will prevent formatting issues from occurring.


Always check the job posting to see if the employer had any specific instructions. Employers like to weed out candidates who “can’t follow directions.”







If after researching the company you still cannot find an appropriate contact name, greet the company with “Dear Human Resources.”