How To Apply for Jobs Using Email

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How to apply for jobs using email

The Balance / Melissa Ling

When you are using email to apply for jobs, it's important that all your communications are as professional as they would be if you were mailing a paper resume and cover letter. That's how your job application will get noticed by the hiring manager, opened, and read.

Take the time to compile your application materials, carefully proofread and edit them, test-send them to yourself to be sure everything is in working order before you email the documents to the employer, and keep a copy for your records so you can follow up on your application.

Here's advice on how to apply for a job via email, including every step in the process of getting your resume and cover letter ready to send your message.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to follow the employer’s instructions. The organization may specify what file type to use, typically a Word document or PDF.
  • Use a file name that contains your name so it’s easy for the employer to keep track of your resume.
  • Proofread and send a test message to yourself before sending it to the employer to ensure the final version is perfect.

Get Your Documents Ready

Vector Minimalist Creative Cover Letter And One Page Resume/CV Template On White Background
BDCreations / Getty Images

When you are sending cover letters and resumes as email attachments, the first step is to save your resume and letter in the right file format. In most cases, your documents should be sent as either a PDF or a Microsoft Document.

Here's how to save your resume:

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 whatever word processing program you use.

For a Google Doc: click "File, Download, Microsoft Word (.docx)."

Save as a PDF

To save your documents as a PDF, depending on your word processing software, you may be able to select "File, Print to Adobe PDF" or "File, Save As," and choose the PDF option.

For a Google Doc: click File, Download, PDF Document (.pdf).

PDF Converter Programs

If the word processing software you’re using doesn’t have a conversion option, there are programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF.

Saving documents as PDFs helps ensure that no formatting errors will appear if the person opening the documents has a different operating system from your own.

Use Your Name as the File Name

Use your name as the file name, so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is, i.e., janakamalresume.docx and janakamalcoverletter.docx.


Follow the instructions in the job posting. Many employers specify how they want to receive application materials. If you send a format other than what the company requests, your application may not be considered.

Write an Email Cover Letter

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

Email Cover Letter Example

Here’s an example of an email message to accompany an attached resume and cover letter.

Subject: Jana Kamal - Assistant Marketing Manager Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am very interested in applying for the Sales Trainee position that is listed on Indeed.

I've attached my resume and cover letter. If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Thank you very much for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Jana Kamal

Options for Sending Your Email

Man sending email

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You can either write your cover letter directly in the email message or attach a copy of your cover letter. Either way, it's important to follow the directions in the job posting when emailing your cover letter and resume, or your application may not be considered.

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 type your cover letter directly into the email message, copy and paste it from a word processing document into an email, or if the company requests an attachment, send your cover letter with the email message.


Be brief and to the point. Your email cover letter should not be any longer than two or three short paragraphs. 

Include a Subject Line

Woman working on laptop

 Hero Images / Getty Images

The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages that you send to apply for jobs. Make sure your email message includes a subject that explains to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for.

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

Subject: Jana Kamal - Assistant Marketing Manager Position

Add a Signature

signature on tablet
pictafolio / iStock

It is important to include an email signature with your contact information, so it's easy for the company to reach 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.

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) at the bottom of your message.

Jana Kamal

Attach a Resume and Cover Letter

Young woman using laptop working from home
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Once your email message is ready to send, you will need to attach your resume and cover letter to your message. Here’s how:

Microsoft Outlook: Click on "Insert, Attach File." Microsoft Outlook will display a list of files in the default file folder of your computer. If your files are stored in a different folder, click on the appropriate folder.

Gmail: Click the paperclip image ("attach files") to add your documents to the message.

Click to select the file you want to add to your email message and click on "Insert" to attach the document to your email message.

Proofread and Send a Job Application

woman holding pen over resume application with smart phone and using computer laptop to job search on online internet. applying for a job concept.
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Before you click send, be sure to proofread your email for grammar and spelling. Check to make sure that you have added a subject and your signature to the message.

Then send a test message to yourself to be sure all the attachments come through, and your email message is perfect.

Finally, 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 resume will be on the way to the employer.

Applying for Jobs Online

It's all happening online
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In addition to applying for jobs via email, you will most likely also have to apply for jobs directly online. Many employers, especially large companies, use applicant tracking systems (also known as talent management systems) to track and manage job applications.

Be prepared to upload your resume and cover letter in the format requested by an employer. The application system will provide instructions on how to apply and upload your materials.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. ZipJob. “Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022."

  2. Google Docs Editors Help. “Create, View, or Download a File.”

  3. Gmail Help. "Create a Gmail Signature."

  4. Microsoft. "Create and Add an Email Signature in"

  5. Microsoft. "Attach Files or Insert Pictures in Outlook Email Messages."

  6. Gmail Help. "Send Attachments With Your Gmail Message."

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