How To Email a Resume to an Employer

How to email a resume

Emily Roberts / The Balance


Do you need to email a resume to apply for a job? If so, you might find yourself confused about the best way to do it. Should you send your cover letter and resume as attachments or include them in the body of the email?

Most importantly, always follow the employer’s instructions on how to submit your job materials. The job posting should give you detailed information on how you are expected to apply. You may be asked to upload your resume online or to email it. 

Here are step-by-step instructions for emailing your resume to apply for a job, including creating and formatting plain text resumes and sending PDF files or Word documents as attachments.

Key Takeaways

  • Always follow the employer’s instructions. They should indicate whether to paste your resume into the body of the email or send it as an attachment (and what file type to use in that case, e.g., a Word document or PDF).
  • Choose the right file name. The best file names include your name and do not include version numbers, which might make it seem as if you’re not invested in this particular job.
  • Proofread and test before sending. Make sure your email is professionally formatted and typo-free before you hit send.

How To Send a Resume to an Employer

If you’re asked to send your resume via email, you may be advised on what format you should use for it, what to include in the subject line of the email, and the deadline by which the employer needs to receive it.

For example, the employer may request that you upload or email your document(s) as an Adobe PDF file or a Microsoft Word document. When you email a resume or cover letter, you will typically be asked to add them to the message as attachments.

The first rule of thumb when emailing a resume is to do exactly what the job listing states. If the listing asks you to send your resume in a particular format or asks you to save your resume under a specific name, be sure to do so. 


Employers are less likely to consider job applications that do not follow submission instructions exactly.

Use a Clear Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing the employer will see when deciding whether or not to open your message. Make sure your subject line clearly states the purpose of the message so that the employer does not mistake it for spam or otherwise overlook it. The subject line should include the job title and your name and should be edited for spelling errors. Here are some examples:

  • Customer Service Representative – Your Name
  • Administrative Assistant Resume – Your Name
  • Communications Director Position – Your Name

Keep It Simple

Whether you paste your resume into the body of the email message or send it as an attachment, keep the font and style simple. Use an easy-to-read font and remove any fancy formatting. 

Don't use HTML, emoticons, colored fonts, or images. You don't know what email client the employer is using, so simple is best. Otherwise, the employer may not see a formatted message the same way you do.

Attachments vs. Pasting Plain Text

Keep in mind that some employers do not accept attachments. In such cases, paste your resume into your email message as plain text. However, when there are no instructions, the easiest way to send your resume is as an attachment. That will preserve your resume content and format. Your cover letter can also be sent as an attachment or it can be written in the body of the email message.

How To Create a Plain Text Resume

Here's how to paste a formatted resume to create a plain text version:

  • Copy your resume into a plain text editor such as Notepad (which should be available as an app on your computer) or into a Word document or a Google Docs document. In Google Docs, right-click and select “Paste Without Formatting.” In Word, depending on your version, select “Paste Options: Keep Text Only” or “Paste Special: Unformatted Text.” 
  • Align the text to the left.
  • Replace bullets with dashes or asterisks. 
  • Use capital letters for section titles, for example, Work Experience, Education, etc.
  • Add spacing between sections so your resume is easy to read.

Choose a Resume File Format

If you're uploading your resume online or sending it as an email attachment, be sure to read the job listing carefully for any directions on what format the employer would prefer for your resume. If there are no directions, submit the resume as either a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or as a PDF file. These are the formats most commonly preferred by employers. 

If you have saved your resume in Google Docs or with word processing software other than Microsoft Word, convert it to the desired format. You should be able to click “File” and then "Download" and save it as a Word document or PDF.

Depending on your word processing software, you may be able to save your document as a PDF by selecting the “File” menu and then the submenu “Save As” (or “Save a Copy”) and then selecting "PDF" as the desired file format. If not, there are free programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF.

Name Your Attachment

If you attach your resume to your email, remember that your employer can see the title of your document. Include your name in the title so that the employer will know, at a glance, who you are. For example, you could name your resume “Firstname_Lastname_Resume.”

Don’t use a generic title such as “Resume” or, even worse, “Resume 1” or “Resume 2.” This might make the employer think you don’t care enough about the job to tailor your materials specifically to the position. It also doesn’t help the employer remember who you are.

Include Your Signature

At the bottom of the email message, include an email signature with your contact information so it's easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you. In your signature, include your name, email address, phone number, and the URL of your LinkedIn profile, if you have one.

Sample Email Signature

Kyle McMahon

How To Send an Email Cover Letter

When applying for a job via email, you may be asked to send your cover letter in the body of your email message. If so, you can write your letter directly into the email or copy and paste an existing letter.

If the job posting doesn't specify how to send it, you can also choose to include your cover letter as an attachment. If you do so, use the same format you used for your resume (for example, if your resume is a PDF, your cover letter should be too). Also, use the same naming convention as you did for your resume, e.g., janedoecoverletter.doc.


Be sure to read the directions on the job application carefully: sometimes companies want all your materials sent as one PDF or Word document, and other times they want each document as a separate attachment.

Include an Introduction in Your Email

If you do send both your resume and letter as attachments, include a brief introduction in your email message. In it, mention the job you are applying for, and note that your resume and cover letter (and any other requested materials) are attached.

Review a Sample Email Message

Here's an example of an email message sent to apply for a job. It mentions that the candidate's resume and cover letter are attached.

Subject: Customer Service Manager Position - Your Name

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am very interested in applying for the Customer Service Manager position that is listed on

I've attached my resume and cover letter. If there's any additional information you need, please let me know.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


FirstName LastName

Tips for Emailing a Resume

Before you send your resume to an employer, be sure the final version is perfect.

Carefully Edit and Proofread Your Documents

Make sure you use spellcheck and check your grammar and capitalization. Employers expect the same level of professionalism in emails as they do in paper correspondence. Be sure to proofread your subject line, the body of your email, and any attachments.

Many email programs have built-in spellcheckers you can use. Alternatively, write your message using a word processing program, spell- and grammar-check it, and paste it into the email. 


There are free online proofreading programs, such as Grammarly, that you can use to check your documents.

No matter how you write it, be sure not to rely solely on spellcheckers, which can miss many grammar and spelling mistakes. Reread your message yourself and consider having a friend look at it as well.

Use a Professional Email Address

Make sure to use a professional email address that includes your first and last name or at least part of your name. If you don’t have one yet, create a new professional email address, if possible.

Send a Test Email Message

Before you click “Send,” be sure your application is good to go:

  • Attach your resume to an email, then send the message to yourself to test that the formatting works. 
  • Open the attachment so you are sure you attached the right file in the correct format and that it opens correctly. 
  • If there are issues, update your materials and send another test message to yourself. Once everything looks good, send it to the employer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it better to send a resume as a Word document or a PDF?

Most employers accept both Word documents and PDFs. In some cases, they will specify in the job posting which type of resume format they want to receive. A PDF preserves your original formatting, so it will be viewed the same way on all computers. A Word document can be easily read by many different programs. Some surveys report that employers prefer Microsoft Word documents. 

What should be included in an email message when a resume is sent as an attachment?

When you send a resume as an attachment, there are two options for writing an email to accompany it. You can either write an introductory email message and send your resume and cover letter as attachments, or you can write your cover letter in the body of the email. If the job posting specifies how to send your application materials, follow those instructions.

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  2. ZipJob. “Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022."

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

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