More and more job applicants are electing to submit resumes via email. But what are the rules when email your resume to employers?
According to 2011 figures, approximately 300 billion emails make their way across the web-o-sphere each and every day. Tech experts estimate that approximately 80% of those emails are spam, but the remaining 20% contain valuable information, including resumes and cover letters.
From a convenience standpoint, it’s hard to beat email resume submissions. In theory, you can spot a job posting online and within minutes, have a resume and cover letter in the hands of decision-makers.
But email resume submissions also present certain challenges that need to be addressed before you hit send. As the practice of emailing resumes continues to grow, you’ll want to incorporate the following tips and guidelines into your job search routines.
To Email or Not to Email?
Many people automatically assume that employers are open to receiving resumes and cover letters via email. After all, who doesn’t use email these days? But in practice, you should never assume that it’s okay to submit your resume electronically. If the job posting includes an email address but doesn’t specifically state that email resumes are acceptable (or preferred), the safe bet is to either stick with snail mail or contact the employer for permission to email.
Attachments vs. Body of the Email
Some employers prefer to receive resumes as attachments; others ask applicants to include their resumes in the body of the email, primarily due to concerns about the transmission of viruses.
For formatting purposes, it’s always better to send a resume as an attachment and to include your cover letter in the body of the email. (Avoid submitting cover letters as separate attachments.)
If you are required to include your resume in the body of the email, try to eliminate fancy formatting as much as possible. You’ll want to begin the email with your cover letter, followed by the resume in a standard font (e.g. Arial) with basic bullet points and bolded or italicized headings.
To be safe, send your resume to another email account and proof it for formatting errors before you send it to the employer.
Most employers are good about describing the file formats they prefer for attachments. When in doubt MS Word (.doc) or PDF are go-to file formats in the business community and are almost always acceptable for emailed resume submissions.