Résumé Tips

E-Mailing Your Résumé

E-Mailing Your Résumé

As seen on wsj.com

What are the hazards of using e-mail to send a résumé? E-mail is such a common -- and simple -- way to send a résumé to an employer or recruiter. But there are many ways job seekers can thwart their chances of finding employment when taking this approach.

Steven Himmelrich, president of a Baltimore public-relations firm, is currently trying to fill an associate position and has fielded résumés e-mailed to him in a variety of ways. But he mainly believes that candidates should keep it simple.

"My expectations for résumés sent by e-mail are no different than those sent by postal mail," says Mr. Himmelrich. "I'm still looking for simple, professional presentations with all the elements that one expects: a customized cover letter and a clear, easy-to-read résumé."

Many career experts advise job seekers to send the résumé as an attachment rather than in the body of the e-mail. One major reason is that résumés format poorly when pasted into the body of an e-mail. And often times, the recipient "will save the attachment only," says Anastasia Carroll, president of New York search firm Carroll Consulting.

Candidates also should personally know or at least have been referred to the person to whom they are e-mailing their résumés. Janet Long, president of Integrity Search Inc. in Springfield, Pa., says she gets hundreds of unsolicited e-mails each day but doesn't open any of them. "Between e-mail overload and fear of computer viruses, we don't open attachments unless we are expecting them or unless the mailer includes a recognized and respected referral source in the subject line of the message," she says.

Others say job seekers should be careful when they are cutting and pasting their résumé to send out to a recruiter or employer. Ken Taunton, managing partner at Royster Group Inc., an Atlanta search firm, says a candidate applying for a senior-level position probably was registered with a job-search engine, because the individual e-mailed a copy of his résumé with the search-engine logo. He assumes the individual copied his résumé from one of the sites.

"I was completely shocked to witness a senior executive portray such laziness in an economy where recruiters and employers have a vast amount of candidates to choose from," says Mr. Taunton. "Needless to say, we noted in our database not to consider him for future engagements."

Ray Brizendine, a recruiter in the San Francisco office of Alexander Group, a Houston search firm, says candidates should stay away from tricks when e-mailing a résumé. He cautions individuals from marking an e-mail "urgent" in the subject line or adding a "re" in the subject line to make it appear like a reply to an earlier message.

Candidates should also assume that an employer has a system that organizes résumés using keywords, but may not recognize certain graphics, italic and fancy fonts, icons, or handwriting, says Laurie Swanson, president of Laso Corp., a technical-recruiting firm in Wheaton, Ill. "You will then not make it into their system and not be considered for any current or future openings," she warns.

Tips for Job seekers on how to e-mail résumés to recruiters or employers:


  • Use Microsoft Word when emailing a résumé in document form as it is a universal standard.
  • Send your résumé to friends who have both a MAC and a PC to make sure it travels well and formats properly.
  • Have updated virus protection!
  • Send it to yourself to make sure it looks professional and is to your liking.


  • Send a résumé without writing a message in the body of the e-mail.
  • Use an inappropriate email address.
  • Say anything too quirky in the email's subject line, i.e. "I'm your guy."
  • Ask a recruiter or employer to re-write your résumé.
  • E-mail a résumé multiple times.

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