When you send an email that contains your cover letter and resume, it is very important to keep in mind that you only have between 15 and 20 seconds to get the attention of your prospective employer. During this time, you have to get the person who receives the email to open your email, read your email and not delete your email. To make these things happen and to get your submissions considered, it is important to remember the following rules:

  1. Use a subject line that catches your reader’s attention. When you respond to a job listing, include the job title and/or job code in the subject. When you are not responding to a jobs listing, use a short sentence that specifies the purpose of your email. This helps your recipient quickly understand what your email is about without having to actually open the email message.
  2. The first part of your email message should include your cover letter. Don’t attach the cover letter in a second document. Including the cover letter in the first part of your message will allow your reader to quickly get into the important details of you fit the position.
  3. Never send your resume as an attachment to an email. The resume should be included direct below the cover letter. Including attachments in your email could cause your message to be rejected by email systems and no one wants to download an attachment that might take a long time to download and isn’t from someone they know.
  4. Unless your email is properly formatted for email, it may not appear correctly in all email clients and operating systems. Format your email message using a plain text editor, such as Note Pad, and then copy and paste into your email client. Try to check how your message looks on multiple operating systems and email clients.
  5. Always follow the directions specified by the job posting, even if some of the specification break some of the above rules. It is more important that you show the prospective employer that you can follow direction. If they tell you to send the message as a PDF or a Word document, then that is exactly what you should do.