The Clearest Way to Include a Resume in an Email

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Taylor Tobin1.84k
July 13, 2024 at 12:55AM UTC

If you’ve applied for a professional job within the last ten years, then you’ve likely sent your resume via email to a hiring manager or HR department. Digital resume submissions account for the vast majority of job-application procedures for office roles these days, so it’s crucial to understand the clearest, most direct and most effective ways to introduce your candidacy in an email. 

This, of course, includes coming up with proper phrasing when letting a hiring manager know to look for a resume attachment in an emailed message. But what should that phrasing look like, and are there specific terms and intro styles to avoid in this context? Read on to find out. 

What are the best ways to announce an attached resume in an email?

Because attaching a resume to an email is such a normal and expected way to apply for jobs in this day and age, there’s no need to stress about “introducing” your resume in an appropriate and compelling fashion. Simple and straightforward phrasing works best in these scenarios, and examples include:

1. “Please see attached for my resume.”

This may be a no-frills statement, but it gets the job done. Some hiring managers might consider it a bit outdated, but it generally still comes across as clear and professional.

2. “You can find my resume in the attachment below or by clicking this link.”  

If you have your resume posted online (on your own personal website or on a platform like LinkedIn), it can be helpful to include the link along with a .doc or .pdf attachment. If the hiring manager is reviewing resumes using a mobile device, you can sometimes avoid formatting snafus by using an online resume link. However, make sure that you also include the attachment, as many hiring managers like to print submitted resumes at some point during the process, and a .pdf or .doc file will already be easily formatted for printing.

3. “I included my resume in an email attachment; please let me know if you have any questions!”

For a more conversational and relaxed introduction that still provides the necessary information, try a phrasing like this one. It removes some of the inherent formality of “please see attached," but still reads as professional and direct.

At the end of the day, the way that you choose to present your resume in the context of an application email is a matter of personal taste. As long as you’re courteous and forthcoming about the attachment, you can select any combination of words that feel authentic and true to your own speech patterns within a work context. 

What are the worst ways to announce an attached resume?

As we mentioned previously, there isn’t necessarily a “wrong” way to introduce your resume in an email — but there are certain choices that hiring managers perceive as less professional and helpful than others. For instance:

Failing to introduce your resume at all.

It can feel a bit unnecessary to tell a hiring manager that you’ve attached a resume file when you assume that they can easily see the attachment icon on the message. However, pointing out the attachment works to your benefit for a few reasons. 

First of all, depending on the device and/or the browser that the hiring manager is using when reading your email, she might not be able to see an attachment icon. Many managers will automatically assume that any emailed cover letter also has a resume attached, but enough won’t that it’s best to avoid any risk by clearly indicating the resume’s presence in the body of your email.  

Also, if you’re a Gmail user, then including a phrase like “attached is my resume” in the body of your email will activate the platform’s spot-checking program, and if you accidentally try to send the email without attaching your resume file, Gmail will provide you with a reminder. It’s a nice “insurance policy” that can help you avoid that simple mistake. 

Any phrasing that diminishes the importance of your resume.

If you’re early in your career and don’t yet have a resume stocked with work experience and measurable accomplishments, you may feel tempted (or you may be advised by a career counselor) to use your cover letter to draw the hiring manager’s attention away from your resume and to instead highlight other qualities (personality attributes, personal-life experiences, etc.) that you think will help boost your candidacy. 

However, it’s important to remember that hiring managers ask for resumes for good reason. They want to see your professional experience and educational background in a digestible, easy-to-scan format, and any statement in the vein of “The qualities that make me a strong candidate for this role can’t be conveyed in a resume, but I did include one just in case” will make you look naive at best and arrogant at worst. 

What’s the easiest and clearest way to include a cover letter in an email?

In the majority of job application processes for professional roles, you’ll be asked to submit both a resume and a cover letter (and even if you’re not explicitly asked to send a cover letter, it’s definitely to your benefit to do so anyway). A cover letter gives you the opportunity to offer up additional support for your candidacy that isn’t plainly listed on your resume, and as with a resume, it’s important to present your cover letter in the most accessible way possible.

Unless the application directly requests otherwise, it’s typically easiest to include the cover letter in the body of your email. However, if the job posting asks for an attachment, save the cover letter in a file that can be opened with a wide range of programs and on a wide range of devices. PDFs and Word documents are the safest bets for this. Resist the urge to send your cover letter or your resume as a Google Doc (unless the application instructs you otherwise); if the hiring manager isn’t a Google Docs user, the link may not load in the format or with the information that you originally intended.

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