Why do companies ask you to send emails with a cover letter and resume? Do people even read their emails anymore? Most of us spend a lot of time tailoring our emails, does it help?

The number of emails and cover letters flooding a hiring manager’s inbox can be overwhelming, yet somehow hiring managers, human resources professionals, and recruiters find ways to sort candidates who are easily selected, or eliminate them from the “potential interview” pile. Your goal as a job candidate is to find ways to help the screener keep you moving in the right direction. Here is some excellent advice to do so…

  • Never use “Resume”, “Resume2,” or even “Elementary School Teacher Resume” as the name of your attachment. An employer will receive many such attachments; how can they expect to locate yours easily? The attachment folder in their email program usually contains many files with such titles. Therefore, it is much better to use “Name Resume” or a title that will be unique to only you.
  • Next, put some kind of statement in the email, with a line saying how you know about the opening and that your resume and cover letter are attached. Some screeners will not open attachments unless they have an idea of what is in them. Furthermore, if they receive applications with no email text – only attachments – very often those emails are sent directly to the trash.
  • Another excellent idea is to put your cover letter in body of the email itself instead of adding it as an attachment. If you have a strong, relevant cover letter, save the screener some time by not having to open the cover letter attachment. Bring that information right to the forefront of the process.
  • Some other good ideas are to make sure you review your resume after you send it electronically. How does it look?
  • Effectively utilize the subject line in emails. If you were referred by someone, use the name in the subject line for a better chance at a response.
  • Use the language in the ad to highlight your capabilities – and make sure to show results, not just responsibilities.
  • Can you use a testimonial in your cover letter? Quote a customer or manager who offers information about how effective you were in a job task, solving a problem, or adding value.


All of the details matter, so review each step in your process to make sure you are making all your efforts count. You do not want to be excluded from an opportunity because of a small flaw in the process. Evaluate all your job search steps as if you were the hiring manager. Are you making it easy for the reader to see why they should meet you? Do all your communications look professional? Are your name, phone number and email address all easily accessible on all communications? Can you connect the hiring manager to someone you know? Hiring organizations really do want to hire great people. Help them find their way to you!