The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Emailing Your Resume: Creating Buyer Interest
by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

We receive scores of resumes every week from all over North America and the world. Almost one-half of those submissions fail to properly serve the sender for very avoidable reasons.

This article is meant to provide constructive ideas to increase the odds of your resume being considered for any given position.


Not saving a resume document in your own name.

Effect: The reader has to change the filename of your resume document to keep track of who and where you are in their system.

Imagine that you are a hiring manager, or a recruiter receiving dozens of resumes, and you receive a resume that has the filename: res.doc or cv.txt.You save the attachment to your desktop. Your boss or client wants to receive the resumes of likely candidates for a position. You also receive resumes from a Jane Smith and John Brown, also saved to your desktop. Which resume are you going to read first? Chances are, you’ll choose the one with the name. Many resume readers are not the final hiring manager. Assistants are often used to pre-screen submissions. These assistants do not want to spend any more time than is necessary on your document. Give the reader your name to refer to upfront without them having to change the filename.


Not saving a standard introductory letter in the Drafts folder  to use as needed: Leaving the message area blank.

Effect: The reader doesn't know who you are or why you are writing. Many spam or virus messages have no text in them. Combine this with a resume with no name on it and you are asking for the message to be deleted.

If you are taking the time and trouble to send a message, why not say something about yourself? If you save a standard message, which you can customize according to the position you are applying for, you can copy and paste a message in one or two clicks. You have now tripled your chances that your attachment will be opened.


Sending an attachment to be opened within another attachment.

Effect: The reader is very likely to delete the message without bothering to open the second attachment.

This is simply begging the reader to pass over your message. There is double the work involved in opening your double attachment (.eml) and with some readers, you will generate the fear of opening a potential virus. Not good.


Multiple document attachments saved to the same message. Two, three or even four different documents.

Effect: Two or three different operations (sometimes more) are then required to view all of the documents. Much time is wasted and that does not put the reader in your court.

It isn't necessary to put your resume on separate pages and save the documents individually. You defeat your purpose in doing this. Hiring managers prefer to have one document to open instead of two, three or four. Save the reader's time spent opening attachments and you increase the odds that you will be actively considered.


Not pasting a .txt version of your resume in the body of the email message.

Effect: You lessen the likelihood of being considered for a position because the reader cannot instantly assess if you have the minimum qualifications for the position.

Readers involved in the pre-selection process to weed out the keep and the discard piles are very reluctant to open any resume attachment that has a) no name, b) multiple attachments and c) no contact information in the email message. Remember, in order to be actively considered, you have to be visible to the reader. Instantly connect with the reader by pasting the resume text in the message and be absolutely ruthless in editing it. Edit the text so that every word serves to create interest. The average message is given maybe 20 seconds of initial viewing time. You have to capture the reader’s interest in a few short seconds. Keep a full resume for your attachment if you want to attach one. Use the email message itself to hit the keywords and phrases that relate to the position you are applying for. Make the text relevant.


Not using the Subject line effectively to concisely state your case and provide contact information.

Effect: Blank subject lines may convey the impression of a lack of preparation or interest in providing to the reader a reason to view and assess the information.

The subject line is your first opportunity to command attention and stand out from the crowd. Use the subject line to identify why you are writing in a few, short words. Note your main telephone contact there also to make it easier to contact you.


Sending your resume in non-standard formats: .wpd, .xls, .tiff, .jpg or .pdf

Effect: If the recipient doesn’t have your particular program installed, they won’t be able to open and read it, and the message will possibly be deleted. If you send a large size attachment like a tiff, you run the real risk of having your message stopped by AAT (Automated Applicant Tracking) software. These cyber sentinels will often disallow a large attachment (more than 100KB or so) to enter the company’s mail system and may tag it as spam or a potential virus or Trojan. If that happens, you have just guaranteed that your message will be deleted.

Summary: You generally have only one shot at capturing the reader’s attention and generating buyer interest. If you send a message with little identifying information, you run the risk of being overlooked. Say something about yourself; provide immediately accessible contact information, and let the reader assess your skills and qualifications upon clicking on your message. You will build credibility, interest and achieve your goal to be noticed, remembered and contacted.

The courtesy you display by making the reader’s job easier will pay practical dividends by increasing your chances of making the right connections.

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