Career Tip of the Month

How to Submit Your Resume to an Employer

An important step in the job searching process is sending your resume to a prospective employer. In the old days there was only one option ? to send it through the mail. Today you have a variety of online options. This month's tip will cover traditional mail, email, and fax methods of submitting a resume to an employer.


Submitting a resume via mail is occurring less and less. In the event you do need to mail your resume, include a cover letter, but don't staple them together. Today it is no longer necessary to use expensive resume paper, but you do want to print your resume on good quality, white paper.


The subject line is the first point of contact. Many unsolicited emails end up in the spam folder because they contain punctuation like exclamation points or blank subject lines. Don't assume that the employer knows why you are sending a resume. I get resumes all the time with empty subject lines or no explanation other than "Resume." I don't know whether to edit, post, or trash them. Then I have to spend time emailing the student and waiting for a response. Employers are not going to do that. So be clear about what position you are applying for and write "Mary Jones Resume" or "Dental Hygiene Position" in the subject line.

Save your resume as a PDF or a Word document. Use your name as the file name, so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is (i.e. janedoeresume.docx and janedoecoverletter.docx.) Then ATTACH your resume and cover letter to your email message. Never cut and paste your resume into the body of the email. Why? The formatting may change or be lost during the transmission process.

It's a good idea to include an email signature to make it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to get in touch with you. Include your full name, your email address, and your phone number in your email signature, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, how to contact you.

Today it is also acceptable to include a brief cover letter, called an e-cover letter, with your resume. An e-cover letter is written in the body of the email, preferably at the top. It includes some of the elements of a traditional cover letter (who you are, and what position you're applying for and why you would be a good candidate) but is short and direct. Watch for spelling and grammatical errors!


Include a fax cover sheet with your resume. You can either include a cover letter or write a brief introduction (you can use your e-cover letter) and the position that you're applying for, on the fax cover sheet. Make sure you wait for a confirmation page to make sure your fax transmission has gone through.


When asked to submit your resume online, type it in plain-text format. Even though some databases are able to upload a resume prepared in a Word document, many will still convert it to a plain-text file for posting. The design of an electronic resume is different from a traditional paper-and-pencil format. Include relevant keywords in a separate section or in your summary. Do not use bold, italics, underline, shading, graphics, parentheses, or horizontal lines because they do not transmit well.

Whether you send your resume by mail, fax, email or some other online method, it's always a good idea to double check with the recipient to make sure that the employer received your resume.