Whether it’s a full-time, part-time, or a co-op position you’re applying for, many employers request that résumés be submitted via email. Here are some tips on how to get your résumé noticed as soon as it hits the employer’s inbox.
1) Use a Straightforward Subject Line
Some positions require a specific reference number or statement be included in the subject line. If that’s what the ad requests, follow the instructions. But if it doesn’t, make sure your subject line is clear and concise. Include the name of the position you are applying for, and plug your name in there too so they can easily find your email among the dozens or hundreds they receive.
Getting too fancy or creative in the subject line or straying from simple instruction will give the hiring manager an excuse to weed your message out of their inbox. Don’t give them that excuse.
2) Keep Your Email Introduction Brief
You can either choose to attach your cover letter to the email, or use an email introduction as your cover letter. If you plan on having your email introduction act as your cover letter, remember to keep it brief with a three paragraph maximum.
Highlight some of your key skills and add some of your own personality. Your introduction is meant to supplement your résumé which lists your qualifications in point form, so here is your chance to show how interested in the position and company you are, and why you think you would be a good fit.
Also remember to include all your contact details in the text of your email so an employer has everything they need on that front page.
3) Use Conservative Font Styles and Formatting
When writing your résumé, cover letter, and email introduction, the most important rule is that they be legible. Stick to the most basic type faces. Here’s a link to a Bloomberg article on ‘The Best and Worst Fonts to Use on Your Résumé‘. Getting fancy with different colours and fancy scripts will make your email look unprofessional and hard to read, which may result in the employer tossing your email to the side.
Don’t overdo the formatting styles. It’s tempting to want to emphasize the key points of your résumé, especially if they are about unique accomplishments or talents. But it’s easy to get carried away. Use italics for occasional emphasis. Or bold, if you must. Don’t make the mistake of combining all your styles. No one will take bold underlined italics seriously. It’s as bad as writing your opening email in all caps.
4) Save Your Résumé Attachment as a PDF
We’ve all experienced formatting hiccups when emailing an attachment to a professor, to classmates, or to a friend. Sometimes when you send a Word attachment, it looks perfect on your end, but when the receiving person opens the file, the formatting has shifted or their software isn’t compatible with yours. Avoid this problem by simply saving your resume as a PDF. A PDF will ensure that your résumé will look exactly as you intend it to look.
5) Triple Check Your Email
Just like you learned in high school, triple-check your work. There is nothing more unsightly than having grammar and punctuation errors all over your introduction email, cover letter littered across your written messages.
Also, don’t rely entirely on spell check in Word to catch all your errors. Ask a friend, parent, or even career counselor at your school to proofread your email and résumé. Again, you want your application to stand out for all the right reasons, not because of your spelling mistakes.
Stick to these five basic points and have your résumé bumped to the top of the inbox. Feel free to let us know if you have any additional tips that can be added to our list!
This post was inspired by a Jobspout.ca article by Ann Lee.