What should your email look like when sending your CV?

If you're emailing your CV to a company, it's important to get everything right. Since this is your first interaction with a potential employer, you'd want to get off on the right foot and make a positive impression. So, how can you hit the mark?

Emailing your CV – top tips

It's essential to follow the job application instructions when emailing your CV. Employers are generally quite specific in what they want to see included in CV email applications (e.g. subject line, recipient, format, etc.). It's smart to play by their rules if you want to avoid being eliminated in the first round.

For roles where specific instructions are not set out, we recommend the following tips when emailing your CV:

1. Format your CV and cover letter correctly

Name your files succinctly and clearly. This is the first time an employer will encounter you, making it all the more important for your materials to be both professional and easily identifiable.

Here are some filename examples:

  • Joe-Bloggs-CV.docx or Joe-Bloggs-Cover-Letter.docx

  • Joe_Bloggs_CV.docx or Joe_Bloggs_Cover_Letter.docx

Always send your CV and cover letter in the format the employer asks for. Before choosing your file format, read the job description thoroughly to see if the employer prefers a certain file type. 

Otherwise, there's no clear-cut answer for which format is best for emailing your CV. Generally, the best CV format when emailing your CV is a Word document (in .doc or .docx format). A PDF is often acceptable, but they're not always compatible with applicant tracking system software, making it hard for employers to properly read your CV.

2. Perfect the subject line of your email 

Recruiters receive hundreds of emails every day. Be sure to write the perfect subject line when emailing your CV to ensure that it ends up in the right place and grabs the recruiter's attention.

The key to getting this right is keeping it simple. As such, your email subject line should include a combination of the following elements:

  • Vacancy or job title

  • Your first name and surname

  • Reference number or Job ID (if specified)

Additionally, don't try to be clever when it comes to this part of your application. Writing something snazzy like “I'm the best candidate” might not have the effect that you imagine. Of course, in some cases, the job advertisement will be clear about what you should include in the subject line.

3. Send a short message with your CV

If the employer has asked you to attach your CV and cover letter, the body of the email shouldn't duplicate the content of these documents. In this case, only write what's relevant and keep your email brief, reiterating the job you're applying for and the value you'd add to the company. More importantly, make sure that your CV and cover letter are attached for their review.

If the prospective employer has only requested a CV as an attachment, it's a good rule of thumb to also attach your cover letter. Treating the body of the email as your cover letter can be tricky since it ends up looking like a wall of text. Unless the advert says otherwise, don't do this.

4. Outline the purpose of your email

Hiring managers aren't exactly flush with time. When you're emailing your CV to them, open your message politely and get straight to the point. The first line of your message needs to let them know what the purpose is. That way, they will instantly understand what they can expect from your email. 

Here's an example of how that might look: 

“Dear Mr. Smith, 

I am writing to you to apply for the advertised role of Content Writer at Handsworth Associates.” 

When you've outlined the main point of your email, you can add in why you think your experience makes you the ideal candidate for the job. However, you should avoid repeating the content of your cover letter, especially if this will be attached to the email itself. 

5. Include a call to action at the end

Finish your short message with a call to action. For example, you can say you're eager to meet in person to discuss how you can contribute to your prospective employer's success, suggesting your availability for a screening call or interview.

Take the time to carefully proofread your message and CV before you send them. If your email is packed with a bunch of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, the hiring manager won't be impressed.

6. Don't forget your email signature 

It's important to add an email signature featuring your contact details so the recruiter knows how to get in touch with you at a glance. In your signature, include the following: 

  • Your full name

  • Your contact details

  • Link to your website or professional page

If you have any business-related social media profiles, such as a LinkedIn profile, include it in your signature as well. You can use hyperlinks so that they are clickable.

7. Attach your CV and cover letter 

Once your email message is ready to send, you need to attach your CV and cover letter to your message. In most cases, you can do this by clicking the paperclip symbol or the word “Attach.” Don't miss this vital step of the process – you don't want to end up looking foolish or awkwardly emailing the hiring manager again just to send these. 

8. Always send a test message first 

Before you click “Send,” send a test message to yourself to be sure the email message is perfect and that all your attachments come through. You may also wish to send a copy of the message to yourself for your records by adding yourself as a BCC (blind carbon copy) recipient.

Emailing a CV – template

Following our tips above, here's an email template that you can use when sending a short message with your CV:

Email subject options:

  • [Position] application | [Your full name] 

  • Application for Job [Job ID] | [Your full name] 

  • [Position] application | [Job ID] | [Your full name] 

Dear [Name of hiring manager / Sir/Madam],

I am writing to you to apply for the [position] vacancy in your company. With a background in [cite relevant skills or experience specified in the job advert], I believe that I have the skills necessary to contribute effectively to your team.   

Please see my CV and cover letter attached for your review. If you need any other additional information, please let me know.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to discussing my application in more detail with you.

Kind regards,

[Your full name]

[Mobile number]

[Website or LinkedIn profile link]

FAQs on emailing a CV

Did we miss something along the way? Before you go about sending your CV to the hiring manager, check out our frequently asked questions: 

When is the best time to email an employer?

The earlier, the better. So, try to email your CV during the start of the week and in the morning when recruiters will also be actively reviewing their emails. While there's no hard and fast rule, you should always take into account the work-week hours. 

For example, you don't want to send your CV to an employer during the evening or weekend. While this may work best for you, it doesn't look the most professional. You can schedule your email to send during the right time the next day. 

Do you attach a cover letter or write it in the email?

When you're emailing your CV to a company, your cover letter is oftentimes sent as an attachment too. However, there will be times when a short email message will do the trick. For instance, if the job advertisement specifies that you only need to send an email with your CV, just do that.

How do I get my CV noticed?

Creating a clear and concise document is the way to go. The content of your CV is just as important as how it looks. Apart from using a minimal design, make sure to tailor your CV to the job vacancy. When the hiring manager looks at your CV, they should be able to navigate the document easily and learn everything that they need to know about you quickly. 

Manners matter too. The hiring manager will be looking at every element of your application. Getting the tone and approach right will help you to win them over before they even meet you in person. 

Get ready to email your CV

When you're applying for a job via email, you want to make sure that your CV gets read first (and fast!). Remember to keep your message and attachments clear and complete when emailing your CV. That way, you remove any potential barriers for the hiring manager, instantly boosting your chances of your application being read and – ultimately – landing that job interview. 

But before emailing your CV, why not make sure that it's up to par too? Submit it for a free, confidential CV review and we'll tell you where you stand.

This article was originally written by Laura Slingo and has been updated by Charlotte Grainger.

Recommended reading:

Related Articles: