How should I send my cover letter and resume?

I am often asked questions on how to send a cover letter and resume, when making job applications. The most common questions are:

  • What format should the documents be in?
  • Should the cover letter be sent as an attachment, or in the email body?

Regarding the format, when you are responding to job advertisements, in most cases the ad will mention the preferred format i.e. word or pdf. It is best to stick to the format mentioned, since that is probably what the recruiter/employer system is geared for. In other cases, such as when no preferred format is mentioned, or when you are sending an email based on a referral, you could use the format you prefer. However, given the prevailing preference for word documents in job advertisements/applications, it might be better to just stick with that when sending your cover letter/resume.

For the cover letter, if you’re sending an email, then the body of the email will be your cover letter. It’s best not to send it as an attachment, since the goal of the cover letter is to get people to open your resume and you don’t want to make that process more cumbersome. If you are making an online application where there is no form field to add free text, you could attach the cover letter along with your resume.

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