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Should I Send My Cover Letter as an Attachment?

Ask Savvy: Should I Send My Cover Letter as an Attachment?

Dear Savvy,

I'm applying for a receptionist job and they are taking resumes through email; there is no mention of a cover letter but I prepared one anyhow. Now, I'm not sure what to do. I've converted both documents into PDF files (they requested that for the resume), but I was wondering what do I say in the body of the email?

I did some Googling on this and it seems that some people suggest you put the cover letter in the actual body of the email. Is this right? Or should I compose a note simply stating that both the resume and cover letter are attached? Wouldn't it be redundant to attach my cover letter and paste the content into the body of an email?

Savvy says: Great call on drafting a proactive letter. To see my answer regarding cover letter placement,

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In your particular situation, I recommend simply pasting your cover letter in the body of the email. If you choose to attach it, you're stuck writing a brief note in the body of the email directing the hiring manager to the attachments, and you run the risk of the hiring manager overlooking your cover letter — especially since she might not be expecting one.

The strongest argument against attaching your cover letter is that hiring managers often mistake your pre-cover letter for your actual cover letter. They'll think your politely straightforward note isn't anything special, and your first impression won't leave them impressed. Good luck with your job search!

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Join The Conversation
gigly_grl gigly_grl 8 years
For me it's a polite note in the email, and one pdf (firstname_lastname.pdf) attached that includes my cover letter, resume, and some samples of my work.
goldiecar goldiecar 8 years
If they asked for a PDF file, why not just have that be the first page of the PDF?
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I always email it as an attachment and write a brief note in the body stating which position I'm applying for and the attachments I've attached to the email - i.e. my cover letter and CV.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
I always put it in the body of the e-mail. Most people will be smart enough to see that it is your cover letter.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
I always past my cover letter in the body and it has worked for me thus far. I just introduce myself and always put in the cover letter that my resume is attached. Great advice though.
BellaVida12 BellaVida12 8 years
good to know
syako syako 8 years
Thanks for clarifying! :)
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
Syako- Yes, for this person's particular situation I think it's best to include the cover letter in the body of the email. But that's certainly not what I'd say in other cases.
syako syako 8 years
This is strange to me. Did you recommend pasting because the company didn't specifically ask for a cover letter and therefore might not open the attachment?
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