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How should I format an email when emailing my CV?

'What should I write as a subject line if I am sending my CV via email?' — Kendra R.


If you're sending your job application via email, often the employer will post specific instructions on the advert, such as what to include in the subject line or what format to save your CV in. You must follow these instructions, because if you don't, the employer may assume that you can't follow simple directions. If you didn't find any specific instructions or you need to fill in some blanks, here are general guidelines to follow:

The subject line

Recruiters receive hundreds of emails every day. Your subject line is vital as it ensures your application will end up in the right place. In the subject line of your email, write your name, the job title on the advert and the reference number (if there is one). If you did not find the vacancy on the employer's website, it's also worth adding where you saw or heard about the available position.

The body of the email

If the employer has asked you to attach your CV and cover letter, the body of the email shouldn't be a duplication of these things. In this instance, keep your email brief. Reiterate who you are, the job you're applying for, your contact details and, most importantly, that your CV and cover letter are attached for review.

If the prospective employer has only requested a CV as an attachment, then treat the body of the email as your cover letter (minus the formal business letter extras such as addresses and dates). If you have already written a cover letter, paste it into the email. If you haven't, you need to tell the recruiter why you're applying for the role, what you have to offer and your knowledge of the company. End the email by suggesting your availability for a screening call or interview.

You can also add an email signature featuring your contact details so the recruiter can see how to contact you at a glance. In your signature, include your full name, your email address, your phone number and any business-related social media profiles, such as LinkedIn.

Saving and attaching your CV and cover letter

The names of the files you send are important because they are they are the first things employers see when you submit your application. Therefore, you want your materials to be both professional and easily identifiable. The file name should state your name and distinguish whether the document is a CV or a cover letter. For example: 'joe-bloggs-cv' or 'joe-bloggs-cover-letter'.

The types of files you send in are also important. Though popular belief states that PDF files are optimal because of their ability to preserve formatting, they are not always your best option. PDF files are not compatible with applicant-tracking-system software, which means that your CV will not be read properly if it is scanned by an ATS. If PDF is listed as one of the file types you can use, then certainly go ahead. But otherwise, a Word document in .doc or .docx is the safest and surest way to go.

Make sure the CV you send is up to par. Submit for a free CV critique and we'll tell you where you stand.

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