When applying for a role, you often have to email a prospective employer with your CV as an attachment. They may then view your CV immediately or upload it onto their recruitment database where it will be filtered for relevant jobs later.
You’ve probably spent considerable time and effort in researching and writing your CV. However, even with a great CV you can inadvertently sabotage your chances if you do not pay sufficient attention to the way in which you send your CV to the employer. It can be easy to underestimate or misjudge the impact that an email can make at the other end even before they open up your CV document. So while on an everyday basis you may tend to use email informally and rather casually, it’s really important that whenever you apply for a job, especial care is taken to ensure that your email reinforces your professionalism and suitability as a candidate. Here are some tips to help.
Remember that applying for a job is a formal process and your manners should be formal. ‘Hiya’ or equivalent is not the way to address your email. Use the individual’s name if known, ‘Dear Jane’ or ‘Dear Jane Brown’. If you do not have their name, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Recruitment Manager’ or equivalent. If you write ‘Dear Sir’ when you do not know who will be opening your email, then you run the risk of offending any female who receives your email and vice versa.
- In your covering email, write in full sentences, as you would for a covering letter rather than abbreviated text-speak that you might sometimes use in more general emails
- If you are applying for a specific job then use 4-5 bullet points within your email to demonstrate your suitability for the role according to the selection criteria they have outlined
- Express how interested you are in the particular role and why. Recruiters want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for them
- End the message formally, e.g. ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ rather than a ‘Thx!’ type ending.
- Always check and double-check the spelling in the main body of your email and any attachments. Spelling mistakes mean landing on the reject pile 99.9% of the time. Remember the spell-checker won’t pick up every spelling or grammatical error.
- When sending your CV as an attachment, always label the attachment with your full name and reference number or date to keep track of the version you have sent. Also indicate which job you are applying for, e.g. msmith604mktgmgr.doc. This ensures that your CV will be easily identified.
- Don’t use your current work email address. Set up a private email address specifically for job-hunting. You can obtain free email addresses from Hotmail, Google and Yahoo among others.
- Be aware that employers are likely to monitor the email and internet use of their employees on their work computers so if you use work facilities or work time to apply for jobs then be prepared to explain why to your boss.
- Exercise caution in sending out your personal details. Is this a company that you know or who you can verify independently? If you are unsure, take a look on the web and see if you can find out anything about the company before sending out your confidential information. Identity fraud is sadly commonplace now and the information on your CV, your contact details, occupation, etc. could be of high value to someone who wanted to pretend to be someone else.
If you have attached your CV to your email, then double-check the format is compatible with the recruiter’s database software. You are usually fine if you are using standard fonts and layouts in Microsoft Word, e.g. Arial, standard margins.
However, if you are using a more unusual font, graphics, widened margins, columns, boxes or even tables and borders, then there is a risk that the version you send will look very different when the recipient opens your CV their end. The spacing will often slip which will make it look very odd. Photos, graphics or logos in your CV may also be blocked by vigilant virus and spam filters.
If you want to send a feature-heavy CV, you can save it in PDF format, which will preserve the layout. However, you will still need to check that your CV can be uploaded in this format for a recruitment website.
For help with your CV you can contact our partners Personal Career Management who provide career coaching services helping individuals to get the job that they want, quicker.