How should I send my job application via email?
February 24, 2010 9:36 PM   Subscribe

I am applying for a job advertised on a company website. The career page says to send resumes to an HR email address ( The page also has the name and email of the HR specialist ( Should I address my letter to the HR specialist even though I am not emailing him directly?

Would it be a bad idea to also email the HR specialist with my application if the job description specifically says to email applications to

Bonus question: is cover letter and text resume in body with PDF resume also attached good form?
posted by alligatorman to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, it's fine to mention someone by name, but if you can figure out the name of the actual hiring manager, address your letter to that person, c/o John Doe (the HR lackey you mentioned in your post).

If you don't know who the hiring manager is, address the covering letter to the CEO or managing director of the company, of the division VP.

Be sure to follow directions about where to email the resume; if there is no request to email a resume to the HR lackey, then do not mail your resume to the HR lackey.

You can repeat your PDF cover letter text in your email, and I suppose you could also include a text version of your resume, but this may not be wise, because a text resume will not look as nice as a formatted resume that has been made print-ready by being pdf'ed.

If you can believe, looks do count in the case of resumes.

Text resumes are usually submitted to be entered in Monster, but when applying for a job directly it's probably a good idea to control your image and submit a formatted, pdf'ed resume.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:47 PM on February 24, 2010

I've done this a couple of times recently. Body of the e-mail is the cover letter, resume attached, and don't address it to anyone in particular unless the e-mail address is to a certain person. And don't try to bypass the given e-mail address with someone's specific address. That person may not be managing this particular hiring.
posted by deezil at 9:48 PM on February 24, 2010

I think it's fine and perhaps better to address the letter to the person whose name you see on the posting as opposed to a generic "Dear Sir or Madam" kind of thing. I agree that you shouldn't bypass the instructions on the posting--if it says email, then send it there.

I would not recommend pasting your text resume into the body of the email. However, I personally go both ways on the cover letter--I get a little bit irritated when I read a detailed email and then open an attachment just to find that it's the same thing as what I just read (even when the attachment is called "cover letter.pdf"). However, it's not a dealbreaking irritation, and there is something lonely about the emails that show up just saying "see attached". The compromise is to give a one or two sentence email with everything else attached as separate attachments (Your name_cover letter.pdf and Your name_resume.pdf). Remember to appropriately name your files.
posted by gubenuj at 11:10 PM on February 24, 2010

I have never attempted to guess the name of the hiring manager nor addressed my letter to anyone in particular (I usually just put "Re: X position") and it's never caused me problems.
posted by pravit at 5:56 AM on February 25, 2010

Make your cover letter the email body and attach the resume as a PDF then send it to the general HR address. If you don't know for sure then you don't have to address anyone by name.
posted by WizKid at 8:29 AM on February 25, 2010

The experience that I've had with listings is that it's not appropriate to direct your resume to a specific person unless the listing says to do so, even if that person is listed as an HR specialist.

That seems extra true if the company or business is screening resumes through HR and has an e-mail contact that lists the HR department in the address.
posted by blucevalo at 9:13 AM on February 25, 2010

Thank you everyone. You all provided me with very helpful information, so I have marked them all as best.
posted by alligatorman at 9:14 AM on February 25, 2010

Speaking as a former HR person in charge of hiring here.

It really, really, REALLY doesn't matter who you address your cover letter/email to. Put the person's name on it, say sir/madam (do NOT just put sir, that annoys us), don't put anything, do what you want. I don't care and they don't care. Ditto don't make your email and attached cover letter the same, do one or the other.

send it to Don't send it to the HR person, it will not go into any special pile, you will only be remembered for not following directions. That being said, is it a sales job? Sales job applicants are the only ones that are allowed to be annoying as that will be their job if they are hired. Everyone else? Well do everything possible NOT to annoy the front line person. When you are screening 200 resumes for one opening you are just itching for reasons to put people in the 'no' pile.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:09 PM on February 25, 2010

The only thing I will say is that I have gotten interviews because my text resume IS pretty. Not as pretty as my Word one, but still quite attractive. Granted, the jobs have something of a techie bent is worth having a nice one for people who hate attachments.
posted by eleanna at 6:55 PM on February 26, 2010

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