You’ve found the perfect job (or company), and you’re eager to submit your resume for consideration. Going through online job platforms can be frustrating when you feel like you’re getting lost in the masses, so you’ve decided to reach out to the hiring manager directly. Or maybe a friend or former coworker referred you and let the hiring manager know you’d be applying. Now it’s time to get writing and make a positive impression in hopes of landing an interview. But what should your email say? How should it be formatted?

Always Check the Job Posting First

Before you decide to email the hiring manager, carefully read the job opening and verify that there are no policies in place against direct contact. Some companies explicitly ask that job seekers only apply via their website, a job search platform, or another process. Follow the rules or you may be disqualified before anyone ever sees your resume.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Once you have confirmed that emailing is not forbidden, consider exactly what makes you a good fit for the role. What experience, skills, or accomplishments do you bring to the table? What makes you stand out against anyone else applying? Why should the hiring manager want to learn more about you?

Keep your message focused and to the point, giving the employer enough information to pique their interest, but not enough that they’re overwhelmed or don’t finish reading the email. Remember that you don’t want to rehash your entire resume – after all, it will be included as an attachment! And if you’re sending a separate cover letter and not just using it as the body of your email, you’ll want to make sure you’re not repeating everything that document says either.

Zero in on a few key points you want to emphasize that are directly related to the job and your qualifications, then let the hiring manager read the rest in your resume and cover letter.

Don’t Overlook the Details

Now that you know what you want to say, it’s time to work out the other details:

  • Email address: Ditch the “beachbabe” email handle you’ve been using since college and opt for something professional, such as a variation of your first and last name. You could even include your industry, such as JSmithCPA.
  • Subject Line: Keep it straightforward. Include the job title, reference number, and your name. If a current employee referred you, you could start with “Referral from [name]” followed by the job title and other information.
  • Greeting: Do a little research online and try to find the name of the hiring manager to make it more personal.
  • Closing: Let the hiring manager know that you look forward to hearing from them or meeting with them to discuss the opportunity. You can invite them to reach out to you should they need any additional information.
  • Signature: Make sure to include your name, email address, phone number, and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Attachments: Check and doublecheck that not only have you included your resume and cover letter, but that they are the most up-to-date versions. Use easily identifiable file names such as JSmithResume or JSmithCoverLetter and send PDFs so you know the formatting and content will not be altered (do this only if you are sending an email directly to the hiring manager—ATS have a hard time reading PDFs).
  • Review, review, review: Reread the email and have someone else read it as well so you can be sure it is grammatically correct and error-free. You may even want to do a test run and send it to yourself first so you can see how it comes through.

Sending your resume attached to a well-written email can be a very effective strategy—just don’t forget the attachments! Be confident that you’re making a positive impression and putting your best foot forward by working with a professional resume writer to craft a polished document. Contact Grammar Chic at or (803) 831-7444 to get started.