Bottom Line: Don’t send a resume as an attachment unless you’re invited or instructed to do so.
You need to know what types of resumes this particular employer is prepared to accept. That is the fundamental question. Many employers now spell out their preferred formats. Try to find that out before sending your resume, and follow instructions.
If you can’t find specific instructions, think about what will make it easiest for the reader to deal with your resume.
Here are some considerations:
When your resume is INCLUDED in the body of your e-mail:
- There is no need for the recipient to open another document.
- The ASCII format can be sent to any other format by the recipient.
- The resume could be printed directly from the email program.
- The resume content could be sent to a database for further processing.
When your resume in ATTACHED to your E-mail:
- It requires work from the recipient (opening the attachment) to get at your information .. and every second counts.
- The recipient would have to feel motivated to open the attachment. (It helps if your resume grabs their attention in the top half of the visible screen.)
- The recipient would have to have compatible software to open the attachment.
- The attachment may not be compatible with the recipient’s computer platform.
- The recipient may have a strong preference about the format of any attachments (.htm, .rtf, .txt, etc.)
- The recipient may be reluctant to open attachments for fear of viruses.
Common sense tells me that making it EASY on the recipient is a good idea. I know a lot of people who HATE attachments. Some even have a strict policy of not opening attachments from anyone they don’t know. No matter how you look at it, it takes extra effort to deal with attachments. As a job seeker, it’s smart to make it as easy as possible for the reader to get hooked on what you have to say.
I’m basing my comments on what I’ve heard from employers directly, as well as from my reading in the business press. — Clara Horvath