Emailing A Cover Letter And Resume Etiquette Staple

How do you deliver job references to an executive recruiter or hiring manager? To start, remove ‘References available upon request’ from your resume.

You’ve got glowing references. How and when do you put them in front of an executive recruiter or hiring manager? Do you send them along with your resume? Do you walk into the interview with a prepared list of references to call?

The first thing most job seekers need to do is delete the phrase, “References available upon request” from their resumes, said Mary Schumacher, a certified professional resume writer who works with Ladders. “I don’t think any resume needs this kind of statement,” she said. “It’s a cliché and not necessary to include.”

Beyond that, the rules are similar to resume-formatting guidelines: Use standard file formats and fonts, save files using keywords, and don’t lie, said Schumacher, Steven Van Vreede and Dan Dorotik, also certified professional resume writers who work with Ladders.

How to format and submit job references:

File format: Save the file as a Microsoft Word or PDF document, separate from your resume.

File name: Save your references document as either “Professional References,” “(Your Name) references” or simply “References.”

Branding consistency: To ensure your references look and feel like the rest of the documents you’ve submitted for a job application, resume writers recommend taking a cover letter and saving it as a new document titled “References” or something similarly descriptive.

Cut everything but the header, which contains your name and contact information, Van Vreede suggested. “This way, a job seeker will have a consistent, branded framework for their resume, cover letter and references, giving them a more professional appearance.”

Reference information: The list should include at least three references, preferably from your most recent employers. Include name, title, company, business address, e-mail and phone (optional).Make sure contact information is current.

Print it: Print several copies of the reference list (in case you are interviewed by multiple people) on high-quality, ivory or white resume paper for an interview, Van Vreede said.

Post it: Schumacher noted that many people have references right on their LinkedIn profiles, as quotes from bosses or customers. LinkedIn makes it easy to request recommendations simply by e-mailing those in your network; just click on Recommendations on LinkedIn’s menu.

When to submit: Provide references during the interview phase.

Submission exceptions: Submit before interviews if you’re in a field where it’s required, such as education, or if specifically asked.

More from Ladders

How to Mail a Resume and Cover Letter

A guide for newcomers to the workforce

If you've never mailed a resume and cover letter, you may be wondering how to do so correctly. With this guide for newcomers to the workforce, get the tips you need to make sure your materials arrive in the mail looking professional.

Even though most people apply for jobs online or via email, sometimes an employer will ask applicants to snail mail resumes and cover letters. Other times, job applicants who really want to stand out from the crowd mail in their application materials to prospective employers to make sure their resumes and cover letters don't sit unread in a general email inbox.

Should a Resume and Cover Letter be Stapled or Paper Clipped?

Most employers will scan your resume into a database or copy and distribute it to any individuals who will be screening candidates. So, it’s not a good idea to staple your documents. It’s an extra step for the employer to remove the staple prior to scanning or copying.

You don’t need to use a paper clip either, but you can. You can simply stack your documents in order with the cover letter on top, followed by the resume and then any other materials the employer has requested. If you want to be sure they remain in order, you can use a paper clip.

Remember to Sign Your Cover Letter

Don’t forget to sign your cover letter prior to mailing it. Your signature is a small way you can leave an impression on a potential employer. Also, signing the cover letter shows that you're a professional who understands the intricacies of the employment process.

Mailing Resumes and Cover Letters

When mailing your application materials, you can either use a manila envelope (9 X 12) or fold and place them in a business size envelope. A manila envelope is preferred because it will be easier to scan or copy your resume and letters if they haven't been folded. 

Rather than just sticking your application into a manila envelope, you can purchase a folder from an office supply store or even the school supply aisle of the grocery store.

For just a few dollars, you can buy several folders in different colors. If you want to be an even more competitive job candidate, buy a folder that holds business cards and include yours in the designated spot. You'll likely have to go to an office supply store for such a folder or order a bundle online. 

If you don't have business cards, order some. They're relatively inexpensive. You may be wondering what to put on your business card if you're out of work, but even if you're not on staff at a particular company, the business card can include your name, email address, cell phone number and your preferred title, such as consultant, writer, artist, attorney, educator or accountant. 

If you're looking for work, you may not be thrilled about the prospect of spending money on a job application, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Wrapping Up

When you've presented your application materials in the most suitable way possible, put them in your envelope and be sure to add enough postage. You may want to go directly to the post office and have your envelope weighed to guarantee that there's enough. And if there's an application deadline for the job you're seeking, mail your materials early to give your application plenty of time to arrive.

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