How to perfect your opening message… like a pro

Long gone are the days when you would print out your CV and cover letter, put them in an envelope (an A4 one, at that!), and send them off into the ether. We live in a modern world. And in this modern world, the way to apply for a job is often by email. 

If you're unsure what to say when emailing a CV, you've come to the right place. You don't need to overthink this part of the application process. In the following guide, we'll be looking at how you can perfect this communication, with some basic advice on how to position this email well, what you need to include in each section, plus some email examples. 

How to send a CV by email: basic advice

When you're applying for a job via email, it's worth sending a short message with your CV. While this email often wouldn't serve as your official cover letter – although it could sometimes – crafting one still requires some basic email etiquette. 

Knowing how to send your email is just as important as learning what to say when emailing your CV for a job. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

Figure out who the recipient is. First things first, you need to work out who the recipient is here. Who will be reading your email? Oftentimes, you'll find the hiring manager's name listed as part of the job posting or in the specified email address. 

  • Get the tone right. Don't be fooled by the fact that this is an email. It's still a professional piece of correspondence. Learning what to say in your email is about understanding that this is a formal document between you and the recruiter. 
  • Don't forget your manners. When you start and end your email, be polite. For example, when it comes to signing off, you should use a professional salutation with your full name rather than just your first name. These small details matter more than you think. 
  • Always proofread your email. Sending a short message with your CV can help you to win the hiring manager over… unless it's filled with spelling and grammar mistakes! Watch out for common grammatical errors and if you're not confident about your writing abilities, use proofreading tools like Grammarly to double-check your email before sending.
  • Keep things short and sweet. An email that you send with your CV does not need to be as long as a cover letter. You don't want to overwhelm the recruiter with a massive wall of text. Try to keep the message short and to the point. 

Now that you understand the basic job application email rules, we can talk about what to say when emailing a CV. In the following sections, we'll take a deep-dive into each part of the process. 

5-step guide: what to say when emailing a CV

1. Perfect your email subject line

Let's talk about your subject line, the first thing that the hiring manager will see in their inbox. Get it right, and they'll want to read your email immediately. Get it wrong, and your entire application could go totally unnoticed. Keep these points in mind when writing your email subject line: 

  • Avoid special symbols. Exclamation marks, question marks, and even dashes are dangerous territory. These symbols could trigger the trash filter on the hiring manager's inbox, which means that your application could land in their junk mail folder.
  • Get to the point. Hiring managers don't have loads of time to waste. When you're writing your email subject line, keep it brief, including only relevant details. That's usually just the job title and the fact that you're applying for the role. For example, you could simply put “Marketing Manager application” in there.
  • Check the job listing. Go back to the job advert and check the instructions there. Sometimes, recruiters include a role title and reference number in the advert, along with email subject instructions. If that's the case, follow their instructions exactly when writing your subject line.
Don't try to be clever.Writing “Excellent Marketer at your service” may seem like a quick way to grab the hiring manager's attention… but it could backfire. You don't know the reader and you can't be sure how this creative approach will go down. So, avoid it. 

Your email subject line doesn't have to be complicated. It just needs to do the job. You don't want to bamboozle the reader so make sure that your subject line is brief and clear.

2. Start with a formal greeting 

Now that you've got the subject line out the way, it's time to write your greeting. You may be tempted to go with a standard “Hi” or “Hey” – don't make that mistake. You'd want to go for a formal greeting that shows that you're serious about applying for this position. 

  • If you know the hiring manager's name: You can use “Dear” here plus the hiring manager's name. But don't just use their first name, even if you know them outside of work. Use their title and surname instead. For example, “Dear Mr. Smith.”

  • If you don't know the hiring manager's name: Go for a formal and general greeting. You can use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear hiring manager.” And stay away from the old hat, “To whom it may concern.”

3. State why you're emailing

Wasting time isn't an option. The first line of your email should clearly state the purpose of your email. Chances are, the reader already knows what it is, but you still need to include a formal opening to your email – so don't skip it. 

You can kick things off with something like “I am writing to you to apply for the Marketing Manager opening.” You don't need any preamble before that. Additionally, you can leave out the standard “I hope that this email finds you well.” These statements only waste space and are, at best, a platitude. 

4. Write a compelling body message

Now that you've explained the purpose of your email, it's time to write your main message. In this section, it's  important to hook the reader's attention and keep it. How much you include here will depend on whether you're attaching a cover letter, too. 

If you plan to add your cover letter as a separate document, you can simply mention this to the hiring manager when emailing your CV. You can say something like “I am confident that my qualifications and expertise make me the perfect candidate for this position. As such, I have attached my CV and cover letter to this email.” Then make sure that you do attach these documents. 

Of course, if you're using the body of the email as a substitute for your cover letter, you'll need to add more detail. Here are the elements you should include: 

  • Why you're right for the job. What qualifications do you have that put you in a prime position for this role? While you will have detailed these in your CV, you can add more colour in your cover letter email. Explain any parts that will be valuable to the reader.
  • Your unique selling proposition (USP). Including your USP in your email is likely to keep the hiring manager interested. This acts as your “hook” so pick your most impressive attribute and specify it in your email.
  • Include some evidence. The hiring manager shouldn't have to simply take your word for it. Whenever you make a statement, make sure you add some quantifiable supporting evidence, as you would in your CV. You can use statistics, timelines, or numbers to illustrate your point. 
  • Show enthusiasm. Let the hiring manager know that you're interested in this job specifically by choosing words that express your enthusiasm for the role. You may also want to mention what drew you to this particular opening. 

Getting the balance right here is challenging. When you've written your first draft, go back and read it. Ensure that it's punchy and engaging enough to capture the reader's imagination.

5. Sign off politely and professionally 

Once you've written the bulk of your email, it's time to sign off. There are two things to remember here. 

First, your last line is usually a Call to Action (CTA). That means that it encourages the reader to do something. In this case, that may be inviting you for an interview. 

Second, remember to use a formal sign-off. For example, you can use “Kind regards” or “Sincerely” and then your full name. Avoid going in there too casually with anything like “Cheers” or “Thanks.” You want to end on a high, professional note. 

What to say when emailing a CV: examples

Looking for some inspiration? Before you start writing that email, we have some examples for you to take a look at. Check out two email examples below.

Example #1

Subject: Marketing Manager Application 


Dear Mr Smith, 

I am writing to apply for the role of Marketing Manager at Blue Cloud Limited. 

Boasting seven years of experience in reputable marketing agencies and with a specialism in digital strategy, I am confident that I can meet the requirements of the role. As such, please find attached my cover letter and professional CV. 

Should you have any questions regarding my application, please do reach out. I look forward to the potential of meeting you at a formal interview. 

Kind regards,

Jennifer Major

Example #2

Subject: Marketing Manager Application 


Dear Mr Smith, 

I am writing to apply for the role of Marketing Manager at Blue Cloud Limited. 

With a proven track record of client success and seven years of experience in reputable marketing agencies, I am confident that I can fulfil the requirements of the role. 

Since starting my career in marketing, I have honed my skill set with a particular focus on digital strategy. In my last position at Milk Truck, I had a 99.9% client satisfaction rate and was able to deliver a 12% average Return on Investment (ROI). 

One of my biggest strengths is my ability to work seamlessly with a diverse selection of clients. As a natural “people person,” I am able to immediately understand a client's needs and speak their language. I believe that it was this talent that led to my 74% client retention rate. 

I have followed Blue Cloud Limited over the last decade, and would love the opportunity to join its ranks. I look forward to the opportunity to share my expertise at a formal interview.

Kind regards, 

Jennifer Major

Email your CV with confidence 

Writing an email when you're applying for a job is easier than you might think. Follow our advice to make sure that you get it right on the mark. Since this is the first thing that the hiring manager will read, it's vital that you know exactly what to say when emailing your CV. Get the tone and the content on point, and you'll have the reader  interested to read more about your expertise. 

Boost your chances of success. Use our free CV review and get useful insights on how to upgrade your application. Get noticed and get hired faster than ever.

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