How to Mail a Resume and Cover Letter

A guide for newcomers to the workforce

Manila envelope with paper in it
Mail your job application materials in order, with the cover letter on top of the resume. Raimund Koch/The Image Bank/Getty Images

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.