Online Job Application Etiquette

Online job application etiquette

By Jessica Millman

25th Nov 2011

With an application pack handed in over the counter you would normally present your cover letter, followed by your resume and the selection criteria forms all filled in. These days I prefer the expediency of applying online. But this presents a problem – how many files to attach is too many? Do you paste the application letter in to the body of the email or attach it as a separate document?

The issue with pasting the cover letter in to the email is that it will only be read by the person collecting those emails. They are unlikely to print the email itself but will print your attachments. I go for the following, but I must admit it does look complicated with cover letter, resume and addressing the selection criteria if it’s a govt job!  Another method is to paste your cover letter in to the same document as your resume so that when they print that file your cover letter is there too.

When sending the email the subject line is key so your resume doesn’t get lost in the recruiter’s inbox. Some employers will be very specific about what to put in the subject line such as one Council website that provides a handy document entitled; “Guide to Applying for a Position with Council” which is by no means comprehensive, but still handy.

Here is an excerpt:

If submitted via email:

  • Use MS Word format
  • Include “Job Application name and Recruitment
  • No. in the relevant subject field eg Job Application for Stenographer Recruitment No. 05022
  • Indicate where you saw the position advertised

My suggestion is to go with something basic like this and attach anything you want the employer/HR team to read:

Dear ___,

Please find attached my application for _____ , job No: ____

Your name
Your Ph no.


An interesting discussion can be found on Whirlpool, an invaluable tool for researching such topics:


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