Is Your Resume Being Ignored? Here's One Potential Reason Why

Applying for a job is a long and time-consuming process, especially if you’ve tailored your resume and crafted an original, beautiful cover letter (both of which you should be doing!). 

(Learn how to tailor your resume for every job in the free guide available on this page!

Wouldn’t it be a shame if all that hard work went to waste?

Few applicants realize this, but if you're submitting your resume via email, your resume isn’t what gives potential employers their first impression of you. Your email will provide a first impression, and when written poorly, it could cost you a well-deserved career opportunity. 

I’ve received many emails from writers who are interested in applying for a freelance writing gig, and unfortunately, many of these emails include the following easily avoidable mistakes:

  • Incomplete sentences: To me, this signals that this position is not important to you—you couldn’t even bother to write complete sentences (when applying for a writing gig, no less). This is a red flag, and unfortunately I will not respond—it doesn’t matter how amazing your resume might be.
  • Incorrect information: Sometimes, I can tell that someone has sent me a form response. This is totally ok, except when you forget to remove information that doesn’t apply to the writing gig that I’m offering! Part of what I’m looking for is an eye for detail.
  • Errors: We all slip up now and then. I have personally hit the “send” button too soon, only to realize there was an error in the email. It’s embarrassing! Fortunately, I understand that we all make silly mistakes in life and that’s why we all need an editor! But more than one or two errors, and I’m becoming concerned about your writing abilities and again, your eye for detail.

Seeing one or more of these errors is reason enough for an employer—especially if they’re hiring a writer—to not even look at your resume!

In my book From Graduation to Career Ready in 21 Days: A Guide for English Majors, I include a handy checklist for sending applications via email. It’s a seemingly small thing, but it’s so important that I want to share it with you right here.

If you are sending your application via email, here are a few important things to do first:                                

  1. Enter your recipient’s email address LAST. You don’t want to hit the wrong key and accidentally send a half-completed email!
  2. Review the application requirements. Do you have all of the components ready? (You want to show that you can follow directions.)
  3. Add a subject line. (Is everything in it spelled correctly?)
  4. Attach appropriate documents. If it says to include writing samples in the body of an email and NOT as an attachment, then do so.
  5. Keep it short and succinct. Include your name, the position you’re applying for, a list of what is enclosed in the email, and a thank-you for their consideration.
  6. Proofread it.
  7. Ask someone else to proofread it.
  8. Finally, enter the recipient’s email address. Is the email address spelled correctly? (You want your application to actually arrive! 

Want more tips like this? Check out From Graduation to Career Ready in 21 Days: A Guide for English Majors! View an outline of the book, read reviews, and download a chapter for free here.


Alyssa W. Christensen is the creator and managing editor of She lives in Seattle, WA and provides professional writing and marketing services to a variety of clients. Alyssa is also the Managing Editor of Home Scribe Creative, a professional writing service for real estate agents. Alyssa enjoys hanging out with her husband, spoiling her dog, playing guitar and violin, painting, writing poetry, and travel. She is also the author of the book From Graduation to Career Ready in 21 Days: A Guide for English Majors