A guide to uploading CVs online (with email and CV tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For most job applications, it's necessary to send recruiters a copy of your CV. You might send your CV as an email attachment if you're applying via email or if you're applying through an online form, they may ask that you upload the CV. Knowing how to do this correctly ensures that your job application is complete and looks professional, which can improve your chances of securing a new job. In this article, we share a simple guide to uploading CVs online and via email, plus offer some useful tips before you upload your CV.

Why is uploading CVs correctly important?

Uploading your CV correctly is important because it makes a positive first impression of you as a professional. Some employers who have received many applications for a job might disregard CVs that are incorrectly uploaded. Uploading it correctly gives you the best possible chance of being properly considered for the job. If an employer has to contact you to request a new copy of your CV, this can cause delays in the recruitment process. Uploading your CV in the correct way makes the experience smoother for both you and the employer.

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

How to upload your CV online

There are some simple steps you can follow when it's necessary to upload your CV online. Whilst individual websites might look different or have different formats, these steps are helpful in most cases. Following this guidance usually makes it straightforward to upload the document on any website that requests it. If you experience difficulties whilst you're uploading your CV, there might be a problem with the website and it might be a good idea to contact the employer to find out if you can submit your CV in another way.

1. Check the file format

The first step is to check the file format of your CV. This is important because some websites have restrictions on the type of files that you can upload. If the website mentions specific file types that are acceptable, check your file to ensure it's in the correct format. You can usually convert it to a different file type using word processing software if necessary. Some employers also specify how they want you to structure the CV itself. If this is the case, ensure that yours matches the preferred format.

2. Click the 'upload' button and select the file

You can usually see a button that says 'upload' or 'upload CV', so click on this to begin. This usually brings up a new window that allows you to select your CV from your computer's files. If the button doesn't work correctly, it might be worthwhile to try using an alternative Internet browser. If it still doesn't work, it's worth contacting the employer or jobs website for advice. Once you've chosen a file, the window usually closes automatically and you can see that the file is ready to upload on the website.

3. Click the 'upload' button again

Often, it's necessary to confirm that you want to upload the file, so click the 'upload' button again to do this. Sometimes it's not possible to change the file after uploading it, so it's sensible to check that you've added the correct file before you proceed. Sometimes, you can edit your file before completing the application, but it's a good idea to ensure all the information is correct in case this isn't an option. After uploading the CV, you can complete and send the whole application.

How to attach your CV to an email

Some employers prefer to receive job applications via email and in these instances, it's necessary to attach a copy of your CV to your email. You might include your cover letter in the body of the email or add it as another attachment. The employer might specify what they prefer and it's important to adhere to any instructions they provide. These steps can help you attach your CV to an email job application correctly.

Related: Different types of job applications and how to apply

1. Start a new email

The first step is to start a new email. Before attaching any files, you might choose to compose the body of the email. This might be where you include your cover letter. If you're also sending your cover letter as an attachment, you might write a general email that introduces yourself, states the position you're applying for and confirms that you have attached the relevant files.

Related: Email cover letter example (with steps and helpful tips)

2. Click 'attach file'

Every email client has a slightly different format, but you can probably see an 'attach file' option or something with a similar name and you can click on this to upload your file. Some email clients show an icon of a paperclip instead. Clicking on the correct icon opens a new window where you can select the right file to attach.

3. Choose the right file

Choose the right file in the window that opens. Selecting the file usually attaches it automatically to your email. If you choose the wrong file by mistake, you can remove it and then reattach the correct document before sending it. Once you've selected a file, the new window usually closes automatically. It's sensible to proofread the email and check your attachments before you send it. Sometimes it's wise to add the recipient's email address last to reduce the risk of accidentally sending the email before you're ready.

Tips for uploading CVs

There are some other tips that can also be useful when you're uploading your CV or sending it via email. Following these suggestions helps to make a good impression of you as a professional and ensures that the recipient can easily open and read your CV. These suggestions also limit the risk of you accidentally sending an incorrect file. The tips include:

Consider the name of the file

Choosing an appropriate and clear name for the file is important. This helps employers to identify what the file is and which applicant it relates to. Using a clear and professional file name can give a positive impression of you. It's advisable to make your file name short and simple. Including your own full name and 'CV', for example 'Michael Jones CV', is a sensible approach.

Choose an appropriate file format

It's also a good idea to choose an appropriate file format for your document. Doing this makes it easier for the recipient to open and read your CV or for an applicant tracking system to read and analyse it. Sometimes employers specify the file types they accept and if they do this, it's vital to supply your CV in one of these formats. If there aren't specific requirements for the type of file to use, one of the following formats is usually acceptable:

  • Word documents ending in .doc or .docx

  • PDF files

  • plain text files

Check the file size

You might encounter websites that have a minimum or maximum file size you can upload. If your file is too large, you're likely to see a notification informing you of this. If this happens, you can adjust the size of the file so that it's within the correct range. This might mean removing unnecessary information or changing the formatting.

Ensure your CV is up-to-date

Before uploading your CV, it's important to make sure your CV is completely up-to-date. If it's the first time you're applying for a job in a while, amend your contact information or job history information. You might also choose to remove some details that are no longer relevant, for example, significant amounts of detail about past work experience in a completely different field. This can also reduce the file size, making it easier to upload.

Related: How to create an enhanced CV (and why it's important)

Check before you send

Whether you're uploading your CV online or sending it as an email attachment, it's vital to check the file before you send it. This helps to ensure you upload the correct file. If you choose the incorrect file, you can attach a new document instead. Before uploading or attaching your CV, it's also wise to proofread the document and ensure that you include all the relevant information and that your CV has correct spelling and grammar. Your CV introduces you to potential employers, so ensuring it's correct and looks professional is essential.

Check the email address

If you're sending your CV via email, it's also a good idea to check that you're sending it to the correct email address. It might be a good idea to copy and paste the email address into your email client rather than typing it out yourself. This minimises the risk of errors. Sending your CV to the incorrect email address might mean it's undeliverable or cause delays if you send it to the wrong person.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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