You’ve re-read the job posting and job description a dozen times. You’ve noted the keywords and the top qualifications the employer is looking for in the role. You’ve spent hours revising your resume and crafting the perfect cover letter. You’ve even looked up what to write in your email and the best subject line to use.
You are finally ready to email your application and apply for that job.
You hit send and breath a quick sigh of relief – only to realize you forgot to attach your resume!
Okay, so it probably didn’t happen as dramatically as this, but you did end up emailing in your job application without including your resume. Or maybe you’ve accidentally submitted the wrong attachment.
What do you do now?!
1. Don’t Panic
First of all, don’t panic. Job searching is already stressful – don’t let this small mistake make you feel any worse.
As someone who has collected thousands of resumes and job applications (as well as applied for dozens of jobs myself), I assure you that this sort of thing happens all the time! People often accidentally hit that “send” button too soon or select the wrong file.
It may be a little embarrassing, but it’s really not a big deal.
You just have to get the right documents in front of the right person A.S.A.P. by resending the email or sending a follow-up message as soon as you realize the error. (Again, don’t panic! How to do this is covered below.)
As long as the hiring manager has your correct and completed job application before the job posting closing date, you will be fine.
Unfortunately, there is a slight chance that some people and some employers will look down on you for forgetting to attach your resume to your application. But if they aren’t willing to forgive an honest mistake or understand that you are human, you don’t want to work for them anyway. Can you imagine how stressful that would be?
2. Act Quickly
If you forget to attach your resume to your job application, you should act quickly to fix the mistake. The sooner you can get the right documents submitted, the better. This way, you can avoid any delays in the hiring process and increase your chances of being considered for the position. You may even catch the mistake before the hiring manager notices.
3. Update Your Subject Line
Clearly, you will have to send another email with your resume, cover letter, application form, or any other required documentation attached.
You can simply resend your initial email, but you will want to tweak it just a little.
If you send the exact same email with the exact same subject line, a recruiter may not realize there’s something different about the two. If it looks like a duplicate, you risk one of your emails being deleted.
So what do you do?
It’s easy! Adding “with attachments” or “with resume attached” to your subject line will make it much easier for someone to tell that this is the email you want them to see.
4. Don’t Over Apologize
It can be tempting to react by sending an apologetic email (or making a phone call) to the hiring manager or the HR department. However, you don’t want to make a big deal out of it.
But you can’t just ignore it, either.
Your best approach is to make a quick apology when you resend your email and move on. Something as straightforward as adding: “Please accept my apologies. This email includes the proper attachments.” will do the trick.
If you do decide to call, introduce yourself and explain that you accidentally sent an email without attaching your resume. Then, apologize and ask if there is a way to submit your resume. The employer will likely appreciate that you took the time to call and will be happy to help you out.
5. Resend Your Email With Your Resume Attached
The most important step is to get your completed application in front of the right person. Even if you’re the world’s most qualified candidate, you won’t get the job if your resume never reaches the hiring manager.
So if you ignore everything else suggested in this article, make sure you resend your application – and include the right attachments this time.
You can’t control if the employer will reject your application because of the error or if they won’t even give it a second thought. All you can do is get your resume in front of them.
Example Emails to Use
Scenario 1: Catching Your Own Error
If you catch the mistake before the hiring manager or recruiter does, here is an example email you can use when resubmitting your application:
I sincerely apologize for sending the previous email without ensuring that my resume was attached. This email includes the requested information and my resume for the role of [position title]. Thank you for your understanding, and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Scenario 2: Responding to the Error
If the recruiter or hiring manager points out the missing attachments to you, use this example to respond:
Thank you for alerting me to this mistake so I may submit all the necessary application materials. I apologize for the oversight. Please let me know if you have any questions concerning my resume, which is attached to this message.
Scenario 3: Attaching the Wrong Document
Lastly, if you attached the wrong document in your email, try this:
Please disregard my previous email and accept my apologies for attaching the wrong document. I have enclosed my resume to this email for consideration for the role of [position title]. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Should I Follow Up?
If you don’t hear back about your application within a week, you can follow up with a brief email or phone call. Again, keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to come across as pushy.
Say something like, “I just wanted to make sure you received my resume. I’m very interested in the job and would love to discuss it further.”
Following up can be a great way to show your interest in a job and to make sure your application didn’t get lost in the shuffle. But don’t overdo it. One follow-up should be enough.
Quick Ways to Fix a Forgotten Resume Attachment
It can be really frustrating to make a mistake like forgetting to attach your resume when applying for a job but don’t let it discourage you. It is fixable. We all make mistakes, and this is an opportunity to show the employer that you can handle adversity and take responsibility for your actions.
By following these steps, you can quickly recover and get your application back on track. So start getting ready for that interview!
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Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.