I am currently applying for jobs.

I am interested in applying for a particular job at ACME company. On their website, a job description is posted as a PDF, at the bottom of which is written:

Employment Contact

For more information, contact [email protected] or visit us on Facebook

How should I write my first e-mail to [email protected]?

In my first e-mail to them, I want to find out what is their hiring process, and what documents they expect me to send to them?

Am I expected to send my resume or other materials immediately in the first e-mail?

I also want to know whether they are currently hiring. In case they currently do not have any openings, I don't want to waste my time customizing my application for that job. Is it OK to send a first e-mail saying:

To whom it may concern,

I am a PhD student in University X, graduating in August this year. I would like to apply for this job. Could you please tell me more?

Yours truly,

Bugs Bunny

  • 1
    What is it that you're trying to achieve? Are you wanting to apply for the position, or are you wanting to know more about the position?
    – geekrunner
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 1:16
  • @geekrunner I have edited my question to answer your question. Commented May 9, 2014 at 17:46

3 Answers 3


Firstly, if the job is advertised, it's not a 'cold email', they're inviting applications.

A cold email, or cold call would be where an employer hasn't advertised a position, but you contact them anyway, with the intention that that they might either keep your record on file for when a position opens up, or make a position for you.

Regarding first contacting an employer, you have two options:

Make opening contact expressing interest and getting more information about the role.

For this kind of contact, a phone call would be better, but if one isn't available you can make do with email.

This kind of email will put you on their radar, and can give a good first impression, - they'll be looking out for your CV later.

But contacting and saying 'I'm interested in the position' isn't that useful, you need to ask some questions:

  • How many people are they looking to hire?

  • What kind of work can you expect to be doing?

This kind of contact should always be followed up with a CV and cover letter within a few days, if you're still interested in the role.

Simply send your CV and a cover letter.

The CV should be tailored for the job (ie you're highlighting the skills they're looking for). The cover letter should highlight that you've put consideration into what they're looking for, and emphasis how you're a good fit for the role.

A small point - 'To Whom it may concern' may be a bit impersonal. If they have a contact person stated, address it to them. Otherwise I suggest using 'To the hiring manager'.

A good format for the cover letter is something like:

  • "What kind of work can you expect to be doing?" If you had read the job description, you would have known. The OP clearly stated that the position included a job description. Commented May 9, 2014 at 2:23
  • "How many people are they looking to hire?" What does it matter? The OP is only one person, he can at most fill only one position and he needs fill only one position. Commented May 9, 2014 at 2:24
  • @VietnhiPhuvan Many of the job descriptions I've read are pretty vague in terms of what you'll actually be doing, but I agree that those aren't the best example questions. Commented May 9, 2014 at 12:58
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    Were you going to attach a format for a cover letter in your answer? Your answer seems to end abruptly at "A good format for the cover letter is something like:". Commented May 9, 2014 at 17:47

1) “Is it OK to send a first e-mail saying: …?”

No. You are asking somebody to waste their time. What is the meaning of “tell me more”? You should ask more specific questions. For example, if the job position is related to a particular project, ask details about the project. Even better – try to find more information about the project yourself and in the email you can say “I have found …, please, tell me …”. Or ask questions about the tools and technologies they use. Or whether it is a team work and what would be the role of the successful applicant as a member of the team, etc.

If the contact email is of a person who is supposed to manage/supervise the new employee, it might be OK to ask if they would agree to meet you and discuss details of the job. I’ve done this before, did my homework before the meeting, asked the proper questions and came with ideas about the project during the meeting, and impressed the potential boss so much that they hired me instead of an internal applicant who had been lined for that position.

2) “am I expected to send my resume or other materials immediately in the first e-mail?”

It depends on the administrative procedures of the company. Some of them explicitly say how you should submit your CV/application form/whatever they want. Often you are required to send the CV to HR but the person who can give you more information about the job is someone else. Then I wouldn’t attach a CV but would briefly mention in the email my most relevant qualification and achievements, for example “am a PhD student graduating in August and have experience in …”

If there are no instructions about the application procedure and the email is a not that of you potential manager, then attach your CV.


As long as the job description is there and you've read it - you've read it, right? :) - feel free to attach your resume and cover letter to [email protected]

I would write something like this for a cover letter:

I am writing to you in response to your current announcement at [mention the source such as dice, stackoverflow or whatnot] that you are looking for a [fill in the position title]

I am definitely interested in the position offered. I am attaching my resume for your review and I hope to hear from you

And of course, if you have a special qualification for the position offered, make sure to flaunt it in your cover letter :)

  • The question specifically asks whether it's okay to send an email without a resume attached. Commented May 9, 2014 at 13:00
  • @Dukeling He's already read the job description. And he is asking whether he should reply without a resume attached. When a prospective employer puts up a position announcement including the job description, you reply with a resume attached. And that is how I framed my answer. I think I lost you somewhere with my logic. Commented May 9, 2014 at 13:07
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    At no point in your answer do you actually say what OP wants to do is not okay because employers expect a resume, thus you're not answer the question. Commented May 9, 2014 at 13:14
  • @Dukeling the question asks if it's ok to send an email without a resume and Vietnhi is saying no, attach the resume. True, he could explain better that the resume is expected. Commented May 9, 2014 at 16:18
  • Don't mistake me pointing out that you didn't make a point as that I disagree with that point - the question asker wants to know whether sending a mail without a resume is a good idea, so, in order to answer the question, you need to explicitly point out that it isn't, and give reasons. Commented May 9, 2014 at 16:31

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