A few years ago, I worked at company X. Recently, my old boss reached out to me and asked me if I'd like to apply for a full-time position. He's still working at company X.

I am going to let him know that I sent in my application in a separate email, and ask him to put a good word in with HR.

My question now is: Should I also CC him the email I'm sending to HR? Or should I BCC it, or just Fwd: it along with the separate email I'm sending him anyways?

(I'm in Europe, and there is no online application process, just email.)

EDIT: For some large companies, it's would also be possible to send it to the boss, and for him to forward/submit it internally as a recommendation. That would be clearly be the best preferred process. However, in my case I think that this is not really the best option, as I more or less know everyone involved (including HR).

5 Answers 5


If I would be on the receiving HR side, I would wonder why you would carbon copy your old boss the application, if he is not going to be your new boss. I would likely view this as an attempt to receive an unfair advantage over other candidates - and there is no guarantee that your new boss likes your old boss. If you CC: the email and it gets forwarded, the new boss will see the CC:, too.

If you send it to HR and BCC: your old boss and your mail to your old boss gets forwarded, too, for one reason or the other, it shows that you deliberately tried to hide the fact that you informed your old boss. This might be viewed even more negatively.

So to sum it up:

Neither CC: nor BCC: provides any benefit over forwarding.

The best option which grants all benefits without any disadvantages is to first send the application only to HR. Then forward it your old boss to 'just let him know that you applied'. This way your actions cannot appear in a negative light.

  • Great answer. I accepted this over @psubsee2003's answer as you specifically mention the potential downsides of the CC and even BCC approach. Thanks.
    – John Doe
    Sep 4, 2016 at 14:47
  • Interesting point of view. Somebody worked in the company before and knows people from inside. It is a hell lot of an advantage! They have track record on him and his previous boss can provide feedback. Why would consider it unfair? (I agree on conclusion, I wouldn't CC either, but not for that reason).
    – ya23
    Sep 6, 2016 at 10:10

If it were me, I'd CC it. There's a possibility that it may help. It may not. So the real question is, will it hurt? I don't see how it could since the person's a manager. How it could help is that it may be seen by someone who makes the connection that your boss is recommending you without your boss first having to do so.

I think it's harmless to CC it since you're being asked to apply. Either way, I think you're correct in making sure he sees it one way or another.


This depends greatly on the hiring processes of the company involved. In cases where your application is emailed to HR or hiring manager or internal recruiter, then CC'ing your contact would be the best decision. This allows him/her to see your complete application (resume/cover letter) and provide specific details to the hiring manager about your application.

However, in many larger companies the process won't involve much email initially. When you apply, it is usually via an online form of some kind. When this happens, it usually won't be possible to CC'd your contact at all. In those cases, it is best to apply, and then directly email or call your contact and provide the details of your submission (such as an application number or job posting number or some other name/number to identify the specific opening and applicant). Your contact would then be able to contact HR and the hiring manager to provide his/her feedback to your application.

I've done both methods in the past depending on the size of the company, and at my current (Fortune 100) company, I can confirm the 2nd suggestion is the only way to get an internal contact to provide a recommendations unless the specifically referred you to the position (which is a 3rd option if the company provides the option for employees to refer external candidates).


Better not CC the guy, it's more common to start the cover letter by mentioning who told you about the position and asked you to apply. They will contact him if they care.

  • 1
    But he may care. He is the one who asked, right? So he may care if OP did it.
    – Mołot
    Sep 3, 2016 at 22:44

I dont understand your question. He just asked you to apply. Nothing else as I read. Not even that he will recommend you.
So you will go through the regular interview process. Right?
If he wanted to refer you internally he would have said so.
So it seems to me the best choice is for you to apply and either inform him that you did or bcc him as well.
If he will mention you to HR that you are a candidate he refers is up to him.

  • Why the down vote?
    – smith
    Sep 2, 2016 at 21:27
  • 4
    I didn't downvote, but my guess is that it's b/c you only spend 1-2 sentences answering the question. The other text could probably have been asked as comments. People are usually looking for longer, more in-depth answers.
    – mcknz
    Sep 2, 2016 at 23:24
  • @mcknz: what is 'b/c' ? I did not expect an answer to my questions. I was trying to show him a reasoning on this
    – smith
    Sep 3, 2016 at 8:54
  • 1
    sorry -- b/c is an abbreviation for "because." If your questions were rhetorical, but perhaps others did not consider them contributing to answering the question.
    – mcknz
    Sep 3, 2016 at 15:29
  • Thanks. I don't know if I'll have to go through the regular process, depending on what the boss can do I may not have to. About the downvotes (not from me): If you don't understand the question, then why even answer it? Next time you should maybe ask for clarification before writing anything further.
    – John Doe
    Sep 4, 2016 at 14:43

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