Students often have questions about the best way to communicate with potential employers. Specifically, a key question is whether to send applications, cover letters, and resumes by email or by hard copy through the United States mail. The answer to this question varies, depending upon the employer. Employers who post positions on Symplicity will specify how to apply. In other cases, if you have not previously communicated with the potential employer, take a look at the employer's website under "Employment," "Careers," or "Contact." Many times employers will specify their preferred contact method.
Since email has become a primary means of business communication, we find that most employers prefer to receive applications (resumes and cover letters) as attachments to emails. Your email should be short, simply stating that you are attaching copies of your materials to apply for a specified position. Attach your documents in either pdf or Word format (but be sure to check Word documents for metadata before sending).
Absent specific instruction, it is generally better to mail a hard copy of your letter and resume.
There may be situations in which you can use email as your main communication instead of a separate cover letter. We don't recommend that you do this unless the employer specifically requests it. If you do find yourself in a situation appropriate for a substantive email communication, be sure to use the same formality and attention to detail you would if you were composing a traditional cover letter.