It's hard to find much agreement on this question. Some job search experts will tell you that an attachment is more professional, while others will caution that some e-mail programs will block all incoming attachments. Personally, I think attachments are the best choice. If an employer doesn't want your resume to be an attachment, they will more than likely mention it in the job application.
If you do plan to put your resume in the body of the e-mail, there are some guidelines you should follow. First, make sure you start your message off with a brief introduction. This should be no more than two to three paragraphs. It's a little bit jarring to start an e-mail off with your resume and no explanation of who you are and why you are communicating with them. Think of it as a shorter version of a cover letter.
Once you are done with your introduction, indicate that you have pasted your resume below your name and contact information. Concerned with how to format the text? Here are some suggestions that will make your resume look professional and keep it out of the spam folder:
- Some e-mail programs are only able to receive plain-text e-mail, so avoid any fancy formatting.
- Keep your lines short -- between 45 and 60 characters.
- Use the space bar for indenting, not tab.
- Don't use exclamation points are all caps. These are two criteria that spam filters check.
- Avoid the use of bold or italic tags. Use asterisks or rows of equal signs for your headings instead.