In most cases, it's not up to you. Most companies have specific guidelines for how they want to receive job application materials. What's most important is to follow the instructions in the job posting.
How to Send a Resume
Usually, the company will want your resume sent as an attachment with an email message and sent in specific format, typically as a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF.
Sending Your Resume
If the job posting asks you to send an attachment, send your resume as a PDF or a Word document. Save your resume as a Word (.doc) document because that is what most companies use. File, Save As, should be an option in your program if you don't have Microsoft Word on your computer. Save the file with your name i.e. janedoeresume.doc. That way the hiring manager can readily identify who it belongs to.
To save your document as a PDF, depending on your word processing software you may be able to File, Print to Adobe PDF. If not, there are programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF.
Here's how to send attachments using several different email programs:
Sending Your Cover Letter
When applying for employment via email, you can copy and paste your cover letter into the email message or write your cover letter directly in the body of an email message.
Or, you can send your cover letter as an attachment, in the same format as your resume. If you send your cover letter as an attachment, use the same naming convention as you did for your resume i.e. janedoecoverletter.htm.
If you do send your letter as attachment, still include a brief introduction in your email message, stating the job you are applying for and noting that your resume and cover letter are attached.
Here's more on email cover letters and options for sending them.
The Subject Line of Your Email Message
Make sure you list the position you are applying for in the Subject Line of your email address, so the employer is clear as to what job you are applying for.
Include Your Signature
Include a signature with your contact information (name, address, phone, email address, LinkedIn profile URL, if you have one), so it's easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you.
Check Your Email Message
Make sure you spell check and check for typos. They are just as important in email messages as in paper correspondence. Microsoft Outlook and other email programs have built in spellcheckers you can use. Or, write your cover letter message in a wordprocessing program, spell and grammar check it, proof it, and paste into an email message.
Before You Click Send
Before you click send, send yourself a test email message to be sure everything is perfect and good to go. Attach your resume, then send the message to yourself first to test that the formatting works. Open the attachment so you are sure you attached the right file in the right format and it opens correctly. If everything is set, send to the employer. If not, update your materials and send another test message to yourself.
Sample Email Resumes and Cover Letters