Several employers said they had no preference for how they want to receive cover letters, and some said they wanted to receive them both ways. Others felt strongly about getting cover letters only in the body of an email, while still others were just as adamant about receiving them only as attachments. One respondent noted that if he gets a resume attached to a blank email, he almost always deletes it.
Ideally a job posting will tell you how to submit your resume and cover letter. But if it doesn’t — given the wide range of preference on this issue — you’ll need to do some research. The place to start is on the career portion of the employer’s Website. Check carefully to see if a submission preference is stated. If you can’t find it, you can try calling the employer to ask. Some employers are not receptive to phone calls related to applying for jobs, but most should be able to answer a simple question about how to submit your cover letter.
Also consider sending your letter and resume by postal mail in addition to whichever electronic method the employer prefers; few other candidates will do so, so you’ll stand out. See also the other parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.