Ask LH: Can I Track If My Resume Email Attachment Was Downloaded?

Dear Lifehacker, Thanks for the recent tip explaining one way to track emails and see if they have been read. What I’m wondering is this: is it possible to check if an attachment to an email, such as a resume, has been downloaded?

I know there are sites which I can upload my files to monitor the number of times they have been accessed. However, I don’t want to force employers to have to visit another site simply to read my resume or cover letter. Any suggestions? Thanks, Job Hunter

Attachments picture from Shutterstock

Dear JH,

The short and sharp answer: no, we’re not aware of such a service. (If readers know differently, tell us in the comments.) As you suggest, you can track how often a file has been downloaded from a site or if someone has visited your online portfolio, but the precise details of how someone else interacts with an email remain a closed book to the outside world.

But even if such a service did exist, knowing that your resume had been downloaded wouldn’t really help you. Just because a file has been downloaded doesn’t mean it has been read; someone might automatically download every resume sent in, but choose which ones to look at it based on the cover letter.

It’s alright to send a follow-up email or make a follow-up call once you’ve applied for a job (presuming that the advertisement for the role specifically doesn’t ask you to do this). However, being able to say “I know you looked at my resume” isn’t going to help in that scenario; it’s going to make you look needy and/or creepy. Ultimately, the most effective tool you have when applying for jobs is to write a resume and cover letter that explain your fit to that role. It won’t always work, but it still works better than anything else.


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