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Ask Brian- What’s the Best Way to Send My Resume?

October 29th, 2007 · 11 Comments

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If you have career or job search question you would like answered on this blog, click here to Ask Brian.

Sarah from New Jersey asks:

“What is the best way to submit my resume to a potential employer? I’ve been sending my resume out over email, but about 2 out of 3 don’t get any of response.”

Brian’s answer after the break…

Your question is a simple one, but the answer is sort of complex. Let me answer it in three different ways:

Answer Number 1: The short answer is, the best way to submit your resume is to submit it exactly the way the employer suggests. A lot of employers, especially the bigger ones, have specific and sometimes complex ways of receiving and sorting resumes. If you don’t follow their submission suggestions, all you’re doing is inviting them to ignore you. If you’re submitting online, use the online submission form they probably have set up. If they tell you to email it, then email it. Fax? Fax it. Do exactly what they tell you and you can’t go wrong, even if that means submitting the resume differently for each different employer.

Answer Number Deux: You say you’ve been sending over email. Email submission, while extremely popular, has it’s own set of problems. The main issue is spam. Your resume is not spam (hopefully) but a lot of the spam blockers companies use in their corporate email systems don’t know that. It’s not uncommon for corporate spam blockers to stop all emails with file attachments if they come from unknown email addresses. So, attaching your snazzy Word resume file to your email might be the very reason you can’t get through.

The best thing to do is send your resume in the body of the email. That’s right, don’t send an attachment… simply cut and paste your resume text into the email itself. This way there’s no attachment and your resume comes in just like a regular email.

If you cut and paste your resume into an email, make sure you go back and fix any line breaks or garbled text that result in you cutting and pasting from your word processor to your email program. A good way to do this is to first paste the resume into a text editor (like the Notepad program in windows) and then select that text from the text editor. When you select this new text, and then copy and paste into your email, you’re selecting the pure text only. Again, make sure you glance over the final email to catch any formatting problems.

Answer Number the Third: The all-time best way to submit your resume is by hand. That’s right… old fashioned person to person contact. Show up at the office and put it in the hiring manager’s hand yourself. Even if you just leave it with a secretary, he’s going to have to kick it up the ladder by hand after you leave. This method is not always feasible, I understand, but whenever it’s even slightly possible, it’s worth it for you to make the effort. That old saw about putting a name to a face is not just an old wives tale. It’s a fact.

But Brian, you might be saying, I can’t do that in my case! I hear you, but I want to stress again, do whatever you can to show you’ve made the extra effort. Let me give you an example from my time as CEO of When we hire resume writers, we only work by referrals; that is to say, we only work with writers we know by reputation. And since we hire contracted writers all over the country, it’s not feasible for writers to fly out to Ann Arbor and track me down. Emails came in all the time from writers we had never heard of, but these went mostly ignored since they were unsolicited and usually only one sentance long emails. In other words: you couldn’t have handed the resume to me personally.

But one of the best writers I ever hired was someone out of the blue. One day in the regular mail (snail mail, not email) I opened up a large legal-sized envelope. Inside was a two-page resume along with sample resumes and a formal intruduction letter from a retired lawyer on the west coast. It turns out that the gentleman, upon retirement, had started to specialize in writing legal resumes, a very sought after specialization for us. He had taken the time to become certified, and his sample work was outstanding. The resume and the letter were formal and very professional. It was clear in just the tone of his writing that this guy was good… old-school good. Not only had he taken the time to submit his resume the traditional, professional way, with care, craft and on paper- he sent it to my personal address! This means he had taken the time to research the company, find out who was in charge, and put himself in front of me directly in the best way possible. Far from being offended, I was thrilled because clearly this guy knew how to win the job search game.

Long story short, I phoned the guy up immediately, interviewed him, and hired him right away. He specializes ONLY in legal resumes, so he doesn’t work with as many clients some of our others writers do. But his resumes are golden, and the clients always adore him. He’s still with ResumeWriters to this day.

And you know what? He would never have gotten my attention if he hadn’t made that extra stretch.

And of course, the best resume to send is one that has been produced by a professional resume service.

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  • Spencer Washington


    I enjoyed reading this column, but your response did not directly address my own question. How do I go about getting my resume noticed when I’m trying to transition into a career in which I have no experience? I’m currently working at a state MHMR agency in Texas, but I’m looking to move into the HR field. I’m also pursuing a PhD with Capella Univerisity (online), specializing in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

    Your advice/response is greatly appreciated.



  • Brian


    I missed this comment. I’ll put it in my Ask Brian queue for questions to answer. To make sure I don’t forget it, go to the Submit a Question link at the top of this page and send in this question in greater detail.

  • Justin

    That is great advice! I would like to use the strategy your legal writer used when I send out my resume! Only problem is I cant seem to get a hiring managers name. I look online, google search and sometimes call the corporation but never receive a name. Sometimes when I do get a name, they will not give any additional information so that I can make sure the person does receive my resume. Any advice?

  • arshad


    Contact Address:
    J-49, Ramesh park,
    Laxmi Nagar,
    Contact no. 09953471813


    Career Objective:

    To work in a challenging position where my experience and knowledge can be utilized for completing the assignments in time with excellent quality.

    Educational Summary:

    10+2 from CBSE Board (DELHI)

    Pursuing B A from Delhi University

    Package Known:

    Operating System : Windows-2000 Professional, Windows-98,
    MS – Word, Ms-Excel

    Working Experience Summary:

    · One year as a Sales Executive with TATA Indicom ( Prepaid PCO ).

    Reliance Communication Ltd

    Presently working as a Commercial Executive For Last 4 year . Currently deployed at Kaushambi and assigned Jobs are as under:-

    · Scrutinizing and Dispatching of Customer Application Form all collections centres in Delhi and NCR

    · Independently handling the Record Rooms of The Reliance Communication Ltd which contains
    All the duplicate copies of CAF`s., Cash Receipts and all commercial records

    · Promote RIM Products /Audit all Prepaid or Postpaid document which Reliance Outlet has been sold

    · Managing and keeping all records in organized way for future requirement and make proper identification of each records.

    · Worked as sales Executive with Reliance Infocomm Ltd. from Nov. 2006 till Now.

    Personal Details:

    Father’s Name : AFSAR ALI

    Date of Birth : 22ND JULY,1987

    Place of Birth : DELHI

    Religion : ISLAM

    Nationality : INDIAN

    Sex : MALE

    Marital Status : SINGLE


    Salary Expected : NEGOTIABLE

    Date : _____
    Place : DELHI


  • Alexey

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  • CashBackAtEbay

    You offer some sage advice for job seekers, Brian. Most important is the part about attachments being treated like SPAM — I never thought of that (especially since many employers ask to send an attachment). I know it’s true because I sent an attachment to myself and wondered where it was, it turns out that it got shifted automatically to my SPAM folder.

    It’s just another case in point that it’s always a good idea to follow up with a hardcopy. But today, many employers make it difficult to get the address — whether they post company confidential, use a recruiter or just list on Craigslist with the anonymity that that forum provides.

    Incidentally, there are lots of good resume books available on eBay. Sign up with us and you can get cash back on every eBay purchase and make money when other people you refer shop eBay through this cash back site. It’s a great source of residual income and something that job hunters can do while they have the luxury of some extra time.

  • BIPH (Biff)

    Mr Brian… I found your info on attachments very helpful. My main question however is what is/are the favored format(s) to use when sending E-Mails. In other words, should I/we use PDF; MS Word RTF format etc. etc. Also I still believe that using the ‘ol shoe leather and “pressing the flesh” a good way to keep me form getting discouraged when I feel there’s nobody out there.

  • joe

    Thanks For the information, what if i am asked to attack my resume in an email should I still paste it in the mail?

  • Lexi

    Mr. Brian, thank you for the advice. I just was wondering, in the case of the gentlemen who posted his curicullum vitae on this site, I always thought that posting your religion, nationality and sex on a resume presents the issue of discrimination. There are some companies that upon finding resumes with pictures and this sort of information may not even look at it. Reason being, if the person does not get the job they can claim that it was because they were being discriminated against by the company. It is recommended to just leave that sort of information until the interview but only if asked. In addition to this if the hobbies have nothing to do with the job skills its best to leave it out. Just trying to help.

  • Zzniceu

    me zahid from pakistan i wanted job any where. i did double master,

    • Herman

      first English then job understand?!