Posted by Brian McCullough
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 ResumeWriters.com. 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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