So, your resume is complete. Congrats!
Hopefully for your sake, you’ve either just received your final resume copies from our professional resume writing service, or you’ve been closely following the principles required for a great resume. As long as you have done that, your experience, education, and skills are probably nicely laid out on 1-2 sheets of white professional resume paper; you’ve probably had the document thoroughly edited; and you’re now ready to start slapping that bad boy up on one job board after the next!
I’m writing this post because it is essential that you resist the urge.
What?!?!? Do you really mean that?
Yes, you’ve got to resist the urge: the urge to take the path of least resistance.
What do I mean? I mean that it’s going to be tempting — oh so tempting — to pop your newly perfected resume into the online job submission forms of your choice, hit the send button, and sit back feeling very accomplished. After all, if you’ve recently worked with us, or if you’re confident that you have an awesome resume prepared, you’re probably thinking, my resume is already head and shoulders above the rest … what could go wrong with this plan?
Sorry to be a debbie downer–but if just submitting your resume is all you are planning to do, you’ve got a LOT to lose. Yes, you should put your resume up on as many job boards as possible, but you simply MUST resist the urge to stop there. If you’re really committed to landing a job you love, here’s the question you SHOULD be asking:
After working so hard and going the extra mile to make my resume perfect, do I really want to limit its use by just throwing it at dozens of employers and hoping one of them will notice?
Or, am I really committed and willing to do what it takes?
Hopefully, you’re one of the people who is willing to do what it takes to land that job. If you are, this means your work is not quite done. You still have some careful, intentional steps for the best chances at the results you deserve.
Okay, before I get a bunch of angry or confused people here – please know this: job boards can and do help in the job search process. I highly recommend that you posting your resume everywhere you can, using sites like Career Builder, Indeed, Beyond.com, US.jobs, and JobBank; and I also highly recommend that you use an aggregate resume posting service like the one we offer at Cold Collar.
But, what I am cautioning against is thinking that those services are a catch all and will automatically get you in front of the right people! The truth is, it just doesn’t work like that! Hiring managers, employers, and recruiters get as many as 100 resumes a day; and even if your resume and cover letter are amazing, they might never even get a chance to read them.
Still with me? Okay, let’s get to it.
For your resume to work for you in the best way possible, there are least a few more steps that I recommend you take:
First, before you do anything else, you’ve got to make sure you’ve thoroughly reviewed and edited your resume and cover letter before you send it on to any employers.
If you’re not good at editing (it’s okay, we all have our areas of expertise) make sure you send it on to a friend or peer to have them look it over too. If no one comes to mind, you can always sign up for a free resume review with a member of our team.
By the way, for any of our resume clients, we offer one week of final revisions after we send you the initial draft to go over any questions or make any changes you may need. After that, we send all copies to a professional editor to make sure your resume is just right.
Usually, we’ve had at least three people look over your resume before we send you the final copy. Cool right?
Second: Whenever you can, don’t just apply online.
Huh? Where else can you apply? I have a radical new idea for you. Actually…that’s not true. It’s an old-fashioned idea. A radical, old-fashioned idea. You ready for it?
Send a hard copy of your resume directly to the decision maker of the company you wish to apply to via snail mail. Yup, I am talking about the good ol’ US postal service.
(I told you it was old fashioned!)
Or, even better —
Send it via package delivery service, like Fed-ex, so that the hiring manager personally has to sign for it! Do you know anyone who isn’t insanely curious when they get an unmarked package? I don’t. This method practically guarantees that you’ll get your resume read.
Or, here is the best idea yet —
Set up an appointment or drop in, and hand-deliver your resume right to the person in charge! What a better way to make an impression and show your interest in the job than helping them put a name with a face?
Okay, there are so many other ideas here … but you get the idea? GO THE EXTRA MILE AND GET NOTICED!
Even if your resume really stinks, going the extra mile to get it into the hands of your actual hiring manager will go a long way! It shows initiative. It shows that you care about the future of your job, and that you are really interested in the company and employer!
Remember the alternative? Most of your peers are just sending their resume in online in mass and hoping that it works. If you go that route, you join a virtual flood of other faceless resumes. Unless you get really lucky, your resume and cover letter will get sorted by computers, or by low-level HR reps hired for just that purpose. Most of them don’t know you from Adam, they often don’t really understand the needs of the job, and many of them don’t even know a good resume when they see one. Is that what you want the future of your career to reply on?
Think about it. Do you really know what usually happens when you just apply online? First, your resume goes into a big online database where in many cases (particularly with bigger companies) no one will ever even see it! When a job opening comes up, the resume is keyword searched by a computer; and, IF it makes the cut, that HR Rep we talked about earlier will sort through the remaining resumes to find ones that they think the company might want to see.
Again, I’ll ask that important question:
Do you really want to trust all that work you just did to a random hiree over an internet system already inundated by countless others doing the exact same thing?
NO WAY! Get it straight to the person in charge!
Okay, after that rampage, I realize that it might not be possible to find the person in charge every single time. So, here are a few other tips to help you bypass the flood.
Keep in mind that there is no “one perfect way” to do this.But here are some highly recommended ideas that can help you stand out:
1. Follow up! – Especially when you are applying online, it is easy for your resume to get lost in the shuffle. A good follow-up process will set you apart from the crowd.
2. Email all documents as a PDF – Never as a Word Document! There are lots of reasons for this, and we can’t get into all of them here; but in short, this helps you maintain a professional appearance, it ensures that the documents look the same despite the type of device you are using, and it hides an perceived flaws they may see on the word document.
3. Submit all documents online as TXT file – Never as a PDF! It would take to long to get into all the intricate details of why this is, but in short, most online submissions go into what is called an ATS tracking system, which takes the basic code that is used to create your resume, and reformat it into a universal format for recruiters to easily skim. These software systems are notorious for messing up the look of PDF documents, so by giving them only the basic HTML (the TXT file), you make sure that the software program can find what it needs.
4. Don’t ever send references unless you are specifically asked for them.
This is a matter of courtesy — you are asking them to consider you for a job, not assuming they will want to hire you. Sending references is the step after that; and they will request them if they are interested in pursuing you as a job candidate.
(By the way, with every one of our professional resume services, we will send your references page as a separate document to make this easy for you.)
5. You probably already know this one, but a reminder can’t hurt: if you are ever asked for your references, make sure you have spoken with each of them, and they are okay with being a reference and will give you a positive recommendation. Do this before you send their info on to an employer!
6. DON’T follow up with a generic, “Did you get my stuff?” email or call.
I could write ten more blog posts on this, and maybe someday I will. But for now, let me just explain it this simple way: When you contact the employer to ask if they got your resume or when you will hear back from them, you are just putting yourself in a lose-lose situation: Either they have received your information and aren’t interested (meaning your nagging is further enforcing their disinterest which can cost you a chance at a re-do), or they just haven’t gotten around to it yet and you reaching out again is just adding more to their stressful situation! … Again, this can make a bad impression and really hurt your chances.
So what should you do instead? Well, every time you reach out to a potential employer, add something of value. Did you get that? Every single time you follow up, it is essential that you add something of value.
For example: You could try sending a copy of a personal profile like the Myers Briggs Type Assessment or the Employee specific Cold Collar Assessment and mentioning how your specific traits would be a great fit for their needs. Or, you could send a copy of an article with an innovative idea for their company and mention how it could help them grow and reach new business. Or, mention a referral and ask them if they would like an introduction that could lead to closed business.
Whatever you come up with, just make sure you add something of value!
This allows them to feel good instead of annoyed at your follow up; this keeps them interested in potentially hiring you, either now or down the road. See the difference?
OK, that’s it! You’ve got that kick-butt resume and now some tools and ideas to use it well; so get out there and land the job! You know what to do next.
Oh yea, and don’t forget, if you ever have any questions for the Cold Collar team, you are always welcome to contact us, and we’ll do what we can to help. You can also access the many job search resources available on our website which are specially written to help job seekers to take the next step in their career.