Q: I have emailed many, many resumes to ads on the job boards. I also have applied to jobs listed on company websites. How do I make sure that my resume is reviewed -- especially when it says not to call the company? I am sure that companies are receiving hundreds of resumes for a single position right now.
A:You are right. Companies are being flooded with job-related inquiries right now. I have a client who recently posted a mid-level professional role on several job boards and the client received over 400 resumes in under three days. We took the posting down on the fourth day. And many of my clients do specify that they prefer no phone calls because they need time to review the resumes. Additionally, recruiters are also calling these employers requesting that they help the company fill the job.
A few recommendations:
- Make sure that you are reasonably qualified for the position before you send a resume targeted to a specific position. If a position requires an engineering degree plus 2-5 years of experience in pharmaceutical/medical devices and you hold a journalism degree and have never worked in pharma/med devices, you probably won't receive a return call/email.
- Follow directions. If the job board or website requests that you email a resume in word with a cover letter, do that! Don't email it in a format that is unusual or can't be opened easily. It if can't be opened easily, it probably won't be reviewed!
- If you know an employee that works within that company, give them a call or send them an email. They may have additional information that could be helpful. Employee referrals are a good hiring source. Those candidates that maintain a strong network of contacts fare well in this respect.
- Lots of larger companies search incoming resumes for key words. If your resume does not contain the specific key words, you will likely slip to the bottom of the "pile." Think about ways to embed some critical key words in your resume before you send it to a prospective employer.
- Think about having a few different versions of your resume that are tailored to either different levels, industries or roles. I am not suggesting that you fabricate your experiences, but rather focus on specific parts of your background that are most relevant to a specific role or industry.
- Make sure that your cover letter, cover email, and resume are all crisp, clean and free of typos and grammatical errors. I recently received a resume called "Plan B." It did not give me a good feeling that this candidate was pursuing this position enthusiastically. Employers are fearful of hiring a candidate that may accept an offer because other options are not promising right now. The employer's fear is that when/if the economy turns around, this candidate will accept another offer that was more aligned to their "Plan A." Ask a trusted friend, family member or colleague to review your resume. Many of us don't find our own typos or mistakes.
- Remember that job boards are not the only source of job leads. Networking, employee referrals, alumni associations and word of mouth are all powerful tools in any job hunter's toolbox.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.