Three-Pronged Approach Demonstrates Best Way to Distribute Your Resume and Ground Your Job Search


We’re currently performing quality control on every page in Quintessential Careers — fixing typos, updating content, deleting bad links. In the process I came across a terrific article from a couple years ago by Susan Britton Whitcomb, What’s New in Resume Writing: Key Trends. I was struck by one passage in the article that tells not only exactly how job-seekers should think about their resumes, but also how they can frame their entire job searches. Susan writes:
In general, I advocate to
  • get the resume into a target company’s database;
  • have it hand-delivered by internal contacts in the target company to the hiring manager (not HR); and
  • send it as a follow-up after meeting with networking contacts.
Because so many employers place resumes in keyword-searchable databases, it is important when applying to a specific company or for a specific position to get it into the employer’s database. But far more effective is networking your way to a job through your contacts within an organization. Employers significantly hire people referred to them by trusted sources. Thus, imagine a vacancy you’d love to fill. Imagine determining who you already know inside the organization and asking that person to pass your resume to the hiring manager. Imagine the impact on the hiring manager of receiving your resume from a trusted insider. Compared to the people in the database, your odds of getting an interview are tremendous. How do you cultivate insider contacts in your target organizations? By doing what Susan suggests in her third point. Ask your existing contacts, “Do you know anyone who works in [targeted organization]?” Or see if anyone among your LinkedIn contacts (or their contacts) is on the inside. Then connect with insiders through phone or in-person meetings, following up with your resume. Ask insiders what’s going on in the organization — what problems could you solve? what needs could you fill? As Susan writes:
The clients I work with are using their resume as a “leave-behind” rather than a “lead-in.” In other words, they are networking with others to learn about their needs first and, as a follow-up to the networking, sending their resumes.
And, P.S., this leave-behind aspect is why job-seekers still need an attractive “print” version of their resume — not just a stripped-down one for posting on job boards and employer sites.