Use your resume effectively
A good resume is an important job search tool. But like any tool it is only as good as the person using it. Much has been said about selling your employment skills to a prospective employer. What it takes to accomplish this is job search skills. It is not enough to have the employment skills that an employer desires if you do not have the ability to market them.
Now that you have perfected your resume, there are some guidelines for using it effectively. Job search strategies range from the simple and common to the innovative and complex. The following are some of the more common strategies and guidelines. The successful job seeker will master these skills:
Provide copies to:
- Your references
- Personal and professional networking contacts
- Employers with advertised job openings
- Employers with no advertised job openings
- Private and public employment agencies
- Executive recruiters
- Job service / workforce centers
- Vocational and college placement office
- Resumes should be sent to a person by name. Avoid sending the resume to
a job title such as “Production Manager.” It will take an extra effort,
but do your research and find out the name and title of the appropriate
person to whom your resume should be sent.
- If you are asked to send your resume to Personnel or Human Resources,
do so. Then also send a resume to the person in charge of the
department in which you want to work. Most of the time HR does the
screening, it is the department manager who is the final hiring
- When mailing your resume always send it with a cover letter. Never send
it by itself. Mass mailing your resume to many employers, hoping that a
couple of them will get someone's attention, is not an effective
strategy. The statistics are that for every 1,000 untargeted resumes
you send to employers you can expect to get 2 interviews. Additionally,
an accepted standard is that for every 10 interviews you will receive
one job offer.
- Look for ways to target your resume to the specific needs of the
employer. This can be accomplished with a targeted resume strategy or
through the cover letter. It requires some research before sending the
resume but it will pay off in an increased number of positive
- When researching an employer or employment agency, among other
important information, find out if they use a resume scanning system.
If they do, it will help you prepare your resume for presentation.
- Always precede or follow up the sending of your resume with a phone
call to the employer. Be courteous and professional and sell your
qualifications. Be sure to ask for an interview. Send your resume to
the employer even if they are not hiring. You never know what the
future will bring.
- When directly contacting employers, always have a copy of your resume available and take the initiative to offer it to them.
- When applying for a job with an employment application you may want to
attach your resume. The resume will add impact and should complement
the application. If you are asked to fill out an application, never
write on it “See resume.” Take the time to fill out the application
- Applying for jobs by resume can be an effective strategy to overcome
employment barriers. The resume should paint the best picture of you,
while the application may paint the worst.
- Provide a copy of your resume to your references. It provides them with
information about you and will help them to talk to an employer about
- Provide a copy of your resume to all networking contacts. It is an
excellent icebreaker to use the resume as a center for discussing your
qualifications. Ask your contacts to critique your resume.
- Always bring extra copies of your resume to an interview.
- Follow up! There is no use mailing resumes if you do not take the time to
follow up on your efforts. If you are not getting responses or
interviews from your resume, you may want to reevaluate it. The true
test of an effective resume is that you are offered interviews.