Resume Spam - Don't Undermine Your Job Search

By Denise Kalm, BCC, Career Coach

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Recently, a friend bragged that her daughter was sending out one hundred resumes a week in her hunt for a job.  I could see how she valued all that effort, but I had to wonder.  Does this work for anyone?  I recommend a very different approach to my coaching clients, but I see so many people substituting quantity for quality in their desperate search to land a job.

Think about it.

Most people are emailing resumes to HR departments.  Presumably, they have some kind of introductory note with their resume added as an attachment.  How likely is it that the few people left in most HR departments are perusing these notes, let alone the resume, with care?  Isn’t it easier simply to delete the email?  Years ago, we would get unsolicited resumes on our corporate fax machine; in time, someone moved a waste basket next to the machine to make it easier to discard them.  No one ever looked at them.  Even when someone takes the time and care to pen a carefully worded cover email, it is far more likely that the email will simply be deleted.  Some enterprising types have taken to creating snail mail, hoping to differentiate themselves, but most office workers have a recycle bin right under their desks, suitable for quick disposal of these carefully crafted missives.

Unsolicited resumes are spam.

Given that for every available job, there can be thousands of applicants, the reality is that no one is going to take the time and effort required to sort through email submissions, unless they have asked an applicant to submit that way.  In most cases, unless your skill set is so unique and the applicant pool for the position is so small, no one is desperate enough to plow through all of these submissions.  And yet, people of all ages believe that this is the way to find a job.

Sit at the HR rep’s desk for a moment.

You have plenty of work beyond trying to find a good candidate for your open positions.  How would you like to learn about a candidate?  People in this position have two good sources for applicants – headhunters they trust and employee referrals.  In most cases, they can get a reasonable interview pool from these without delving into their inbox.  Why work that hard?  Even the most diligent knows that they can’t afford the time it would take to read all those emails, even if they feel regret that they can’t consider all the hopefuls who submit them.

If you’re spending your time applying this way, you’re probably wasting it.  You may even know someone who was successful this way, but you may also know a lottery winner.  The odds are against you.  Instead, try a two-pronged approach. Find a headhunter who has a good track record for placing people in your industry.  Check with your colleagues and friends.  Use their name as a referral.  This is how headhunters build their businesses.  Then, use your LinkedIn network to contact people at companies that interest you.  As most companies offer some compensation to successful employee referrals, people are motivated to help, IF you qualify for the job.  Make sure you have done your legwork and know the open positions you qualify for.  Edit your resume to fit the opportunity.  And follow up.

In some ways, this method is harder than simply sending out a ton of resumes. But the effort expended will result in interviews and offers. Resume spam will not.

Denise P. Kalm, Author of Career Savvy – Keeping & Transforming Your Job and Tech Grief – Survive & Thrive Through Career Loss (with Linda Donovan)

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