How should I send out my resume?
July 28, 2009 8:01 AM   Subscribe

When looking for new job opportunities, what is the best way to get my resume in the hands of potential employers?

I currently have a good job, but I am looking for something more/different. I'm a university administrator with two degrees in art history, and I'd like to bring my administrative skills to a not-for-profit organization, arts foundation, cultural institution, etc...I'm not TOO picky, I just want something that is more challenging than my current position, and at a place where I feel like I am really doing some good (I work at a big private university, in the philosophy department, so I am feeling sort of "ivory tower"ish).

I'm lucky enough to be able to search leisurely for a new job from my current position. What I'd like to do is just get my resume "out there," even if a particular place or organization is not hiring. Couldn't hurt, right?

When I apply for advertised positions, 100% of the time I am asked to email a cover letter and resume. With this approach (sending out resumes when no specific position is advertised), should I send it in the regular mail? Would that look ok? If I should only email to places, to whom should I send the email? My approach was going to be compiling a big list of places I think I could be of use and sending resumes and cover letters on out.

I'm sure everyone has lots of advice for this type of job-hunting in general, which is great, but if you have specific advice about mailing out resumes, that would be even better!

posted by little_c to Work & Money (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This might be worth reading.
posted by davebush at 8:06 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

If your target employer is close enough, go in person. Dress professionally and be cool with whoever attends you. There is nothing like being in the flesh with a potential employer followed by a personal delivery of your resume. I've had much luck with this approach and been fortunate enough to receive on-the-spot interviews a couple of times.
posted by Zeker at 8:13 AM on July 28, 2009

You could always look for interesting job listings, tailor your resume and cover letter so you seem like what they're looking for, and send it in. That may seem like common sense, but sometimes people get so wrapped up in doing things differently that approach gets lost. That is how most people get jobs.
posted by andrewzipp at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2009

People I know in the non profit sector tell me they rely a lot on informational type interviews without any specific job-opening in mind. so if you find a place you are interested in, why not give them a call and set up a casual meeting to learn more about them, and get your name out there?
posted by Think_Long at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2009

I would not just show up in any case. This can be perceived as rude. If the positions are not advertised but you're interested in a particular company, call them, ask for HR, and inquire about whom to send your resume and cv to (confirm spelling of name, try to get email address). Send in email or on nice paper/envelope via snail mail (I did both). Call back a week later to confirm its receipt. Good luck.
posted by heather-b at 8:40 AM on July 28, 2009

*cv should be "cl" (cover letter)
posted by heather-b at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2009

I would second the "going in person" approach. Talking face-to-face with people gets them to know you and remember you, especially when there is no advertised position. A close friend of mine who works in a similar field to yours always ends up getting a new job every now and then (usually when he gets bored of his current one) by just going and talking to people and convincing them in person to offer him something. Even jobs he's not always well qualified for! You might like to call ahead and ask for an appointment.

Otherwise, I think email would be OK. Everyone uses it now, and it's convenient for most (that's why 100% of the time you're asked to send it for advertised positions). For unadvertised positions, it is probably less likely to get you as far as going in person would. I'm not sure who to send it to, but you want to send it to someone who's important, but not too busy to not bother to read all their emails. If you write a good (brief, to the point) email, you can make an impression that way, too.
posted by Eastgate at 8:59 AM on July 28, 2009

Just throwing my 2 cent opinion here.

I would e-mail the company, including the people high up in the food chain (eg, if the webpage lists CEO, grand poobah, whatever -- email it to that person), in addition to an HR person.

As a freelancer, I occasionally send emails to companies that I think could use my services, and usually that is the only contact information I can find. I've been hired for freelance jobs -- and my new contact has told me that a CEO, company president, etc, sent them my email. Also, some people have reported that they got my CV from someone who forwarded it to them from another company. Anyway, this approach has worked well for me, but YMMV.

Also, if you are not doing this now - update your linkedin profile. List every job, and details about those jobs (that are related to the next job place). I've also been contacted by headhunters, HR people, plus landed one freelance job gig this way -- I think Linkedin would be an even better tool for people looking for full-time job positions.

I am also seconding Think_Long's suggestion -- when I wanted to get into medical/science writing, I had a few info interviews (google and check out companies that look interesting to you) -- when I did these info interviews, people helped me create a CV that was more appropriate for my new job industry. In addition, a few people gave me the names of job contacts that would probably hire someone with my background.

Finally, have you thought of just volunteering at a few of the nonprofits you really like? You could have even more insight into the workplace, appropriate references, and if a job opportunity opens up -- there you are!

Good luck.
posted by Wolfster at 9:15 AM on July 28, 2009

Figure out where you want to work (identify 10 organizations) and email and cold call the managing director or CEO - email to say that you'll be giving them a call. If they don't pick up the first time, leave a voice message. After that, don't leave more than one voice message a week.

Your preferred employer may not have a job, but they may be able to provide you information about your second choice. Always try to get two contacts or leads out of anyone you talk to when networking.

Make sure you broadcast your skills and achievements.

Never consider the HR department as your conduit into a potential workplace. HR has absolutely no power - it exists to service its clients (the hiring manager) and there is absolutely nothing HR can do to help you. Nothing at all.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:28 AM on July 28, 2009

Never consider the HR department as your conduit into a potential workplace. HR has absolutely no power - it exists to service its clients (the hiring manager) and there is absolutely nothing HR can do to help you. Nothing at all.

That is not always true. It's worth a shot to call HR to at least get a name. It has worked for me. Yet, pestering the CEO will not likely get you anywhere.
posted by heather-b at 1:27 PM on July 28, 2009

I'm going to drop the 'N' word here. Networking. Pick 10 organizations you really want to work for or feel you can make a difference at and research who is on their boards (not just the board of directors either, but advisory boards too). Chances are you already know some of them. Approach those individuals (perhaps at a local event or just call them), chat them up about the organization, and then ask who is the right person to approach regarding if you can be of help at the organization.

Since it's a non-profit it helps if you can bring some dollar producing relationships with you to the table.
posted by IndigoSkye at 8:27 PM on July 28, 2009

« Older Time Analysis for Scanning Project   |   What does Valcheck say in Polish at the end of S2... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.