Disposable USB Thumbdrives - DNE?!?!
June 22, 2010 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for uber cheap, "disposable" USB thumbdrives to send out with resumes.

It's a tough job market, as I'm sure many Mefites know, especially for grad students approaching the end of their degree programs. At the consul of my career services center, I'm considering sending out a snail-mail resume blast to about 50 or so personal and professional contacts to help shake the career tree.

In the package, I'll be including:
1) A letter explaining why they received the package and information about my targeted industries and organizations.
2) Three copies of a generic coverletter.
3) Three copies of a generic resume.
4) A digital copy of said generic coverletter, resume.

I'd like to send the digital copies on some sort of uber cheap 'disposable' USB thumbdrive. As these things will only be carrying a few PDF documents, they don't need much memory at all. I know I've seen these things in the past, but have yet to come across them online. Have you seen them around?
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ever consider Compact Discs? (aka CDs?)

Will ship easier too.

Cheap as hell now-a-days.
posted by royalsong at 6:55 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I had this weird deja vu about this question ... a few years ago someone asked a very similar one. You might want to see if any of the links are still good. (Also, that thread points to this other thread. It's apparently quite the popular topic here on Ask.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:58 AM on June 22, 2010

seconding CDs.

the post office will thank you, and your stuff will have a much better chance of actually getting there, unless you hand-write "Hand Cancel" on every single envelope to avoid your envelope going through a machine reader and getting crushed, shredded and discarded.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:58 AM on June 22, 2010

Cd business cards are cheap and effective. The only advantage to a usb drive is that the person who receives it can wipe it and reuse it. While that may give you some bonus points with the recipient it sort of defeats the purpose.
posted by calumet43 at 7:00 AM on June 22, 2010

what is your price point beyond cheap? Easy to find them at $6 a pop online, but at 50+ quantity even that is pricey. Unless you are going for the "Oh Cool a thumb drive, who sent it to me?" as an attention getter, I'd second the CD route as well.
posted by edgeways at 7:00 AM on June 22, 2010

For the love of all that is mighty, do NOT use small CDs but regular sized CDs. The reason is that the small CDs sometimes jam in slot loads and if the person has their desktop in such a way that it is a side load then the small CD can "fall" out. You will be remembered for jacking up someone's hardware or people will not bother to use the CD.

Further advice, please do not use a generic objective section to the resume. Since you are sending out a generic resume, the objective cannot be targeted to an audience and simply takes up valuable visual real estate, in addition to providing an opportunity to use vacuous phrasing with misspelling potential. Really, I know that you would like to work in a place that will provide opportunities for growth and all that. Better to use a summary of qualifications. Also, make sure your resume is more of a skills based resume with relevant coursework section. I assume that you already have a portfolio website so people can view material online and will be including that in your information.
posted by jadepearl at 7:25 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Will there be more detailed information on the USB drive? Writing samples, design samples, or whatever would be applicable to the field?

I may be a bit overly wary and ignorant of technology, but I wouldn't plug in a USB drive that I received as part of a resume and I would check long and hard with IT before I loaded a CD. If it is only digital copies of the resume and cover letter, I would probably toss the USB or CD anyway and grumble about the waste created. I could create my own copies of that information in any number of simple ways.
posted by wg at 8:01 AM on June 22, 2010

As jadepearl has noted, please do not use business card or small CDs. There are simply too many situations where these will not work in a CD drive.

Also...If you go with flash drives, please avoid like the plague any drives that feature the U3 garbage. The last thing you want to do is send a potential employer something that tries to install crap on their computer.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 AM on June 22, 2010

A further note that corporate IT departments may well have disabled the USB slot for mass storage devices, as they are often considered a security risk. They're an easy way to bring in viruses or other malware, and they're an easy way to get data out of an organisation, which may be an issue depending on your target industry.
posted by Magnakai at 8:36 AM on June 22, 2010

Personally, I would not want to receive your package. I wouldn't load the USB (and I haven't had a cd-rom drive at work for at least five years) and I would feel you were trying to outsource your work of looking for a job to me (three resumes? am I supposed to look for three jobs and forward the resumes on your behalf? who takes paper paper resumes nowadays anyways?) I know it is tough out there because I am constantly asked by strangers how they can get my job; so you have my sympathies, but avoid alienating your network.

Instead, write a personal letter to the 50 people - personal, not generic - and ask them to keep an eye out for jobs that match your skill set in the ONE resume you enclose. Maybe make it more of a CV rather than a one page targeted resume (since you don't know what to highlight). Let them know you will be happy for a lead and will take over from there, minimizing their work. Keep it upbeat and keep your letter short (they are probably pretty busy). Good luck!
posted by saucysault at 8:59 AM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Seconding that you run a high risk of whatever files you send not ever being opened. It's a one-way trip to the 'No' pile. Making work for the recipient of your resume is not a good idea, no matter the nature of the contact.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2010

Someone posted this USB Business card the other day in a thread about promo items. You might be able to get something like that for what you need. If you're trying to hand out a portfolio that might be nice to use, but for anything aside from that it'd probably be wasted. I never use those promo USB drives from tradeshows, etc as it's been frequently found that they are manufactured in a Chinese factory and come preloaded with nasty viruses. YMMV
posted by msbutah at 9:31 AM on June 22, 2010

Most of your recipients will likely not be like me and won't have worked in computer security. However there's no way in hell I'd plug in a random USB drive someone sent me.

What I would do, however, is open a link to your online resume. Presuming that you sent me a nice note working our personal/professional connection and I thought that I might know of something good. But really I'd only bother to open it to verify that, yeah, this person would be good for that thing I know Jim over at XYZ is looking to do.

The absolute most important thing you could do in a contact with me is make it short and sweet. I'm not reading 6 paragraphs of letter from someone I barely know. Hello, a quick reminder sentence of who you are, a quick what you want sentence, MAYBE 3-4 sentences about your experience and enthusiasm.

6+ additional pages of stuff in the letter? It smells of junk mail and what am I supposed to do with it anyway? Put it in another envelope and use my stamp to send it to a friend? Take it with me to happy hour to hand to someone so they can use it as a coaster?

Brief note and a shortened url.
posted by phearlez at 9:56 AM on June 22, 2010

What year did your career services center send this advice from?

If I received such a package in the mail, I would grumble about wasted resources as I threw your resumes in the recycle bin and wonder what in the world I was going to do with one more potentially virus-laden thumb drive in my life.

On the other hand, if I received a brief, personalized email with an attached pdf of your resume and/or a link to your online resume, I would be happy to offer advice and help you make new contacts.
posted by partylarry at 12:07 PM on June 22, 2010

I would not plug in a random USB drive I received in the mail.
posted by outsider at 5:19 PM on June 22, 2010

« Older Must See, Experience   |   iPhone 4.0 software- not so exciting after all Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.