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October 5, 2012 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Inside line on a job opening - what is the most effective way of sending an unsolicited resume?

So one of my contacts from my current job has informed me of a position that has just opened up in another company that may be a very good fit for me, and gave me the name/physical address of the person to contact. This job is not yet advertised anywhere. I would really appreciate some advice with two things from people who have successfully gotten a job through something like this before I send anything out.

1) What is the best way to send an unsolicited resume/cover letter through the mail?

Folded and in a normal size envelope? One of those document parcel things? Fedex??? And then write Attn: Person Name? I have only ever emailed a resume, I guess I should get the nice resume paper and whatnot.

2) As for the cover letter - I just need help with the opening lines. Should I go with formal or semi-informal opening, as in "Hello First Name," or "Dear Mr. Last Name?"

And then what? "I received your contact information from Contact Name, who has informed me of a recent opening for a Position Name within your organization. If you are looking for a replacement, I believe that my skills and experience would make me a very good fit for this position." And then go on to detail why this would be a good fit, etc. Is that a good way of phrasing it, or can you guys think of something better?

Thanks again for any help, it is greatly appreciated. Still getting used to this whole networking thing.
posted by cccp47 to Work & Money (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Large envelope, formal opening. The opening line you wrote is excellent. You seem to have a handle on this. Good luck!
posted by nickhb at 7:25 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So this exact thing happened to me this last week, and on the advice of a mentor I took a different approach to what you are considering. I am happy with how it worked out so far.

Rather than sending unsolicited material, I emailed the person and asked if we could meet to talk about [her field]. We had coffee today. I mentioned that this contact of mine had told me she would be advertising a position soon and... honestly I don't know exactly where I would have gone with that but fortunately she started talking about the job; I started expressing enthusiasm for the job; she asked me about my background; I told her; she said it sounded like I would be a great fit; I pumped her for more info on their timing for the advertising/interviewing process, and she also told me a lot of background to her thinking about the new position which I think is not going to make it into the actual advertisement, and will really help me frame my application.

She told me she'd email me the advert as soon as it is public, and I plan to submit my application through the normal channels. But I feel like my application will be stronger and her impression of me will be better because of this meeting.

I think that sort of strategy is probably more likely to result in an advantage than just getting your resume in sooner. The company will still probably have to advertise and interview other people, so I don't see that it will really help much to send in your stuff in advance.
posted by lollusc at 7:27 AM on October 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

I'd try to figure out this person's email address based on the company's typical email address formatting. I've almost always been able to find an example via google. You can check the address using this.
posted by mullacc at 7:54 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Would your contact person be comfortable emailing the hiring manager your resume? Generally, I do that for people I recommend and people have done that for me also. That's a very firm recommendation. If the contact person won't do that, I'd go with the formal letter since that what you were given as a contact method.

Here is the opening I'd use:

Dear Mr {Last Name}

{Contact person} suggested that contact you regarding the {Position Name} opening in your organization.
posted by 26.2 at 8:28 AM on October 5, 2012

IF you're going to send them an actual physical resume instead of emailing, the best impression is to use a large envelope so that nothing needs to be folded, and hand deliver it to reception.

This encourages the envelope to arrive at your target's desk via unusual means (for example, the receptionist hands it to them personally the next time they walk by) instead of going through the mailroom, which puts your envelope in it's own little pile on their desk, separate from the other piles.

Don't overdo it with the fancy resume paper. Use white paper of a reasonable bond. Black ink (or laser) only.

(I don't know if a physical resume is strictly needed vs an email these days, but that's my advice if you decide to go that route)
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:33 AM on October 5, 2012

Best answer: I was going to say email if you can.

Your letter sounds great, but attaching a CV to an email is so much more immediate.

I also love lollusc's approach. Send the CV and ask for some time to meet to discuss as well.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:07 AM on October 5, 2012

Response by poster: lollusc: They're out of state, so meeting for coffee is not really an option. I think you are definitely right though; actually talking to them leaves a much stronger impression. I ended up just calling the hiring manager to just discuss the possibility of a position. Seemed like it went very well, talked for a while and then I emailed cover letter/resume. They said they will review it with the team first thing on Monday. Thanks for the advice; fingers crossed.
posted by cccp47 at 10:08 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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