In a job market where practically every job posting draws dozens (if not hundreds) of electronic applications, old-fashioned snail mail could be the new cutting edge.
My colleague Jen recently pointed out this online article about mailing paper resumes. Although I disagree with the premise that you should use crested, watermarked stationery (that just screams '80s to me), I agree that a well written and formatted paper resume and cover letter could be just the thing to make you stand out.
Let's be clear: I'm not saying to skip the electronic application process. You should always apply the way the employer asks. But after that, you could potentially score a lot of points by taking the time to mail an easy-on-the-eyes backup copy of your documents. With all the lightning-fast technology we use to communicate today, taking the time to send something in the mail can convey the message that you're very interested in the job and the company.
If you decide to try this method, follow these guidelines:
- Match the cover letter to the resume (in terms of header, font, style, etc.).
- Print both on premium bright-white paper (not your everyday copy paper).
- Use a large 9" x 12" envelope so you don’t have to fold the documents (and no, genius, it's NOT OK to steal one from the office supply cabinet and cross out the logo).
- Address it directly to the hiring manager, if possible. Otherwise, address it to the department with a sticky note inside that says: "Please forward to hiring manager for ___ position."
- Affix the proper postage for a large-size envelope.
- State in your cover letter that you have applied electronically, as directed, but that you're following up with this printed version.
Sending a snailmail resume may or may not help your candidacy, but it can't hurt. In theory, at least, it's a concrete way to show your prospective employer you're the kind of person who goes the extra mile, pays attention to detail, and looks for ways to make things easier for the decision-makers. Those are good attributes for just about any job.
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