A job seeker reached out to Pongo’s Customer Support team this week with this question: “Would it be
a good idea or a bad idea to walk in and present my resume and cover letter in person, instead of applying online like everyone else?” That’s a tough one. It might help ... or it might not.
Here are some guidelines to help you decide.
Always Follow the Employer’s Instructions
That means if the job posting says apply online, you should absolutely apply online. Furthermore, if the employer specifies “Please email your resume and cover letter to hiringmanagerX [at] bbdb.org,” then that’s exactly what you should do. Don’t assume you can just hit the APPLY button in an online job posting and be done with it. Follow the submission instructions precisely, because it’s probably a screening tool to see if you’re paying attention.
Bottom Line: Always apply the way they ask. Only then should you try to determine whether an in-person visit would be a good way to emphasize your interest—or a good way to get you branded a stalker. (And that depends, largely, on the size and culture of the employer.)
The Smaller the Company, The Better Your Chances
Dropping in uninvited at a large corporation could get you escorted right back out by security. It’s unlikely to help your case, anyway, since most major companies use automated databases to track applicants and store resumes, and there’s often a recruiting or HR department that screens all applications before the hiring manager ever sees them.
But in a small company, if you play your cards right, you could make a memorable impression and generate some buzz around the water cooler. One of our web guys here at Pongo did that a few years ago, and although we still tease him about it sometimes, it obviously worked!
Get In. Make Your Point. Get Out
If you decide to supplement your “proper” application with a hand-delivered hard copy, be sure to follow these rules of resume-delivery etiquette:
- Dress the part (business casual should suffice).
- Respect the staff’s time and privacy—remember you’re interrupting their workday.
- Do not ask to see the hiring manager, request an appointment, or make any other demands.
- Identify yourself, the job you’re interested in, that you’ve applied through the proper channels, and that you’re just dropping off an extra copy of your resume and cover letter.
- Thank the person for their time, and say you hope you’ll be considered for the job.
You never know what will happen next. Most likely, the person will thank you and send you on your way (then deliver your packet to the hiring manager, with a comment about whether you seemed nice, weird, or something in between). The best-case scenario would be an instant interview—don’t expect it, but be prepared just in case!
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