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Emailing resumés

When I approach someone with an email, should I send a resumé with it, just link to one, or both?  I think just linking to one is a bad idea since my server just might decide to go down right then, of all times.

Should I not send the pretty html formatted one, and instead a plaintext/rtf?  (I hope pdf isn't de rigeur.)

Maybe this is a strange question; it's just I get vaguely paranoid when I get sent an html attachment.  Thanks.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Since nobody has jumped in...

I've found that all that HR and recruiting agency droids can generally deal with is a Microsoft Word DOC file as an attachment. They're just too stupid and one dimensional to deal with anything except a file attachment, since it's what "everyone has to do". I once directed a recruiter to a link on my web site which had my resume, and the woman acted like I was giving her a pocket knife and telling her to remove her spleen with it. Stupid assed gatekeepers. Ok, I said stupid enough times.

HOWEVER - I don't generally think that emailing a resume is a very good approach. You don't get anyone's attention that way. Companies get zillions of emailed resumes because the cost and effort of sending resumes by email is almost nothing.

The best approach for finding a position is personal. Call the company, and try to at least find out HR's priorities for the position.  Best case, track down the hiring managers. Try to find someone in the company who wants to see *your* resume and then send it to actual human be'ins.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, April 27, 2003

Good lord, I just converted my html to .doc format usinjg msword 2k, and whever I open it, it complains, "The dimensions after resizing are too small or too large."  I don't think I can take the IT world.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Recruiters like word documents because it can interface with their resume database systems.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

They also like Word format so they can make necessary modifications to your resume.

Walter Rumsby
Monday, April 28, 2003

Why did I read "interface" as "interfere"?

Please sir, can I have my virus back?
Monday, April 28, 2003

Dear Bored Bystander,
                                    One of my responsibiltiies is hiring and I always ask for resumes to be sent as attachements.

                                  The reason is simple. I need to print out the resume for personnel if we are interested in the candidate, so a plain text email is simply not good enough.

                                  Linking is not on, not because I'm an HR drone who doesn't know how to access a website, but because I don't have the time to download somebody's CV, particularly as most people love to link to free sites like Yahoo briefcase that take forever to load. Also bandwidth is severely limited. And there are plenty of places where the person dealing with your application will have email but no access to the internet.

                                    Think of your CV as being like the menu in the restaurant. You want it on the table, you don't want the waiter  tell you to go and root around the back for it.
                                    As for format either .rtf or .doc For each person who insists on .doc you'll get another who will insists that their company doesn't accept .doc  because of problems with marcos. I recommend .rtf because it will show up with the Word icon anyway and 955 of departments will not be the wiser. Check out the size in both formats however. Don't bother zipping. MS has put so many problems lately with zip files, and .exe files are often blocked by Outlook or OE, that you're asking for trouble.

Stephen Jones
Monday, April 28, 2003

Use word '97 format, not '00 or '02. Or use .rtf - it must be readable by a secretary with no skills, and no internet connection.

Mr Jack
Monday, April 28, 2003

Personally I'd prefer PDF -- they can't easily modify it but tools still have the ability to pull text from it into the disparate HR systems. Do these systems only work with word docs?

Chris Winters
Monday, April 28, 2003

Use rtf. It should be good enough for any resume and as Stephen says, any nontechnical drone can double click on it and it'll work. The only obvious exception is if the company blocks rtf attachments as an "unrecognised format", but do you really want to work for a company that does that?

It's not like you want to do any fancy formatting beyond getting the content / real estate balance right.

Better than being unemployed...
Monday, April 28, 2003

I use LaTex

Monday, April 28, 2003

My $.02 as a hiring manager and it applies to both email and "old mail" although your medium may very...

If you are sending to a generic person any form, paper or email ends up the same way.
-  Send an RTF or Doc format.  I like PDF, but see warning below.
-  Send it as an attachment. Yes, I can link but I opened your email why make me go elsewhere?  Anything that makes a person ask that question will not get done.
- Do NOT depend on spell checking.  Have at least two people read your resume, preferably one who does not know what you do.  (Knowing you work with computers qualifies.)  My anti-spell check is because the following sentence is correctly spelled:
My lass assign was the construct of a Bank Merry web site.
- If you send it electronically, it will be parsed through a program to pull out key words.  (JAVA, COBOL, VB, ASP, etc.).  Warning: Many of these programs require RTF, plain text or doc format.  If you are not in this format, you will be done manually.
- If you send one manually or in a format that may be printed, here is what happens:
  - Suzy prints resume
  - Suzy Scans resume
  - Suzy runs it through OCR
  - Suzy corrects the words OCR could not read
    ** Suzy is a highschool intern.
Do yourself a huge favor and include an index of keywords as a separate page at the end of your resume.  Make the font an OCR type font.  If you cannot for any reason, then make it TT Courier and at least at 12 in size.  This way:
  - Suzy prints resume
  - Suzy scans keyword page
  - Suzy does not confuse COBRA and COBOL.
- Find a name.  Do everything you can to get the name of a person.  Create a cover letter and CC the HR department, sending copies to both people.
- Follow up.  It amazes me how many people will send a resume and then wonder what happened.  If it is email, wait two to four days and send a "THANK YOU" to the person.  "Old Mail" is a little more difficult.  You probably need to wait a few weeks.  People may not act on your resume when they get it, but they will act on the "thank you."
- Keep track of who you send resumes to.  Later you can send a follow-up "Anything new" message.

This went a little further than I expected, but I hope it helps.

- Cheers.

Mike Gamerland
Monday, April 28, 2003

Mike: thanks, this is very useful, particularly the bit about including the keywords with the resume.

Chris Winters
Monday, April 28, 2003

Not to intending to be contrary to the advice given here, but always send a resume in Word97 format.  Do not send it as RTF or any other format as it is liable to be junked immediately.

It may not seem rational but this is how it is.  People want word, they expect word and when you are dealing with hundreds of resumes any deviation from the expected is an excuse to trash your application.

2 bits
Monday, April 28, 2003

Wow, all very good advice.  For those interested, here's what I've done so far.

Started out with html, exported easily to .pdf using Openoffice v1.1beta. 

Used msword 2k to manually create tables to look like html version.  Then following advice I went to tools:options:save to strip out anything that conflicts with msword 97, which were 6 nested tables in my case.

Oh, and I used a background color for my html, then I slapped my head when I used it for .pdf and .doc.  People of course want to print them out without using all their ink.

A secretary could run circles around me...

Monday, April 28, 2003

Not to be contrary to 2 bits and all the previous advice - but I'd say a one size fits all solution is a bad idea.

Keep your resume in several formats, and send the format the company asks for (many specify).  Submitting a different format often ensures your resume will be junked (in our case, it will automatically get deleted before anyone ever sees it).  The thinking is: if you can't even follow simple resume submission instructions, what kind of employee are you going to make?

For the rest, use a default format as discussed above. 

Incidentally, from the statistics we keep about our files, most deleted resumes either attach their resume as text, .doc or include it inline.  PDF is not particularly popular as it tends to have a bigger file size.

Finally, FWIW - a resume blast across your area is not all that effective.  If I were looking for a job, I'd talk to a hiring contact within my target companies and ask them what format they want the resume in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Yes, I've noticed that most "media" companies use .pdf in everything they do, so it's a natural choice for them.  Whereas, the rest want .doc 97.  The cool 1% doing Linux or Lisp might get .rtf and will probably browse to my site if they want another format.

(What's really chilling is how much personal info you must give up.  Anyone wanting to track you or use your identity will have absolutely no problem.  This is what I get for not using nepotism like any sane person.)

I'm discounting the value of filesize when we're dealing with things like 50k, since it will probably be hellish working with a company that has less bandwidth than me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

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