Questions about the best way to submit your resume and application documents are as common today as they have always been.  Despite all the ways technology has provided for submitting these necessary documents, is there a single best way to make sure the right person sees and considers your materials?  The answer is, “It depends!” And the reasons a bit more complex than a simple answer will allow.  But let’s see if this helps.
“It depends” on a variety of factors; some easier to attain than others.  The very best way to submit your resume is to put it into the hands of the person making the hiring decision!  That is the only way to guarantee that your documents wind up in the right hands.  This does not guarantee that your documents will be read, however!  But through devoted networking and research, making direct contact with the hiring authority truly gives you an advantage over others seeking the same position.   But the reality is that most job seekers don’t get the opportunity to go this route.  For a wide variety of reason, most documents are submitted blindly, without knowledge of to whom their materials should be directed.
Many employers go out of their way to conceal who the hiring authority is.  “Do not contact the employer directly.”  “Do not call about this job.”  Statements like these are too frequently inserted into job announcements to discourage you from finding out the name of the decision maker.  And, frequently the individuals named in recruitment ads are not decision makers, but departmental assistants whose job it is to screen submissions.   And even when the company name appears in the job posting, calling that employer and asking the receptionist for the name of the human resources manager or department head wont necessarily get you the results you want because the gate keeper (departmental or company) has been instructed not to provide that information.  All the more reason why networking is so important!
Identifying a company where you want to work, and networking with those who already work there can prove fruitful if you are able to establish a rapport of camaraderie and trust.  Through this direct interpersonal contact you may be able to find out the name of the person making hiring decisions.  Barring direct contact with a hiring authority, this isn’t a bad way to proceed!
Sometimes, but not always, researching the company on the Internet, may help you uncover the name of the right person to submit your resume.  The company’s own website is the best place to start, followed by any other means of directly researching the company of interest.  LinkedIn has proven to be a valuable tool for researching decision makers, or at the very least, finding the names of relevant people from particular departments or management teams which could lead to further discovery of the “right” name.  Sifting through articles in trade publications, annual reports and news stories, or finding other references to a particular company by putting its name into a search engine can be quite time consuming, but worth the effort if you find what you’re looking for.
Each job announcement you consider worth responding to will also contain hints as to the preferred method of application submission.  If the job ad says: “Email your resume to”, then that’s the way the company wants to receive resume submissions.  If it says, “Apply online by going to our website,” then that’s their preference.   And many companies will offer multiple ways of submitting your cover letter, resume and applications, but typically, the first method named is the way you should submit your materials.  This also includes references to the format of your documents.  If the job ad says “Submit your resume in Text Only format, “ and you send a .doc, .docx, or .pdf, you increase the chances your documents will be ignored because you will have demonstrated you don’t follow instructions.   Ditto if you send attachments and the announcement says, “Do not send attachments.”
And, my friends, therein lies the core of the submission process.  Can you follow instructions!  Your ability, or lack thereof, to submit your resume according to the company’s preferences and instructions is an early determinate of whether you will be considered as a candidate for that position.  No matter the level of the position, employers want to hire people who pay attention to what is asked of them, and an applicant who ignores the submission directions is far less likely to receive due consideration, no matter their qualifications.
So, what’s the best way to submit your resume?  It depends:  Hand it to the hiring authority, or follow directions.   It’s really that simple!
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