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Sending a Résumé: USPS vs. WWW

Posted: July 10, 2015, 3:34 p.m.
by Mary Claire Hunter.

A résumé and cover letter are the first glimpses a potential employer has of who you are and what you’ve done. But what if the method in which you send these into the employer carries just as much weight?

I recently had lunch with a friend, who has been in the PR field for several years, to pick her brain on all things related to the job search. We discussed what I see myself doing, possible opportunities available in the field, and ended with her editing my cover letter and résumé. I asked her how she applied for jobs when she graduated college; she told me she printed her cover letter and résumé, put them in an envelope, stamped and hand addressed them, and turned them over to the United States Postal Service. Although this may seem like a chisel and stone method of getting your name and achievements out there, there is an ongoing conversation on paper vs. electronic submission of résumés.

Ten years ago, sending a résumé via email may have been considered a unique way to apply for a job. But in today’s world, where our phones buzz at least every 10 minutes with a new email, the unique way may be to send it via postal mail.

Paper over email
It’s very possible that those who are hiring you are not millennials. Therefore, most are accustomed to seeing applications on paper, rather than email. Printing your résumé out and mailing it gives you the opportunity to show some personality through how you package it. You can also add little touches that show your attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile.

“The job search isn’t going paperless. In fact, experts say, a paper resume can make or break a bid for a job,” said Rachel Louise Ensign, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, during an interview by Business Insider.

Email over paper
The obvious point here is that email is convenient for all parties. We live in an instant gratification world, so typing an email and hitting the send button gives the sender that personal and instant satisfaction of being able to cross it off a to-do list and move to the next task. In my personal hunt for a job, I’ve found the sentence “this job won’t be open for long” or phrase “looking to hire immediately” before the job duties are even listed. In that case, getting your résumé and cover letter in by email could mean that you’re in front of potential employees quickly, which is a huge benefit. If you decide to go this route, CBS has tips on getting your online résumés seen.

I see the benefits of both options. As for me in my personal job search, I’ve sent more résumés via email than snail mail. Just call me an instant-gratification-seeking millennial!

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