What are the top tricks and tips for getting an interview? I’ve heard of people doing some crazy things to insure that the resume makes it to the hiring manager and past the “gate keeper”
Great question! Before outlining the tricks that I have found over the years, note that before using these tips, the job seeker should evaluate the position they are applying for…. For example, #5 (below – “Send your resume with a gift”) was used when attempting to get a resume in front of a hiring manager at an advertising agency. This option may may not work as well for hiring managers in some industries (or personalities, which is tougher to gauge). Therefore, know thy audience before using the below 😉 With that said, below are the top tips & tricks that I’ve found both creative and effective to insure that your resume is reviewed. I’ve broken them out into submitting printed resumes as well as electronic submission tips.
First, tips and tricks for printed resumes.
* Use a different color paper for mailing your resumes. Chances are, you’re using a cream, white, or gray paper color. Yes? So is everyone else. Be creative, and use a non-resume paper. Be original, and stand out. With that said, should you use hot pink? No, remember you’re applying for a professional career – but do choose something less common than white, cream, or gray.
* Use a different size paper for your resume. Why you ask? Have you ever shuffled a stack of papers. Do you ever have one/a few pieces of paper that when you are shuffling are a different size paper than the others. They stand out right? Of course they do, they stand out from the rest – it’s simple, but it does make your resume stand out. Therefore, use a paper that is (for example) .25 inches greater than the standard size. You can buy it at any office supply store, such as Office Depot or Kinko’s.
* Inside contact – If you’re interested in a specific company, get an inside contact. This means proactively trying to meet someone from the company, or a friend of a friend situation. People hire people they know – it’s comfortable. Therefore, do whatever it takes to get an inside contact.
* Certified Letter – Have you ever sent a certified letter? All it requires is going to the post office, and paying a few dollars to send it “certified” with confirmation. This means that the recipient of the letter must sign for it. And, I’ll bet that they’ll sign – they’re curious, and want to know what it is. By sending it certified to the hiring manager, you’re insuring that your letter has reached its destination – it has reached the hiring manager. This is a huge plus, as usually the hiring manager’s mail is filtered through a number of gate keepers.
* Send your resume with a gift. Yes, a gift. Head over to the local florist, pizza place, etc – get creative. Pick out a nice bouquet or lunch, and deliver it to the office with your resume. If you do the pizza, here’s a tip – put your resume in a zip lock bag and tape it to the inside of the box.
* Deliver the resume in person. What do you have to lose? Walk into the office, and ask for the hiring manager (by name). Just say you need to discuss the current job opening with him. Sound crazy? It works – they will see you as being determined, proactive, and outgoing.
* The post-it note trick. In larger companies (and sometimes in medium/smaller companies) a secretary or an office assistant will open the resumes for the employees. This person is responsible for screening for junk mail and to weed out non-qualified candidates. Therefore, here is the trick. Take a regular Post-it note, and write something like “This one looks good! – J”, and attach it to your resume. Who is “J”? Who cares! The point is that the hiring manager will get a resume with a Post-it note on it, stating that it’s good. Therefore, they are more likely to pay close attention to the resume at the direction of another employee. By the time the person realizes it’s not a note from their mail screener, you’ve already gotten your resume reviewed – is it deceptive? – no, its effective and innovative advertising.
OK, now for email…. (submitting electronically)
* Call or research online to get the name of the hiring manager for the position. Company websites always have the “About Us” page with a link to key executives these days… Once you have a name, type the name into a Google.com search. Chances are, you will find some contact information through one of the search results. Nothing? That’s OK…. Company email formats are very simple to figure out. Try this. Send your email with resume attachment to to all of the below email formats of the person’s name. I would recommend b’cc (blind copy) the multiple recipient variations, and only choose one as the “to”. You laugh? I’ve contacted the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies this way. Before using this technique however, please review SPAM laws and guidelines to insure you are not breaking any.
firstname.lastname@example.org (only 1st name not common in companies of +25 employees)
* Inside contact (same as above) – If you’re interested in a specific company, get an inside contact. This means proactively trying to meet someone from the company, or a friend of a friend situation. People hire people they know – it’s comfortable. Therefore, do whatever it takes to get an inside contact.