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    Preparing Lobster for Competition

E-mailing Resumes: The Good, The Bad, The Unexpected

By Tracy Laswell Williams

The following article is based on an e-mail I received from a "recently re-employed UNIX Guru" - we'll call him Louis, because, well, that's his name. Fresh from a relatively short period of unemployment, he still identifies with those still in job search mode - and nice guy that he is, he wanted to share a few pointers with you regarding e-mailing of resumes in the hope that it would improve your success. His company gets lots of e-mail from job seekers - and get this:

"I'd say that about 20% of the e-mails we get from job seekers have problems with attachments. That is:

  1. there is no attachment even though they reference one;
  2. the attachments can't be opened;
  3. the attachments contain only an icon or the persons' vcard;
  4. the attachments are corrupt or otherwise unreadable.

We never follow-up with these candidates because if they are so cavalier about what they send out without verifying the contents, it doesn't say much about their attention to detail and follow-through."


Yikes! Louis suggests that you do this instead:

"When sending out electronic mail assume NOTHING about the recipient in terms of their technical abilities or what software or platform they may be using.

Double-check to be sure you sent the attachment you thought you sent.

Use a simple filename based on your name, e.g. "JimSmith.doc" rather than "resume.doc."

When sending out attachments, ALWAYS include the content of the attachment in the e-mail message body (in ASCII/plain text) as well. Not as pretty, but, your resume certainly shouldn't stand on formatting alone. Remember, some people won't ever open attachments from unknown sources.

To further cover your bases, consider sending attachments with multiple versions of Word. Word 95 / RTF seems to be the best "least common denominator." Mention prominently in your e-mail that if there are any problems reading its attachments to please reply immediately Make sure that your reply address is valid. We've had people send things in and we have tried to follow-up with them only to have their e-mail address bounce back.

ALWAYS end your e-mails with a tag that signifies the end e.g. <> . I sometimes receive e-mails that don't appear complete either because of poor writing style or the file was simply truncated. Either way, unless I know for sure, it will get pitched.

TEST your e-mail attachments by sending to friends who utilize different OS, platforms, and word processing applications.

And follow up, too, to be sure someone received the resume! Yes, even if you have to call, fax, or snail mail someone! How else do you stay at the top of the pile?


Many thanks to Tracy Laswell Williams for this article.
Tracy's Website- http://www.career-magic.com/

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