March 10, 2010
Career experts are divided as to whether it is best for job seekers to submit resumes through e-mail, as is generally the case, or through old fashioned snail mail.
Some say that sending resumes using the U.S. Postal Service could be a surefire way to get noticed. "I'm not saying to skip the electronic application process," notes Julie O'Malley, a professional resume writer whose article was featured on the Massachusetts-based PongoResume.com blog. "You should always apply the way the employer asks. But after that, you could potentially score a lot of points by taking the time to mail an easy-on-the-eyes backup copy of your documents. With all the lightning-fast technology we use to communicate today, taking the time to send something in the mail can convey that you're very interested in the job and the company."
Others say that if nothing else, a paper resume is bound to get noticed because it's so uncommon these days. "Even if your resume does not receive the personal attention of the individual," notes a post in the blog Career Alley, "it will be delegated to someone who will give it special treatment which will hopefully lead to an interview. Does this work all of the time? No, but it does work very often."
Similarly, the Daily Herald in Washington state reports that after an interview, job candidates can make a favorable impression by sending a thank-you later through snail mail. "These days," notes the Herald, "postal mail stands out; e-mail doesn't."
But other career experts argue that there are definite drawbacks to corresponding through snail mail: It's more expensive, it takes more time and it's worse for the environment. The Wall Street Journal, in an article about the importance of well-crafted cover letters for job opportunities, points out that sending a note through the postal service "may not be wise since doing so prevents recruiters from forwarding it to other decision makers."
So which is the best method? Experts are divided. But O'Malley notes that the best strategy may very well be taking the time to submit a resume electronically and following up with a hard copy through regular mail.
"Sending a snail mail resume may or may not help your candidacy," she writes on Pongo Resume, "but it can't hurt. In theory, at least, it's a concrete way to show your prospective employer you're the kind of person who goes the extra mile, pays attention to detail, and looks for ways to make things easier for decision-makers. Those are good attributes for just about any job."
Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman