Getting Your Resume Into the Right Hands

Combine new-age research with old-fashioned correspondence to increase your chances for success in the job search.


The job search is an ever-changing landscape that seems to get more crowded and more complex by the day.

It often seems that when you submit your resume online, it just goes into what experts call the ” recruiting black hole ” and is never heard from again.

That could be because it’s been relegated to the bottom of a resume pile that is over 1,000 pages deep. More likely, it’s some kind of a digital version of that, one where resumes that are customized to trick a computer are assigned a higher priority while your resume sinks to the bottom of the list.

There are ways to even the odds in the digital job search by strategically using the right keywords and following a couple dozen other rules on how to send a resume by e-mail, but once you click “send” there’s got to be something you can do other than just pray that it gets to an actual human being.

Abby Kohut, a job search counselor and founder of Absolutely Abby, says there are still some moves you could make to ensure that your resume reaches a person.

“If you go with the black hole, there’s no guarantee the recruiter will see it,” said Kohut, a former human resources recruiter of 16 years. “You just never know if someone is going to find you that way.”

Her strategy combines new-age research with old-fashioned correspondence.

“It’s important to get your resume to the hiring manager,” she said. “Find them on LinkedIn and send them your resume in the mail.”

That’s not to say a job seeker should simply bypass the company’s entire candidate tracking system. These more traditional tactics should be used in conjunction with the digital ones with one track going to the hiring manager and the other digital track going to the recruiter, if not the dreaded black hole.

To locate the hiring manager, Kohut recommends starting with an advanced search on LinkedIn seeking the name of the company, the particular department that interests you and the zip code for the position you want. There probably won’t be anyone who comes up with the title “Hiring Manager,” but anyone with a “Director” or “Vice President” title is probably your target.

“If you get to somebody near the hiring manager, that might be good enough,” Kohut said. “People don’t like to destroy mail, they like to pass it on to the right person.”

While e-mail is easily forwarded or deleted, a hard copy is much more likely to be read, especially if the envelope is handwritten and marked “personal and confidential,” she said.

“It’s very effective,” she said. “Someone will actually see it.”

This old-school method of job searching is something of a lost art nowadays, but that’s what could make a candidate stand out.

“Making a call is good too — any of the old techniques. Even faxes are good,” she said. “Nobody does them anymore.”