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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sending unsolicited resumes

Sending unsolicited resumes

Francis Kahihu

During times when jobs have become scarce by the day, many people are opting to disperse resumes to all and sundry. This is with the hope that one of those numerous resumes will land on the right soil for germination. It also goes out with the assumption that someone will find an interest to read this document that lands on their table without their request.

Sending out an unsolicited resume is a gamble, yet serves as the only option when we realise that advertised opportunities are getting hard to come by. Even in cases where vacancies are advertised, the level of competition is stiff hence, the probability of clinching the position is generally quite low. It then calls for risk-taking in getting your marketing tool, the resume and cover letter, out there to whomever you wish to consider your relevance for service.

The cost involved in sending out such resumes is high, with no guarantee of a positive return. This however should not dull your efforts from sending the resumes as even solicited for resumes do not all make positive rewards. The aspect of sacrifice comes in. The Bible indicates that when you plant seeds in the morning, in the evening, do not fold your hands, for you do not know which one will sprout. Whether this, or that or whether both will equally do well.

Let us consider an analogy of a farmer who disperses seeds. The dispersion, as much as it may seem haphazard is usually targeted. The farmer has to prepare the ground and possesses some level of knowledge of the ground that will receive the seed. The seed is also prepared so that the farmer minimizes on the risk of failure. The same principle applies to us when we consider sending out resumes that have not been solicited for. We need to do our homework well, and send out resumes that are targeted as much no one would have asked for them. They should be seen to be directed at a particular office or department, and not labeled as ‘to whom it may concern’. Remember the proverb that a goat owned in common dies out of hunger since each person thinks the other will feed it.

What department or program do you want to work in, and why? What do you intend to contribute? These are some of the probing issues you need to raise within yourself as you set to send out the resume. You should consider the relevance of your skills and training to the requirements of the position. This then implies that you need a lot of knowledge before sending out that resume. You need to have interacted with either the staff or clients of the potential employer to understand their mission and if possible, challenges being faced, that you may support in addressing.

As companies continue to expand and diversify, there are always plans to raise the human resource base. Through interactions with companies’ strategic plans, you are able to tell the direction a company plans to take and the implication of the human resource needs. Seek to network with staff at your desired employer so that you get hints of impending recruitments. Look at the company organograms to be sure your area of interest exists within the company so that you do not apply for positions that do not exist.

Recruitment is one of the most expensive exercises for any employer hence many do all they can to minimize on this necessary cost. One main strategy has been the development of a databank of potential employees. Sending a targeted though unsolicited resume drives its way into the databank so that though you do not receive prompt feedback, your details are stored for future reference. Talking to people around you, you will often hear someone say, ‘I applied for this job many months ago, forgot about it, and have just been surprised with a call for an interview’.

One main challenge in sending out unsolicited resumes is the fact that you are not sure what information to include since the requirements for the position are not clear. In this case, it is advisable to include as much information as possible. This is your insurance against mismatch of your skills and the requirements of the job. This however does not imply including anything you can ever think of. Your knowledge of the organization helps you draft a resume that is largely relevant, though still general.

Finally, be cautioned against sending a resume without an accompanying cover letter. As indicated in a recent article on the role of a cover letter, the resume without a cover will be considered more-strayed, as compared to an unsolicited resume but with a covering letter. The cover letter indicates that although the resume is not solicited for, you feel you have skills that could be useful to the employer. This then helps make your case for having considered the employer for engagement, either in employment or for an internship.

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