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How to Use a Resume

You've polished your resume, now what?

Use these tips to get the most out of your job search efforts.

Get your resume out there.

Once you have a solid resume, your job is to get it to the right people.

  • Give it to every employer you meet even if they are not currently hiring.
  • Upload it to online job banks like MinnesotaWorks.net.
  • Give it to networking contacts who can be on the lookout for job opportunities for you.
  • Give it to your references. It will help them talk to others about your qualifications and find job opportunities for you.
  • Give it to your instructors and college placement offices.

Send your resume to people, not places.

Avoid sending the resume to a job title (such as "Production Manager") or to a place (such as "Human Resource Department"). Find out the name and title of the appropriate person to send it to.

Send it where you are asked to.

If asked to send your resume to human resources divisions, do so. Also send a copy to the person in charge of the department in which you want to work. Most of the time, human resources does the screening, but it's the department manager who makes the hiring decision.

Send your resume with a cover letter.

Never send it by itself. Your cover letter explains your intentions in details you are not able to include in a resume. And it just looks more professional.

Don't mass mail your resume.

Mass mailing your resume to as many employers as possible is not an effective strategy. Target a smaller pool of employers instead.

Find out if your resume will be scanned.

This information is often noted in the job listing or included with other information about the employer. If you don't know, call the employer to ask if they use a resume scanning system. If they do, find out how to make it scannable.

Send your resume together with the job application form.

When filling out a job application, attach your resume if you feel that the form doesn't capture your best attributes. This can be effective in overcoming employment barriers. However, never write on the application "see resume." Take the time to fill out the application completely.

Follow up after sending your resume.

After sending a resume, call the employer. It is no good to mail resumes if you do not follow up on your efforts. Be courteous, professional, and sell your qualifications. Ask for an informational interview, if it is appropriate. If you are not getting responses or interviews, you may want to review your resume. The true test of an effective resume is that you are offered interviews.

Source: Creative Job Search, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.