Preparing a batch of generic cover letters and resumes to send out to prospective employers is not a very effective job search strategy. Mailing campaigns will keep you busy and may occasionally result in an interview, but it is unlikely. Here are a few reasons why.
- When you insert a piece of paper between yourself and a prospective employer, you offer that person an easy opportunity to screen you out of the candidate pool.
- If your resume goes to a personnel department, it is scanned into a computer or screened by a clerk for keywords that indicate a strong match for the available position. The purpose of this screening step is to reduce the applicant pool to a manageable number of highly qualified candidates. A lot of screening out occurs simply because certain words are not on a resume.
- If you are applying to a specific position and your qualifications match the position needs, you have all the right keywords in your resume, you have a high GPA and good experiential education work experiences, you may get an interview. However, even with the same outstanding qualifications, if no open positions exist for a person with your qualifications, the chances of you being contacted when the “right job” comes along are very slim.
- If your resume goes to a busy manager that isn’t looking to hire someone with your specific qualifications, they will probably not give it any attention unless they know you. Most busy managers are not interested in reviewing resumes when they are not actively seeking to fill a position.
- Many employers fill entry-level, professional positions by networking with students and graduates of colleges where they are familiar with the education offered. Often times a high level alumnus has championed a partnership with his or her alma mater and hiring is part of this partnership.
What is a better approach? Network and then sending out a targeted email and cover letter. As mentioned in our section on Networking, face-to-face networking is most effective but networking through a professional social media site, such as LinkedIn, can also be effective. When a recruiter or hiring manager is somewhat familiar with you, they will give your resume more consideration. If you have created a favorable impression on them, you are likely to get an interview opportunity ahead of other well qualified candidates.