5 Easy Ways to Get Your Resume Seen by a Real Person

Do you have your resume all put together?  If so, great, this will come in handy. If not, follow along and picture this…

The format is perfect.  Your words describe the perfect candidate.  If a Word document could be a work of art, your resume is like the Sistine Chapel.

You have proofread your resume and put effort into making sure that your resume clearly communicated the value that you will be able to provide to your next employer.  Everything on the page makes it crystal clear that you are right the candidate.  You have the competitive edge for the job.

So what do you do next?  If a resume is not seen by human eyes, it will never do its job of getting you an interview and keeping you in the running for a job.  Resumes can be like the a tree falling in the woods with no one around to her them if a real life human being is not able to see your resume.

Too many people leave the all important job of getting their resume seen by human eyes to a computer and just upload their resume praying for the best.  Even if with an optimized resume full of keywords, the chances are that the resume will never be seen by human eyes by simply uploading it into a database.

It is critical that you get your resume in front of the right people who can get you hired.

It is critical that you get your resume in front of the right people who can get you hired.

Speaking from experience, there is not enough time in the day for recruiters and hiring managers to go through all of the resumes received for most jobs.  Keep in mind that these people are already busy, and adding on a position to be hired and candidates to be evaluated and interviewed just adds more work to their already full plates.  Typically, a job opening means that someone who is doing the interviews is probably already taking on extra work that will eventually be done by whomever fills the job.

This means that they are probably going to take the path of least resistance when deciding which candidates to consider for a position.  Rather than feverishly looking at all of the available candidates with pain staking detail, they will likely go very heavily with recommendations from people they know and trust and candidates that they are already familiar with.

What if you are applying somewhere and do not personally know the hiring manager?

Not to worry.  Below are some fail safe methods to get past the mysterious computer resume screening process.  Do these things and you will be scheduling interviews and weighing which is the best job opportunity while other people are complaining about the fact that it takes too long to upload resumes to all of these different companies (who never read their resumes).

1.  Reach out directly to someone you know who works at the company.  This does not have to be a close family member or even someone particularly high up.

You will be surprised at how much people will help you.  At best you might get an introduction to the right people who are hiring for or influencing the decision for the job you want.  Worst case scenario, you will gain a little insight into the company which can go a long way.

2.  Look at your contacts in social media, especially in LinkedIn.  There is the old saying that within six degrees of separation, you are connected to everyone in the world.  Thankfully, the business community (especially if you are looking for a job locally) is a lot smaller than we oftentimes realize.

Check to see any of your contacts are connected with people in a company you want to work at.  If so, ask your personal connection (friend, family member, colleague, etc.) to introduce you to the person in their network that you want to meet.

In case you are not comfortable being so direct, you can ask more indirectly.  Something along the lines of “I am thinking of applying at Acme Inc.  Do you know anyone that works there?”  Worst case scenario they will forget or do not realize the connection, and best case scenario, you can be introduced to someone who can help you get your foot in the door.

3.  Do an internet search.  You would be surprised at what you can find.  In smaller companies, it is not uncommon to see the names of many of the people in the company and figure out who might be to someone to contact.

Not only can you get good information about the company, their reputation, and their culture, you might be able to crack the code of the company’s system for assigning email addresses.  Most companies have a formula to how they do email addresses such as first initial last name @ company.com (i.e. ksanderson@acmeinc.com) or first name. last name @ company.com (i.e. kevin.sanderson@acmeinc.com).

If you can figure out the name of who to email your resume to directly, you can send a quick note letting them know who you are and what you offer to the job.  This alone shows way more initiative than submitting an online posting and hoping for the best.

4.  Just show up.  This is not for the faint hearted.  It is bold and shows initiative.  In my career, I have sent people on to interviews and even hired people who did just this.  If they had the guts to show up, I would at least talk to them.  Although, it was not always at that time they showed up….

Even if you don’t get a chance to talk to the hiring manager directly, you will be able to ask for more information from the receptionist or whoever tells you “no” that the hiring manager is not available. You might get more help than you think.

If you develop a rapport with that person, you will likely even have a cheerleader in your corner.  Yes, you will be talked about afterwards when you make an appearance.  Make it a good impression, and the talk about you will be positive and could help lead to an interview.

5.  Send a copy of your resume to someone higher up in an organization.  This tactic is helpful to get your foot in the door when research and fact finding only lead you to someone higher up in the organization such as an executive who oversees the division or area of the company you are applying (i.e. Vice President of Finance if you are applying for a job in Finance).

The bad news is that you will likely never hear back from that person if you send them your resume.  However, the good news is that you have likely just sent your resume to an influential person who prides him or herself with having a keen sense of follow up.   Likely they will send your resume down the chain of command to someone who will be closer to the hiring decision.

The magic is in the politics.  There is a lot of weight if it is perceived as your resume is coming from someone’s boss or higher up.  In organizations, no one wants to have the big boss ask if they got the resume that was sent to them and have to say that they did not follow up on it.  In almost all cases, your resume WILL at the very minimum be looked at and could very well be bumped on the list of possible candidates.

However, you need to be strategic when doing this.  The politics can also backfire with this tactic.  Be extremely careful doing this if you are already in contact with anyone who is connected with the hiring decision such as a human resources professional or the hiring manager.  This might be perceived as going around your contact in the organization which could hurt your chances…

By doing one (or more) of these steps, you can separate yourself from the masses of people who will passively turn in their resume to find out that a person never actually read it.  Nothing can move you faster and easier from candidate to hired than a little determined action.

Last updated : April 15 2014

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