If your resume is drafted, edited, polished to perfection, and ready to submit to employers, then you're on the right track. But there's still one major step ahead of you: You'll still need to figure out where to submit your resume and cover letter, and how to get them noticed by the people who can actually hire you.
And even though the job post may be accompanied by an "apply here" link, or an email address to send your app to, this doesn't always present a clear path to success. It's an odd but common quirk of the professional world, but sometimes these instructions are misleading, confusing, or simply incorrect. Sometimes the "apply here" link is broken. Sometimes the email address provided leads to a flooded inbox of a busy HR Manager.
In other words, sometimes you have to take personal responsibility for making sure your resume reaches its destination. Here are four tips that can help:
1. Don't give up on broken links
If you encounter one, or if you encounter an online application with ten screens of information to input, item by item, and the process freezes and restarts every five minutes, don't panic. And don't sit there all day restarting the process patiently over and over again. Find another way. Go to the company website, locate a staff directory, find the head of the department or the head of HR (or both), and send a personal application to that person (or people). This just takes a bit of resourcefulness and research.
2. Customize your cover letter
Conduct some research to find out who's on the other end of the email address you're being asked to submit to. Then find out what you can about this person—including a quick LinkedIn search to see if the two of you share any professional contacts. Target your letter to this person and tailor it to her specific needs. (If you use her name in the greeting, spell it correctly, of course.)
3. Submit your letter to the department or team most relevant to the position
Some candidates copy their message to the HR director or the CEO of the entire company (this isn't usually necessary, but it can't hurt to cover every base.)
4. Follow up means everything
The best way (and sometimes the only way) to find out if your resume reached its target is to simply ask. Send an email or make a quick phone call to the person on the other end and find a polite, respectful, and brief way to confirm that your resume was received. If you're scared that you'll come off as "pushy," don't be. This is the real world, where people work hard, take their tasks seriously, and don't let small things bother them. If your hiring manager becomes unhinged by the impertinence of a simple follow-up call from a job applicant, then he's a bit too fragile to be running a business. If you don't get a clear response, call again the following day.
Your Resume Is Your Most Powerful Tool
The best way to make sure your resume hits the mark is by sending a great resume to begin with. Before you submit your application, visit LiveCareer and use the site's Resume Builder to make sure your document conforms to accepted business standards.