Nowadays, tech savvy employers and large companies usually ask potential employees to submit their resumes electronically. Most of the time, resumes are requested as Word or PDF files attached to email messages, but some employers will also ask candidates to use a company-sponsored app or fill out a digital form on a company website.
Companies rarely request a hard copy sent in by mail or fax—but it does happen. And if you find a post for your dream job with instructions to apply by mail, you'll want to respond the right way and give yourself every advantage over your competition. Try these moves.
Use High-Quality Paper
Print out your formal, finished resume on paper that contains at least 10 percent linen or other forms of cloth fiber. This kind of paper is thicker and heavier than ordinary inkjet paper and it feels more formal and expensive in a reader's hand. You can find this kind of paper at any office supply store. Make sure you print your resume several times beforehand on ordinary paper so you can see what your formatting decisions look like on the page, not just on the screen.
Include the Correct Address & Correct Postage
If you fill out address information incompletely in an email, you message may be bounced back to you—but this doesn't always happen with snail mail. Double and triple check to make sure the address and the name of your addressee are clear and spelled correctly. And don't leave your postage amounts to chance—if you're not sure a single stamp will work, add two or have your letter weighed at the post office.
Become a Fax Master
If you're asked to submit your resume by fax, and you don't a have fax machine (which is true of most people), find one at your local copy center or student career services office. You can also use software that can allow you to convert emails to faxes. In any case, it's very important to enclose a clear cover sheet explaining your document to anyone who happens to walk past the receiving fax machine and find it when it arrives. If you're submitting this way, it's also a good idea to contact the company by phone or email to confirm that your fax has arrived legibly and intact.
Consider the Long Term
If you're asked to submit your resume using an especially outdated or unconventional format, don't overlook the context and significance of this request. A company—or an individual manager—who can only accept applications by hard copy or fax may be a very new startup operating on a bare bones budget. They might also be located in a remote area, or a place with limited internet connectivity.
But if neither of these are the case and you're being asked to apply this way simply because the employers are unable or unwilling to accept modern forms of communication, this might be a red flag. Bear this in mind as you move forward with the process and ultimately receive an offer. Make sure this kind of company matches your working style and the direction in which you'd like to take your career.
A Great Resume Stands Out, No Matter How It's Submitted
Elegant, professional formatting and layout decisions can set your resume apart from the competition no matter how it arrives in the hands of potential employers. Give yourself the best chance at success by visiting LiveCareer before you attach your cover letter and send both documents out into the world.