These days, we mostly submit resumes online as PDFs, but if you’re asked to mail a resume old-school style, there are a few things you should do. If you look at your resume and can’t help but feel that it looks like every other resume, you are not alone—and employers notice!
Make Sure to Use the Right Buzzwords
Dropping the right buzzwords into your resume can be tricky, but if you’re mailing your resume, you have to be especially careful. The wrong word sticks out like a sore thumb on paper. Make a good list of industry-specific keywords, and try to weave them into your resume naturally, in your professional profile or summary, and in your previous job descriptions.
To know if you’re using the right words, look at resumes for successful people in your industry on LinkedIN. Pay attention to the words used in their profiles. Also take a good look at job advertisements in your industry and in your location. Many industries have local buzzwords, too. Job advertisements are a good place to see local inflection.
Tailor your Resume to the Job Advertisement
You should always rework your resume for the job advertisement you’re answering. This is a huge, important step because application software look for keywords in your application materials. Having trouble guessing the keywords? Here’s the secret: 90% are in the ad!
If the advertisement says 2-5 years of experience managing high-volume call centers, then you need to specifically use that language in your resume. “2 years of experience overseeing call center operations” will not trigger the keyword search. Specifically echo the language in the advertisement: “2 years of experience managing high-volume call centers.”
Check for Errors
If your resume is riddled with misspellings and typos, they will be more glaring on paper than if they were online. Print out your resume and read it one line at a time to find errors. If you have a friend who majored in English, send it to her/him to read it for you. Run it through Grammerly. Make it shine.
Format Your Resume for Printing
When formatting your resume for mailing, use a 12 or 14 pt. font and 1-inch margins. Stick to easy-to-read fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, Garamond, Bookman Oldstyle and the like. Now is not the time to show your favorite Star Wars font.
Remember that white space is your friend. If all of your text is cluttered together, it becomes hard to read.
Choose Decent Paper for Your Resume
When choosing a paper for printing your resume, don’t take shortcuts. Cheap copy paper can make colors and text look dull. I use Xerox’s high-gloss paper for my resume, but mine is very colorful, with golds and blues. If your resume is plain black and white, opt for a nice, textured paper, like Southworth’s cotton linen resume paper.
Presentation plays a big part in whether or not your resume is seen by the right person, so consider sending your resume in a nice, business folder. You can put your cover letter in the left pocket and your resume on the right, or you can include samples of your work in one of the pockets. If you have business cards, folders often have a spot to include them, which makes for a clean, lovely presentation.
Mail Your Resume
Even if you don’t use a nice folder to hold your resume and keep it nice while in transit, you should at least use a big envelope to mail your resume so it doesn’t arrive crinkled and folded. Even the Dollar Tree has packs of paper-sized envelopes, so no excuses!
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Double-check the address before you mail your resume, and take the time to hand it to your mail carrier or nice postal worker instead of bending it and stashing it in your mailbox for pick up. Make the extra effort to ensure it arrives fresh and crisp because if you don’t care enough to make sure your resume arrives looking nice, you probably don’t care enough to do the job for which you’re applying, and employers will know it.