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Sending a Resume by Postal Mail

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

Several people have asked me recently about whether there’s any advantage to sending your resume — or later follow-up — by postal mail.

I’m sure there are still some hiring managers out there who would disagree, but I hate postal mail in the hiring process for the following reasons:

1. It takes extra time. I keep everything electronically, so getting something by postal mail (or fax, for that matter) requires extra effort to integrate it with the rest of my files.

2. I can’t forward it electronically. I like being able to forward a resume to others to get input, or even to say “hey, this guy applied for position X, but you might like him for position Y that you’re hiring for.”

3. To me, it feels a little old-school, even almost oddly naive. Like you might have read a job-hunting guide from 1987.

If you’re using postal mail to try to stand out, consider that that might not be the way to achieve it.

In fact, if you ever find yourself thinking “I’m going to do ___ to stand out from all the other candidates,” you better be referring to (a) being an incredibly qualified candidate, (b) writing a great cover letter, and/or © being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and enthusiastic. If you’re filling in the blank in that sentence with anything not related to the actual quality of your candidacy, you’re probably getting too gimmicky and losing focus on what really does stand out.