“Great to meet you. I’m attaching my professional resume in case you
hear of anything that would suit my background. I appreciate you
forwarding my information on.”
What am I supposed to do with that?
As a job seeker, your goal is to secure meaningful employment, and I understand that every new contact is a possible key to unlocking the perfect opportunity. Sending an unsolicited resume to new contacts is pointless if not intrusive and presumptuous. Sure, I can review your background, credentials, certifications, and accomplishments. I can admire your formatting, fonts, and bullet lists. But unless I just heard of a great job opening or I can think of an ideal introduction for you in that moment, likely I will file your information away.
Please understand that I believe people in your network want to help you! We want to be the hero that introduces you to a great contact who pivots your career into a trajectory of success! But when you simply forward your resume without context, framing, and research, it feels like you just tossed over the hot potato that I’m supposed to do something important with.
Please don’t send me your resume unsolicited. Instead, here is a better approach:
- Understand that finding a job is not a numbers game. Mass distributing resumes without focus and strategy is less efficient than targeting and using “warm” contacts to pursue specific opportunities. Ask the people you know who are gainfully employed how they got their jobs – did they spam resumes or use networking strategically?
- Do your homework. Look through the LinkedIn profile and connections of the person you want to approach. What is important to them? What are they looking for? How can you connect the dots between what they have and know and what you want? And, how can you provide them value?
- Tell the “why.” Instead of focusing on the “what” – I need an introduction to the recruiter at XYZ company for a position they have advertised – make it easy for your contact to see why you are a great fit: My background in aviation logistics and technology, combined with my passion for serving, makes me a great fit for XYZ company who cares about their customers, the industry, and their market communities. Personal branding is key! Highlight your values, experience, and vision in reaching out to contacts you need help from.
- Show me why I should put my reputation on the line for you. Don’t just tell me I should vouch for you, show me. Point to examples of times where you’ve acted in ways consistent with your values. Show me how we are connected in our values and our goals. Offer to meet me in person so I can get comfortable making an introduction for you.
Consider this real example: I met Michael a few years ago when I spoke at a corporate event. We stayed in touch on LinkedIn, casually. Then, recently I posted that I’d spoken at ABC Company (where he was targeting for a job!), and he reached out to me. He reminded me where we’d met, updated me on his career path, and pointed to a job opening at ABC Company which he felt he was well suited for. He saw online that I was connected to someone in hiring at ABC and asked if I would make the introduction. He offered to send me key points in his background that were particularly relevant to what ABC Company was seeking. And, if I needed to meet in person to get comfortable making the connection, he suggested dates and times to meet. He could not have made it easier for me to want to help him!
So, next time we meet through friends, or you find me online, please don’t just send me your resume. Frame it up and make me want to help you succeed! Trust me, I’ll go to bat for you, but please tell me why and show me how I can help you.