1) Sending 100 resumes responding to many jobs in the hope that a couple might be interested in you
2) Sending a few resumes to a few jobs where you are a perfect fit and a superior candidate?
Most candidates still send too many resumes today, and many still use method #1 above … but it doesn't work well today, leaving candidates frustrated and job search even more difficult.
While this strategy is counter-intuitive, sending fewer resumes is a much more effective method. It’s more effective and gets most candidates more interviews than the "spray and pray" method.
Why? Because candidates can’t target 100 resumes per day – not even close.
Sending many resumes per day is random. Candidates who use this method randomly apply for jobs, using the same resume. The strategy here is to hope that the words on their form letter resume magically match the 7 -10 keywords an HR rep, recruiter, employer, or admin (at a small company) is searching for.
The odds are awful, which is a big reason I see candidates with an average 1.5% resume response rate (see ''2 Ways To Determine Your Resume Response Rate" at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2011/03/02/career-advice-2-ways-to-determine-your-resume-response-rate/).
You can target one or two resumes reasonably well per day, maximum. Sending fewer resumes allows the candidate to research the company and customize each resume to specifically meet that employer's unique needs.
An effective and customized resume can get a 15-25% resume response rate (face to face interviews with hiring managers divided by total resumes sent) using a "send fewer" strategy.
Notice this ratio doesn't include recruiters (nor informational interviews) – while both are nice, they aren't job interviews…they may be a preliminary step to an interview, or they may not be.
Why does this work?
When you send fewer resumes, you spend more time customizing and targeting each position. Candidates tend to do more research (See "4 Killer Ways To Use Research In Job Search: Best of reCareered" at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/07/16/4-killer-ways-to-use-research-in-job-search-best-of-recareered/) when they send fewer resumes.
Candidates tend to select jobs they are "perfect for" if they send fewer.
I advise my clients, even unemployed clients, to send no more than five resumes per day. That's only if there are five perfect fit jobs, otherwise sending fewer than five works more effectively.
When you send fewer resumes … you focus.
When you send fewer resumes you also take more care on each, and really spend time on wording, bullet locations, look of the resume, reformatting.
So try sending fewer resumes and let me know – how did it work for you?
Please include your experiences in the comments below.
Phil Rosenberg is President of reCareered, the web’s central hub for job search advice. An active blogger about social media and career change, Phil’s articles have been republished by several of the leading job, career and recruiting sites. Connect with Phil on Twitter @philreCareered.