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Is Broadcasting Your Resume Via E-mail Effective? Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit

Mark Swartz
Monday, October 02, 2006

Dear Mark: I know that you suggest we target specific employers we'd like to work for, rather than bombarding every company within 20 square miles of where we live with unsolicited résumés. But I'm frustrated and wondering if maybe I should start sending out my resume by e-mail as broadly as possible. Should I bother?

-- Hanley D., Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dear Hanley,

Just the other day I opened up my e-mail and, among the other junk that often appears in my inbox (like the 'investment advice' that guarantees I'll make a fortune overnight, if I'd only pony up a couple hundred dollars for their 'special report'), there was a résumé from someone looking for a job. Did I bother to open it? Nope. Neither would many employers, who may also be too busy with other matters.

So why do some job seekers continue to send out their résumés en masse? Because, quite frankly, it's easy to do. And it can make you believe that you are actively looking for work. But the truth is that this is a passive approach: You might as well stand at the corner of the busiest intersection in your town, wearing a sandwich board with your resume on it. Maybe someone will be interested in chatting with you...eventually. Better to take a much more focused approach.

So much for blanketing employers with your unsolicited résumé. Yet there are also services that will e-mail your résumé to recruiters and headhunters all across Canada. Is this something worth considering?

This form of résumé blasting is also known as Automated Resume Distribution (ARB). Basically you pay a service like or to send out your résumé via e-mail to the recruiters that they list in their respective databases. The premise seems simple: By putting your résumé in the hands of many recruiters at once you multiply your chances of success.

At first blush this may make mathematical sense. Unfortunately it's not that straightforward. For instance, what about keeping control of who sees your résumé? Say that several competing recruiters in your locality are on the roll. And a few of them happen to like that résumé of yours they've all received. So they each send a copy of it to the same employer, for the same job opportunity, on the same day, without informing you. Know what? It's nearly certain that you, the applicant, will get rejected - even if you're a perfect fit. That's because employers risk getting sued if they choose one of these agencies over the other.

Then there's the matter of who your résumé is sent to within these recruiting firms themselves. Ideally you'd e-mail your applications one at a time, customized in response to a specific job posting. Then you'd find out who at the agency is looking after that particular order. This way you can e-mail it to that person directly, and follow up with a phone call several days later. But with ARB, your résumé may be as welcome as spam. One exception to this rule might be They claim to be the only Canadian ARB whose database consists solely of recruiters who have asked to be sent résumés directly, according to your industry type and location.

Lastly, be careful about scams. You should probably avoid any service where you can't reach a live person by phone to validate how you'll know if your e-mailed résumés are ever actually sent out. Pricing-wise, you can expect to pay up to $100 to reach over 3,000 recruiters across Canada. There are cheaper packages too. However my advice is to be more targeted in selecting who you apply to.

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