What is the best way to submit your resume for a new job?

Q&A with EK Careers: What's the best way to apply for a job?

This week I had a client contact me this week with a question I get asked often. I decided it was prime-time to share the question and answer with all my readers. Chances are you've wondered about this yourself.
Hi Erica,
I wanted to ask you about your experience with candidates. What is the best way of applying for a position? Using the career website or sending in mails to recruiters?
I am interested in several roles at Dell, but I am not sure which one is the best fit for me. I would love to talk to a recruiter first, but I am not sure if sending too many applications may hurt my chances.
Thanks, Daniela
You might be thinking the same thing while submitting your resume online. How should I apply for a job? What's the best/most efficient way to ensure my resume gets seen? Should I contact the recruiter? How do I contact a recruiter? Where do I start?

Always start with your network

First check your LinkedIn to see if you have any contacts at the company (especially people you worked with in the past). If you do, send them a message and ask if you they get a referral bonus and if so can they submit your resume for consideration. Check out my guide on LinkedIn Networking for detailed steps and message templates you can use.
Need more details? Click here for Networking & LinkedIn advice.

How should I contact recruiters?

Contacting recruiters is a hit or miss because sometimes they only work for a specific team or department and won't have knowledge of other roles. You can try to connect with one. Then if they accept your invite, check their profile on the right side for their contact info and send them a direct email (versus LinkedIn message which can get buried).
Let them know that you are interested in the company and saw several roles that you liked but wasn't sure which one is the best fit. Include your resume and links to the job descriptions and ask if they would be open to a 10 minute call to discuss. Most recruiters will probably just tell you to apply online via the website (especially at bigger companies), but it doesn't hurt to ask and try to establish a relationship. A really, really great recruiter will look at your resume and give you suggestions or schedule a call.
Recruiters get a ton of LI messages and emails, so don't be discouraged if they don't respond. It's just a sad fact of the industry and how it works. 95% of the time you will get radio silence or "apply online." To decrease the chance of this, you must address them personally (no to whom it may concern here) and be specific in your request (what positions). Lastly, include an action item (next steps: quick call to discuss).

Should I limit the number of applications per company?

For big companies, like Dell, Amazon, Google, etc, try to limit your applications to jobs of the same type/area/field with a max of 4-5. For medium sized companies (250-1000 employees), up to 3 applications for different roles is a good number. For small companies, just pick one position. If the recruiter is good, they usually will consider you for other roles anyway.
The worst thing a recruiter can see is 10 applications in the system for several different roles that are completely unrelated (IE: customer service supervisor, project manager, and sales engineer). It makes it looked like you just clicked everything and didn't take time to read the descriptions and you will probably get automatically rejected even if you were qualified for one of the roles. Overall, this doesn't really become an issue unless you are applying for 10 or more roles, but it is something you want to keep in mind when submitting your applications so you don't over do it.

Quick Recap for the Skimmers

  1. Always use your network to submit your resume  for you. They often get referral bonuses and are happy to do so.
  2. Be specific and actionable when you reach out to recruiters. Don't be surprised if you don't get a response, but it's worth a try.
  3. Limit your applications to 1-5 per company depending on size. Never submit 10+ applications for completely different roles. It makes you look desperate and unqualified.
Happy Hunting,
Erica @ EK Careers
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