Got a Great Resume? What Distribution Channels Are You Using?

New resume but old approach to getting it seen?

Posted Nov 25, 2011

Is this familiar?

"I saw a notice about a job that is a PERFECT fit for me. I responded quickly and expected to hear from the recruiter in a timely fashion."

"I never heard from the recruiter! How rude!"

"I assume that the reason I never got the courtesy of a response was pick one) (1) age discrimination (2) overqualified (3) I didn't go to the right school."

One Recruiter's Perspective

My company does retained search. We had an assignment to find a CEO for a private equity portfolio company. Because the current CEO is still in place we wanted to proceed with discretion. In writing a description about the opportunity, we disguised the location, the industry, and the sales volume.

The search strategy was not to go public with this opportunity but to network with partners in private equity companies around the country. We would ask for the names of the best CEOs they had ever worked with—whether or not the person was looking for a job. We wanted to only present CEO candidates with demonstrated respect within the private equity world.

We also wrote the following statement in the written opportunity:

"We will only present candidates who have:

Demonstrated track record in manufacturing.

At least two private equity partners who will provide excellent verbal references.

Demonstrated track record of successful acquisition due diligence and deal making."

200 Resumes

One of the people we interviewed placed our written opportunity description on a job search site frequently scanned by CEOs in between jobs. The result was that we received 180 emails within 24 hours. A day later we received an additional twenty. We continued to receive dribbles for the next five days.

From the perspective of a job seeker looking at opportunities on the Internet, this job appeared to be "fresh."

The reality is that we had already been on the hunt for eight weeks. The client had selected the next CEO. The search was, in fact, over.

Why not give the candidates the courtesy of a reply?

In fact, we did respond to each candidate. But we did this out of a sense that it was the "right" thing to do.

We got angry reading those 200 resumes.

The first 180 resumes were mostly automatic forwarding of resumes in response to us having put in the key word "CEO." There are people who register their resumes and put in keywords. Every time a key word comes up, their resumes automatically are forward to the company that submitted the job opportunity.

Of the 200 resumes we got only two that had the three "must haves" required by our client. The rest of the resumes were a waste of our time.

The Five Channels to Distribute Your Resume

A distribution channel is the tactical route you take to get your resume in the hands of a decision maker capable of authorizing your employment.

Once upon a time, there were two primary distribution channels: networking and responding to classified ads.

But times have changed.

We are dealing in a job market where the supply of qualified candidates exceeds the supply of good jobs. We are also dealing with a job market where the job opportunities are more likely to come from smaller, less sophisticated companies. These smaller companies do not have established human resource functions or frequently use the accepted resources of recruiters and mailings.

You have five ways to distribute your resume to potential employers:

1. Personally hand the resume to someone you are networking with.

2. Email the resume to a recruiter or to a company that has posted a job opportunity on a Job Board or newspaper classified advertisement.

3. Snail mail the resume through a direct mailing campaign.

4. Drive or walk the resume by delivering it to the receptionist of a company that might be a potential hire.

5. Call in your resume through a telemarketing campaign.

Of the five distribution channels for your resume, try to focus on at least three and perhaps four.

The weighting of how much time you spend on each distribution channel should be customized to your objectives, comfort, and competence.

Most of your competitors are focusing on one or two channels. You have an advantage over them if you use four distribution channels.

Larry Stybel is President of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire, an Arbora Global Company. Founded in 1979, its mission is to help companies manage "smooth leadership change:" recruitment, leadership development, and outplacement. He also is Executive in Residence at the Sawyer School of Business at Suffolk University in Boston and a member of the Board of Governors of the Institute for Career Certification International.